Are you a total social media junkie? Do you dream of starting your own social media marketing company one day? If so, then you will want to pay attention because this article will teach you how to start a social media marketing company.
It’s probably easier than you might think, though not without devotion, hard work, and effort.
You’ve got to have the right tools and resources in your arsenal before even getting started. Having the knowledge and background to run social media accounts in your back pocket is just one of the pieces to this puzzle.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about starting your own business in social media marketing (SMM), including:
- Exactly what a social media marketing company does
- The skills you need to run a social media marketing company
- Requirements for starting your business
- 5 steps to creating a business blueprint
- How to use Fiverr to find clients
Let’s dive in!
How to start a social media marketing company
What is a social media marketing company?
Before explaining how to start working in this field, let’s first make sure you fully understand what this job entails. A social media marketing company is a business that helps other companies market themselves on social media.
Companies need a social media presence these days, meaning they need professionals to help them create the right image on social platforms, speak to and engage with their fans, grow their fanbase, manage their advertising campaigns on social media, and more.
Social media managers will know how to do these things on one or all of the major platforms, think Facebook and Instagram specifically. But it will only help you if you can also manage accounts on Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, etc.
Most SMMs work across multiple platforms — this is better for clients because they’ll have a cohesive strategy — but some social media managers niche down and work on one platform primarily.
Here are some of the tasks you handle across platforms as a social media marketing company:
- Create social media accounts
- Post pictures, links, status updates, etc.
- Create a social media calendar
- Manage inboxes
- Respond to questions and inquiries
- Represent the company on social media
- Join Facebook groups, developing relationships with customers and other stakeholders
- Stay abreast of algorithm changes and developing trends, and be able to make changes to your strategy
- Create and run social media ads (this is a highly valued skill!)
- Report progress back to the company
Unless you’re doing social media management at a large company, this work can be done fully online, meaning it’s a good work-from-home job. There’s flexibility baked into it — work anywhere, choose your own hours, etc.
Learning social media management skills
Now you have an idea of what you’ll be doing, so the next step is learning the necessary skills. You might have many of them already, like if you:
- Run your own social media profiles — setting up your profiles, posting images, writing a bio, linking websites, understanding how the activity works on the platform
- Are a whiz at growing your own social media accounts — using hashtags, being consistent with your brand/image, taking advantage of viral moments, following and engaging with influencers, paying attention to what works for them and implementing those things on your own profiles
- Know how to connect and engage with your followers/fans — responding to comments and DMS, interacting in groups, sharing and liking their content
You’ll need more than just those skills to run a social media management company — those are just the basics. And if you’re missing some of those skills and want to learn what else you need to know, so here are 3 things you can do to learn social media management skills.
1. Enroll in a social media marketing course
One of the most sought after and valuable skills you can learn is how to run paid ads on social media. Facebook is the most popular platform for this skill because there are around 2.5 billion users, and there are advanced targeting options that can put ads directly in front of the kind of people who already want that kind of content.
The Facebook Side Hustle Course teaches you a step-by-step plan for running Facebook ads for clients. You can even use the skills you learn in the course to start a Facebook ad agency (what many students in this course do).
The Pinterest VA course is another great, niche-specific course. This one covers how to optimize images, pinpointing keywords and categories, how to strategically Pin, and more. Read our full review of the course to learn more: Pinterest Virtual Assistant Course Review | How to Start a Pinterest Management Side Hustle.
Because there is so much overlap between social media managers and virtual assistants, another course suggestion is 30-Days or less to VA Success. You will get a full overview of social media management, plus learn skills for bookkeeping, project management, content production, and email management.
2. Offer free or discounted services for your first client or two and build your portfolio
One of the best ways to attract clients for your business is from your reputation — you’re establishing social proof and showing that you know what you’re doing. And this is a trick that a lot of service professionals do when they are starting their own business.
See, if you’ve ever pitched a client before, you know that they commonly ask questions about your history, former projects, and success rates.
And if you’re brand new to social media marketing as a business, this can be tough to come up with. That’s why creating that reputation and history by providing free or discounted rates, is the quickest way to build up your portfolio.
Here are a few ways to find these first clients:
- Join a Facebook group where your target customers hang out and make a post that explains how you’re trying to start a social media marketing company and want to gain experience (make sure you’re following the group’s rules about self-promotion)
- Make an announcement on LinkedIn
- Share with your Twitter followers or post on Instagram
- Cold pitch to prospective clients and offer to work at a discount or for free
The idea is that they are paying you with a testimonial and recommendation, but make sure this is clear when you start talking with potential clients. Ideally, you gain your next client from a referral.
One word of caution here: don’t do free or cheap for too long. Your knowledge and skills are valuable, and you deserve to be compensated for them.
3. Continue practicing on your own social media accounts
Your social media profiles are going to be a good place to show potential clients what you’re capable of, so make sure you’re applying the new skills you’re learning to your accounts. Your end up being a good place to practice new skills and experiment with strategies. And if these things work, you can use that as social proof.
Even if you have no portfolio to show potential clients, you will always have your own social media accounts.
What are the requirements to start a social media marketing company?
Now, it’s feeling like you’re ready to kick things off. But, how do you start? What are the requirements for starting your own SMM company?
You obviously need the skills we’ve talked about, but there are a few more traits or characteristics you need to start your business. These are true for most online entrepreneurs, but they are especially valuable as a social media manager.
