Ten years ago, barely 7% of Americans used social networks. Fast forward to today, nearly three-fourths of the US population is on websites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Ten years is not really a long time. Yet, the social media landscape has evolved quite significantly through this period. While MySpace was still a popular service back in the day, it was overtaken by the likes of Twitter and Facebook, which are now being overshadowed by other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

A business owner with a company to run cannot really invest their time understanding this rapidly evolving marketing segment, and it is here that social media managers become a critical investment for both small and large businesses.

Social media management is not as easy as submitting new Facebook posts every few hours from the company’s page. It involves building a comprehensive strategy to grow your following on the various social networks, as well as building engagement and ultimately sales. In addition to this, a social media manager is also required to streamline their strategy so that it aligns with the overall marketing strategy for the business. Here are a few things you must look into while launching a social media agency.

Identify The Right Customer Acquisition Strategy

First-time entrepreneurs often spend a needless amount of time thinking about what to call their company, how to go about registering their business and so on. It would rather be prudent to spend that time on devising the right customer acquisition strategy. In the absence of an inbound stream of leads through a website or a social media page, alternate strategies like PPC advertising, cold calls and cold emails work really well. Spend time devising a short-term and a long-term strategy. While you could spend money on advertising or on cold calls in the short term, your long-term goal should be to build an automated funnel that will bring new leads to your business.

Build A Toolkit

A worker is only as good as his tools. With social media management, things can get messy quite easily because of the different platforms you need to handle for multiple clients. Find a social media management tool that can handle your volume. Some social networks like Instagram permit multiple account management internally, and if you specialize in platforms such as this, you may not need to invest in a third-party tool, at least until you grow your client-base.

Grow Your Portfolio

The first thing that prospective customers ask their agencies for is their portfolio. A portfolio is a document that contains information about your past projects along with other details like the objective of the campaign, your achievements and possibly testimonials from the client. As a startup business, you may not really have a portfolio to showcase. The best bet in this case is to work with NGOs and charity organizations to help them with their social media projects. You may also work on your own projects or offer your services as an intern to established social media agencies. This can be a lengthy process, and it is ideal to have at least 6-12 months of experience before you start your client outreach. Alternately, you could bid low in your initial projects and to create relationships with paying customers and gradually raise your prices for subsequent projects.

Any business will need to spend time on picking the right company name and registering their business. However, this does not have to be done on the first day and can wait. Once you are done defining a strategy and see your first clients, you could start formalizing your business with a name and government registration.

James Hawkins is a BusinessTown.com contributor