How to Build a Million-Dollar Social Media Agency
Here are a few tips to help you start and scale a social media agency.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Every time I speak to entrepreneurs and brands, they always seem to complain about a lack of reliable and skilled social media managers. A quick glance at your social media feed will show you how even 8- and 9-figure companies are lost when it comes to posting online.
This is why, if you have a Wi-Fi connection, a phone, and you know how to write and schedule a few Instagram posts, you could easily replace your current 9-5 job with something that allows you to work from anywhere, whenever you want.
But where should you start?
The first thing you should do is create a portfolio that shows potential clients your skills when it comes to managing social media accounts.
If you don't have any experience yet, you could reach out to friends or family members who have a social media account and ask them if you can manage it for them for free. You only need to do this for three months to have a substantial portfolio that will put you ahead of anyone who has a degree in communication, social media management or marketing but no practical experience.
Another way to build a portfolio is to apply for beginner paid gigs. The best platforms to do this are Upwork or Fiverr. Sure, the pay might not be the best in terms of compensation, but you'd be building a portfolio in no time and get testimonials that you can use once you start approaching bigger clients.
Once you have gained some experience managing social media accounts, it's time to attract clients that can pay you $500-2000 a month to manage their accounts.
Here, most aspiring social media managers will usually resort to cold emailing or cold calling to find potential prospects and initiate a conversation. And while this approach might work for some, it puts you in a weaker position and makes negotiating a higher rate more difficult.
That's because, when it comes to negotiating, you always want to come from a place of authority. Contacting a client that has never heard of you can work if you're already an established figure. But if you're just a beginner, it will just show that you're desperate to work.
So, what's a better approach to finding those clients that pay you premium fees?
How to attract high-paying clients
One way is to keep using platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. If you started there, it'll be easier to keep searching for clients there, as you'd have collected good reviews and will have built a reputation as a trustworthy professional.
But a better way is to post on social media platforms to build your authority. This has two advantages. First, it will show potential clients that you aren't just claiming you can manage a social media account. You are practicing it, which is the strongest form of social proof you can have. Second, it will help you attract potential clients that will see you as an expert in your field and will happily pay you your fee without any hassle.
Once you have attracted four to five clients this way, it's time to turn them into repeat customers. The simplest way to do it is to overdeliver so much that they'd be crazy to not continue working with you. If you do so, you simply need to create an offer to manage their social media accounts that can last between three to nine months that gives you some predictable revenue.
The goal when working with a client on a retainer basis is to keep communications tight and constantly remind them of the wins you are providing them (like increasing their followers or monetizing their platforms). Doing so will also help you routinely raise your rates without losing too many clients and can even make those clients refer you for more work.
On top of maintaining good relationships with your existing clients, you should still actively search for new clients by posting on your pages (or using other lead-generation methods). This will put you in a stronger position when it comes to raising your rates or negotiating different packages.
Still, there is always a cap on how much money you can make working 1-1 with a client. This is why every smart social media agency will eventually package the solutions, frameworks, templates and any other assets they use with their clients in a format that can be sold to many people at the same time.
If your clients all share the same struggles, and you have a solution for it, you can easily turn that into an ebook, a video course or anything else that can be sold digitally. This will allow you to break through the freelance income barrier and scale to a million dollars a year.
It might take some time to get there, but these are the steps that 99% of successful social media agencies have followed. The earlier you begin building your social media agency, the sooner you will reap the benefits.