I started working for a social media management agency two and a half years ago. It was an intentional career change. After three years of working in the finance and audit industry, I realized I am not happy at all with my career choice.
At the time, I wasn’t aware of how my professional future would look like but somehow I ended up with social media marketing. I must say I do enjoy my work now because it gives me the freedom to express myself creatively and to grow as an individual. It’s not all peaches and creme, but that’s another story for another time.
The part I enjoy the most is the fact that I am working for a small social media management agency, that targets only SMEs. On paper, our target audience has always been Business Owners or CEO’s of SMEs, but in reality, we are dealing with small businesses most of the time.
I would say that 90% of our clients are small businesses. Working with people that have a limited budget to invest in paid social media activity is hard. The difficult part was to meet the unrealistic expectations of the small business owners. Why? Because they want leads with just organic social media share in three months period. Bear in mind that I was dealing with startups or companies that didn’t have a social media presence at all.
My job was even to create their social media accounts from scratch. Yes, I was dealing with people that don’t have a clue about how social media works. They were just jumping on the bandwagon or following trends.
This is why we had issues with growth and retention. It wasn’t the fact that we were doing a bad job, we did provide results but that wasn’t enough.
We weren’t meeting the needs of our clients or in most cases, or we set the performance bar high during the sales process. I believe that the sales team was over-promising with our prospects and weren’t educated enough about social media and that resulted in an unrealistic approach during their meetings.
I work as a Marketing Executive in the company and since we are startup I am involved in a lot of core activities, therefore, I have in-depth knowledge about the performance.
I always had some improvements in my mind that I believe would make a huge difference in the working of the company. I believe that these tips can be applied to any social media company that deals with small businesses on a daily basis.
So here are my tips about how to run a successful social media management company that serves SMEs.
- Create custom social media products for B2B and B2C industries
Each company is a special organism but in the social media world, there are rules that you might want to follow. For instance, there is a better chance if you are a B2B company to find leads on LinkedIn or if you are B2C to find leads on Facebook.
B2B and B2C companies have different needs for content, growth and social media paid Ads. In the beginning, we had one package to fit them all. It didn’t work well because the right services weren’t offered to the right clients. Separating our packages to B2B and B2C really helped our retention rate and ultimately the sales efforts.
When our sales team was on the filed they knew exactely what to offer on the table. When I client was onboarded we knew exactely how to create the strategy and offer a solution.
2. The first six months are about traffic and brand awareness
When you are dealing with small businesses and startups you can’t offer much in the beginning. In the first six months is all about traffic and brand awareness. Remember that!
Overpromising results such as huge traffic levels or leads is wrong. When onboarding new clients you need to define the goals in the 6 six months because they will always expect immediate results.
Most of the business owners will not understand this but if you have the right facts to support your claims then they will understand. The first six months is all about populating accounts with content, writing new blogs, growing the accounts with followers and occasionally activating paid ads for growth and brand awareness.
3. Paid social media activity is a must after the brand awareness period
After the initial six months, you will need paid ads to drive leads. You need to make this clear in the onboarding process with your clients. They must have a budget for paid ads if they want leads.
This also means that you will need a proper lead magnet for these activities. Fortunately, social media lead gen ads might cut down the costs for building a landing page, which is a great opportunity to invest even more in the paid ads.
Especially on Facebook, you can get cheap quality leads for a shorter period of time.
4. Don’t overpromise results
Never, never ever overpromise results! If you do this you will lose your clients. It’s better to be transparent at the beginning and explain what social media can truly do for their business then lie and promise fake numbers.
Take your least optimistic scenario and present it to your clients. After a certain period of time, you can only surpass these numbers and give them more.
Client satisfaction depends on many things but fulfilling promised results is one of the most important factors that will define wheater your clients will stay or leave after three months.
5. Treat clients as species, they all have different needs
Finally, as much as you want to classify data and create custom packages for industries, remember that each client has different needs on the market. Have a flexible mind as you can always offer and create a custom package for every unique client, besides the B2B and B2C categorization.
We used to have clients that only want brand awareness. Also, there were people that wanted leads immediately. You can always work your way around these goals and offer services that are unique and according to your client’s needs.
Having a plan and vision for your company is a must, but you need to stay flexible and remember to update your plan from time to time as the market is changing fast.
We changed our social media services maybe four times in the past three years. Of course, the core service stayed the same but the add ons were constantly different. You need to adjust to the market needs in order to be successful. Remember you are in the business to offer value to people, not the other way around.