You need to be driven
Did you know that 20% of businesses fail in their first year and that another 30% fail by year two? This proves that starting a successful business is hard work, and you’re going to need to stay motivated even when things are tough.
Think about why you’re learning how to start a social media marketing company… Are you excited about the flexible lifestyle? Do you want to start a side hustle to pay off your debt or to save more money?
Really think hard on that reason because that’s what will drive you to keep pushing. Being a social media manager isn’t just retweeting posts or sharing links on Facebook. You are responsible for helping your clients grow their business.
Be a strong communicator
This goes without saying, but we’re saying it anyway. In a job where your chief duty will be to talk with fans on social media, having strong communication skills is super important.
As you create new client relationships, onboard new companies, and continue working with social media, your skills will continue to develop and improve.
You must be adaptable
Social media evolves quickly, like really quickly. Most casual users won’t feel the effects, but social media platforms regularly make changes to their policies and algorithms that will affect your ability to manage your clients’ accounts.
For example, did you know that:
- Facebook, in 2018, made broad changes to the way posts were prioritized in the News Feed.
- In 2019, Twitter finally gave users the ability to retweet and post GIFs.
- Instagram began the process of shadowbanning spammy or inauthentic accounts in 2017.
These are the kinds of things social media managers need to be aware of. You can start following Social Media Today to stay up-to-date on these kinds of changes. It will also help you stay current on trends.
How to start a social media marketing company — creating your business blueprint
Now let’s talk about creating your business plan. It’s an important planning step for any business because it’s how you identify your goals, figure out what you need to get started, determine how you’ll measure progress and success, and more.
We’re going to walk through 5 steps to create your social media marketing business plan:
Step 1: Acquire the necessary skills and knowledge
Are you prepared to run social media campaigns for others? It’s ok if you don’t consider yourself an expert.
Make a list of the skills you have, what you need to learn, and how you’ll acquire that knowledge. You don’t need to be an expert on everything from the beginning — your clients ultimately need someone who knows more than them, and you can develop your knowledge and skills over time through experience.
Start with at least one social network you’re good at working with, master it, and then move on to the next platform.
Step 2: Consider what resources and tools are available to you
Social media management is primarily an online business, so what will you need to run your online business? It might be obvious, but let’s go over the essentials:
- Computer (laptop or desktop will work)
- A solid internet connection
- Website — starting a blog is actually a really good option because they’re easy and inexpensive to start, and it gives your clients a convenient place to learn more about you and get in touch
- Information for making it legal — this article from the Small Business Association explains the basics, and you can listen to this episode of the Laptop Empires podcast to learn how to handle your taxes
Make a list of what you have and what you need. Then, start working toward filling that “need” list.
Step 3: Find the kind of clients you want to work with
Think about what kinds of clients you want to work with. This can be a personal interest, like wellness or finance, or an industry you already specialize in. Start following businesses and clients in those niches and think about how you can help them.
Because they are more visible, some of these ideal clients will be bigger businesses and influencers with a massive online presence. These people probably have someone handling their social media management, so start looking at the smaller bloggers, entrepreneurs, and influencers who follow those big guys. These are more likely to be the clients you’ll start working with.
Step 4: Find the gaps
Look at the skills you already have and make a list of all the things you can do. Next, think about whether or not you have any weakness with these skills. For example, if you run Facebook ads but your graphics game could use some work. Consider getting to know a platform like Canva (it’s easy-to-use graphic design software for beginners).
Eventually, you can start outsourcing things you don’t love or aren’t that good at, like you could hire a graphic designer. This can save you time, and time = money.
Step 5: Determine your pricing and packages
Most social media managers offer their clients’ tiered packages, each with a set of clearly outlined responsibilities and expectations. You can offer packages for:
- Content only: Only creating content (set number of posts per day/week/month) on a specific social media platform(s).
- Content and interaction: This adds interaction between you and users — liking, commenting, retweeting, etc. Again, you do this a set number of times per day/week/month.
- Outreach: This is helping your client grow their online presence by finding partners, affiliates, and new followers. This might involve keyword research, SEO strategies, email marketing, etc.
- Strategy: The most comprehensive package that includes analytical research, running reports for your clients, and making adjustments as needed.
You can also offer a la carte type services for an additional charge, like taking product photos, writing blog posts, or running Facebook ads.
How to use Fiverr to start a social media marketing company
Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelance services, and it’s a good place for new freelancers to find their first paying customers. Here’s how it works: business owners go to Fiverr, search for the service they need, and find freelancers who are offering those services.
There are all kinds of services listed on Fiverr, including graphic design, copywriting, voiceover services, illustration, social media marketing (why we’re telling you about it!), etc.
To start finding clients, you will need to create a seller profile, which tells clients a little about who you are and the services you offer. It should include:
- The services you offer
- Related skills
- Your education
- Certifications, awards, honors, etc.
- Link to your website and social media handles (important for SMMs!)
Then you’ll create gigs (these are service packages) that have a clear scope and pricing. That means you’ll want all of the details worked out.
Social media managers who use Fiverr will get paid once they’ve completed their job, and Fiverr keeps 20% of the pay for each job.
Really focus on making a professional-looking profile, you know… a nice picture of you, correct grammar and spelling, and clearly listed skills and qualifications. You can get a little personal in your profile to help potential clients build a relationship with you.
The final word on how to start a social media marketing company
There is a lot of space in the online world for new companies to get started — this is one of the reasons we love it so much. But don’t forget that this job, like any of them, takes hustle. You’ve got to put in the time and work to build and grow your business.