How to Start a Social Media Consulting Business in 6 Steps
The pressures of being in employment under someone or an organization has resulted in many people seeking out entrepreneurship opportunities and venturing out to start their own businesses.
They also want to create a lifestyle that allows them to travel more and enjoy their fun while getting payments.
The problem is that very few actually follow through with this commitment – though it is surprisingly easier than you think, especially when you want to create a social media agency.
This is particularly evident in the world of today – a digital one, where almost everyone is on social media in some way. Businesses are now adding social media to their list of requirements for success – engage with social media users, running campaigns on different sites, and attempt to drive and increase their sales from platforms.
That has led to the increase in the demand for social media agencies and influencers. In fact, CNN even ranked social media manager as one of the jobs that are projected to increase over the next ten years by 9 percent, making it one of the best jobs in America alone.
Because many companies are hiring more social media agencies, you might be thinking about starting your own business. Here are some steps you can start your own agency.
Make sure to get the relevant skill sets
Just like any business looking for employees, there is no one who will go out of their way to hire you if you lack the necessary requirements. Even though having an active footprint on social media platforms is nice, it does not really help you stand out.
You need to have some competencies when dealing with the tricky world of social media. One of them is understanding the target audience of your client and their business, and others include understanding the importance of branding and maintaining their unique voice, a fresh ability to drive sales and increase engagement, and the ability to run effective social media campaigns.
Others include operational understanding to make these posts effective on different platforms (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn), while also being able to check the progress of social media metrics and their respective tools.
If you are brand new to all of these, then it is important to invest in online courses that can boost your credentials and knowledge. Once you complete these courses, you can then use them to market yourself and gain clients.
Your first clients should be local businesses
It is good to shoot for the stars when getting clients – however, when you are starting out, you are likely still learning the ropes, so small businesses in your local can be more forgiving when you make mistakes. Find those that you have an interest in helping, and offer the service at a discount or even for free, as it will build your portfolio at this point.
For instance, if there is a local grocery store or bookstore that you think can use more traffic when you increase their foothold on social media, you can approach them and do it. It will even increase your awareness of other businesses that may need help on social media.
It is likely that small businesses have a limited budget, so the requirements will not be as sophisticated as bigger ones. For instance, they may only want you to increase their track engagement in their posts, create pages for them on social media, engage with the users that respond to them, and schedule days for posting.
Set your working rates and financial goals
Before you begin to expand the client list, it is good to set the payment schedule, rates as well as the mode of payment. Depending on the level of expertise you have, social media experts tend to charge $20 to $40 for each hour.
Freelancers also invoice their clients when they give services. In the course of this, you will notice that some clients pay their dues very late, and they end up becoming a disaster for your cash flows. In this case, you can offer early payment discounts and late fee fines, to encourage them to pay up early.
It is also a good idea to hire an accountant, or if it is not possible, you can set up software that takes care of your payroll, taxes and invoices. This will ensure your operations run smoothly after you start.
Choose the niche of operation after you start
There are various places to start from when you begin your job as a freelancer, such as UpWork, Craigslist and Freelancer. Once you begin working on these sites, you will start to notice that some of them are looking for specialized services regarding social media, since there are numerous niches within consultation.
They include data analysts, marketers, generalists (they have surface level knowledge on ad management, creating content and managing communities), and community managers (they increase brand wariness, drive and influence the turn of conversations, and engage with users).
Some social media managers will focus on one of these roles, while others will handle multiple ones. Once you start working, you will have a better idea on what to do, and then you can establish the types of businesses you want to serve – for instance, working with retailers, technology, or restaurants.
Consider hiring some assistants
As you get experience in social media, you will start to focus on the big picture such as reporting, getting new clients, and data analysis. You cannot handle all of these and still manage the minute details of your firm, so you may want to get some assistance.
Some of the roles you can assign include social media marketer specialists (they help you in the day-to-day activities of social media), web designers (they can help in creating your website), lead generators (they find companies that match your client profile), and content marketers (they create content to establish your online presence).
As you can see, establishing a social media consultancy is not the easiest task, but it is not impossible either, but the benefits it has can be rewarding, and it can give you the chance to work with bigger clients as your profile grows.