One of the biggest struggles for new and smaller social media management agencies starts with finding business prospects to pitch your services.
But where do you start? Where do you look in tracking down businesses that might be a fit for your agency?
Consider starting your search for business prospects using the following methods and platforms.
Find Social Media Prospects on Social Media
Statistics show that 82% of buyers will take meetings with sales reps who reach out to them. But in terms of what makes a prospect willing to connect with you, 75% report that the biggest factor lies in a need for your product or service.
This makes sense, right? Unlike the world of B2C where impulse buys can rack up $1.2 trillion worth of purchases made in the U.S. alone, B2B sales operate alongside different motivators.
When selling to another business as a social media marketing agency, you should make it clear from the get-go that there’s a need for the services you’re selling.
So, why not turn to the channels you know best for finding prospects?
If you have a roster of companies you’re eager to work with, start by surveying their current presence on social media.
- What are they doing well?
- What needs improvement?
- Where do you fit into the mix?
In your research, you might even come across other relevant businesses to contact based on their activity (or lack thereof).
With some customizations to match your agency and style, use this cold pitch message to email or send to business prospects using a DM on social:
Hi there, [Prospect Name],
I’m a big fan of your [industry] business — love your [X, Y, Z products and/or services].
As someone who’s been following your social journey for a while now, I love the way your team does [insert mention of something they do well on social media].
However, I think it’d be great to see you expand your efforts by trying [insert mention of something they don’t do well on social media]. I even have a specific campaign idea involving [insert basic campaign details] that I think would take your engagement to the next level.
I’d love to share more of my ideas with you. When might you be available for a phone call?
Looking forward to talking more soon!
The idea is to establish a connection. You want your business prospect to feel as though you’ve zeroed in on them — and them alone. With this in mind, ideally, you’ll add some personalized messaging in addition to filling in the blanks on this template.
And certainly, don’t come in swinging with an endless laundry list of changes you think they should make. There’s time to dig into that after you’ve built a relationship.
Instead, show some appreciation for their efforts so far, letting it flow into how they could improve with help from your agency’s skillset.
Find Social Media Prospects in Your Community
It’s easy to think your potential for social media prospects starts and ends with your computer screen. But there’s something to be said for hitting the pavement.
Depending on the types of businesses you’re targeting, you might find social media prospects by perusing community boards at a local coffee shop.
Or in selling door-to-door.
Stop by a local business, ask to speak to the manager or owner, and make your pitch. The worst that can happen is they say, “we’re not interested”. And that’s ok!
Some other resources for researching businesses that may be a good fit for your services:
- Your local chamber of commerce
- Yelp or related industry review websites
- ReferenceUSA: a database of business registrations with useful filters (free with most library cards)
- Local newspaper announcements for new open businesses
- Next Door
Alternatively, lay the groundwork for meeting potential future prospects by attending business-focused networking events. Research professional organizations to get involved with or join a co-working space or startup incubator.
These types of groups often organize community events to get involved with. Make connections with the organizers and you might find an opportunity to teach a social media-centric seminar to help bring in more visibility (and clients) to your agency.
A few resources for finding local networking events that may be relevant:
- Professional organizations: I’ve gotten a lot of business in Colorado by being an active member of The Marketing Alliance).
- Freelancer associations: not necessarily to find clients but definitely to find collaborators who may be able to refer you to clients.
- Local coworking spaces
- Calendars for parks and venues that host events
Find Social Media Prospects by Referral
Referrals are a great way to find social media prospects. Why?
Because they tap into one of the most effective marketing strategies: word of mouth.
When someone you know says, “Hey, you should check this business out,” it’s a lot easier to listen. You cut out the need for endless hours of research because someone you trust has already done the leg work for you with results to show for it.
Head to LinkedIn and take stock of past employers and co-workers. Post a status that announces your social media marketing agency’s launch. It could read something like:
I’m excited to announce the launch of my social media management agency, [name of business]. It’s been a long road to get to this point but I’m excited about what the future holds. If you know anyone looking for help in [X, Y, Z services], don’t hesitate to send them my way — or to my shiny new website: [link to website]
I appreciate your support!
Additionally, once you have clients on board, make it a regular part of client communications to solicit feedback and reviews. These can be turned into testimonials for your website, pitch emails, and so on to help in further driving sales.
Find Social Media Prospects on Third-Party Marketplaces
When you’re just starting out, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a high number of inbound leads coming in from organized content marketing or advertising tactics. Although, building the foundation for these avenues early on will set you up for success in those areas down the road.
You’ve got to think about marketing in the short term and the long term.
There’s nothing wrong with exploring your options across freelance and remote working marketplaces. You need client experiences under your belt to help fuel future prospecting efforts (and to round out your portfolio).
Here are a handful of websites worth checking out for potential social media jobs:
Many freelance marketplaces take a cut of the sale but they can also help you cut down on business development time so that you can focus on doing the work. I wrote an in-depth guide to making Fiverr your side hustle, if that’s a road you’d like to explore.
Third-party platforms like Skillshare and YouTube can also serve as great starting points for proving the value of your services. Teach people what you know, develop a curriculum for sharing your tips in engaging ways, and use student feedback to help develop interest-peaking testimonials.
Contrary to popular opinion, sharing your secrets won’t cannibalize business prospects. Most people will be too overwhelmed by the details to do it themselves — but they’ll be interested in hiring you to take over, since you’ve clearly demonstrated that you know what you’re doing.
Final Thoughts: Where to Find Business Prospects for Your Social Media Agency
There are plenty of places to turn to for finding social media prospects. But it takes work.
Don’t let the number of avenues or to-dos in building awareness for your services deter you. You’re in this space for a reason. Get organized, break your goals down into subsets of to-dos, and put yourself out there.
Along the way, you’re bound to come across your fair share of rejection. Think of it as a small price to pay for all the times you’ll hear, “Where do I sign?”.
As you start your search for business prospects, make sure you have the right software at your fingertips to help in meeting their future needs. Learn more about the powerful features Social Report has to offer.
Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Strategist who works with clients like AAA, Automatic, Kinsta, and BigCommerce. Her background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website and read her latest articles on Twitter @MaddyOsman.