With a plethora of digital marketing channels, platforms, and strategies, social media has become a must for small businesses and large companies alike. And, if you don’t have a well-executed...
In an age where every business needs social media, it’s not hard to find clients. But finding good clients you actually want to work with?
That’s where things get tricky.
You might create inspired content and innovative social media campaigns.
But it’s all for nothing if you don’t have enough business to keep the lights on.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to find social media clients that are a good fit for your agency and achieve sustainable business growth.
💡Note: While we’re focusing on agencies in this guide, these tactics will work just as well for freelancers looking to get more social media marketing clients.
How do I get social media clients?
There are two different approaches you can use to find social media clients:
- Focus on building one channel and become a master at it.
- Diversify and leverage several channels to get new leads.
Working on one channel at the start tends to be the most pragmatic approach if you’re just starting out. It allows you to focus and sharpen your sales process. It’s also effective when you have limited resources.
Which channels you then choose will depend on your business and your strengths. For example, if you’re a great writer, or have someone on your team who is, you might want to focus on SEO content marketing. If you have a large network, you may spend most of your time getting recommendations and referrals. And if you enjoy pitching, cold outreach could be a great bet.
However, having multiple channels does have its benefits. For starters, it could bring in a higher quality or volume of leads month after month. It also ensures you never have too many eggs in one basket.
So while you may want to focus on one channel now, keep this in mind for your agency’s future.
How do agencies get social media clients?
Every agency is different but here’s one example of a growth agency’s marketing mix.
When choosing your channel, remember that each one has a different cost and payback period. This means that some sources are better for getting social media clients fast while others are an investment over time.
For example, say you need a client now. You could find multiple clients looking for on-demand work on platforms such as Upwork.
But if you want to bring in a steady stream of quality clients? Inbound marketing – such as regularly creating great social media content – is the best way to go.
You’ll also want to think about scalability. While asking for recommendations may be a good way to get your first clients, you have no way to predict how much business you’ll bring in each month.
On the other hand, once you set up inbound marketing and a cold pitching schedule, you can figure out your close rate and calculate a rough estimate of how many new leads you can expect.
So with all of this in mind, a strategic way to get social media clients is to start with a short-term channel, while laying the groundwork for longer-term channels. This will help support your cash flow and establish your agency while also driving future growth.
8 ways to get new social media clients
1. Niche down
When you’re desperate for new business, it may be tempting to cast your net as wide as possible. But ultimately, this brings in clients who just aren’t a good fit – which means wasted time and budget.
Niching down not only allows you to focus your lead generation but also helps you develop your industry expertise. If you specialize in one type of client, you can really dive into the biggest problems, the content that performs best, and how to talk to their audience.
And ultimately, this can be your selling point.
Let’s say a law firm was looking for someone to take care of their social media. Who do you think they’d choose: a general agency, or someone who knows the legal industry and their audience as well as they do?
To identify your ideal social media client, ask yourself:
- What industry are my existing clients in? Are they legal offices? Real estate agents? B2B SaaS companies?
- If there’s no common industry, do you specialize in a certain type of business? Some examples could be early-stage startups, local small businesses, or women-owned businesses.
- Do I like working with these types of clients? If not, what kind of clients would you like to work with going forward?
Hint: the answer shouldn’t just be ‘the ones who pay the most’.
2. Network with local businesses
When starting out, look at businesses in your backyard that fit your client profile. Sure they may not always have the biggest budgets, but they can be a great way to fill out your client roster and build your reputation in the community.
Reach out and introduce yourself, business owner to business owner. There are lots of ways to make an impression:
- Send a personalised email
- Leave a flyer in their letterbox
- Follow them on social media and message them
3. Find out where the conversations are happening
Before you can become a thought leader in your niche, you have to join the conversation. Make a list of conferences, meetups, forums, breakfasts, and any other events your clients attend.
This is the perfect opportunity to talk to business owners and get to what they care about, what their audience cares about, and what problems they’re having. Who knows – maybe you have the answer!
But you don’t just want to be an attendee at these events. By taking more of an active role – say as a guest speaker at a conference on a topic you specialize in – you can help shape the conversation and contribute to the community.
You’ll also want to find out where your social media clients spend their time online. These are just a few ways to start building your reputation as a thought leader.
- Find out where your clients get their information from. You’ll want to target these sites as a guest contributor to share your expertise.
- Who do your clients follow on social media? Connect with these people and start to build up your network.
- Make a list of the podcasts in your niche and ask to be a guest. It’s best to start small, but even podcasts that don’t have a huge audience can be a great opportunity if the right client is listening.
Each of these is just a piece of the puzzle. The more you get your agency out there, the more you’ll be seen as a trusted authority – and someone worth working with.
4. Leverage your existing network for referrals
On average, referred leads typically have a much higher close rate than other marketing channels, meaning this is one of your most important channels. Especially if they’re referred from existing happy clients.
It’s not hard to figure out why – we tend to trust recommendations from people we know, and when clients rave about the amazing results they got, it’s a lot easier to see the value in what you do.
But rather than waiting for clients to send business your way, you can take matters into your own hands. In fact, most clients are happy to recommend you – you just have to ask.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to have a formal referral program. Typically, if clients love you and the work you do, they’ll be happy to recommend you for free. But if you’ve found that you aren’t getting as many recommendations as you’d like, you can try offering an incentive, like a discount on a client’s invoice.
5. Leverage the power of partnerships
Identify a list of non-competing agencies that serve similar clients – say, tech development agencies or content marketing agencies.
Introduce yourself and propose a partnership: you get new clients who have already been vetted and the agency gets a cut (and vice versa). Everybody wins!
Quick note: before you make any agreements, assess if the benefits outweigh the cost. While it’s definitely easier than other forms of lead generation, you want to ensure the finder’s fee isn’t going to negate the value of your new client.
You can also scope out larger social media agencies that are looking to scale up. This tactic works particularly well if you offer more niche services, such as working with certain business types or audiences, or if you specialize in newer social media platforms like TikTok.
6. Check out online marketplaces
Online marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer or Airtasker get a bit of a bad rap. And we won’t lie – you’ll find your share of posts like this.
But there’s a reason so many freelancers have made their start on these online marketplaces.
The clients are already there and need your social media services. And though there are some who won’t be worth your time, you’ll also find big fish like Microsoft or Amway.
As well as those clients right in the middle, who need your speciality services and have a realistic budget.
To help you sort the good from the bad, we’ve assembled a quick list of red flags to watch out for.
🚩Avoid these social media clients on Upwork
- Jobs with +50 offers. At this point, it’s incredibly hard to stand out. Chances are the client won’t read your proposal.
- Job descriptions with vague wording or no specifics about the actual task. This indicates an inexperienced client who doesn’t know what they want – and whose expectations will be hard to meet.
- Job titles like ‘I need IG followers’. These clients don’t have a solid understanding of what they actually want to get from their social media. You can spend time educating them, but chances are they’ll be more difficult.
- Jobs that request free work. Trials are okay (when paid), but some clients may ask you to create content based on a prompt as part of your proposal. These people tend to be the ones who take work from a bunch of applicants and run.
- Social media clients with no or negative reviews. Pay attention to what other agencies or freelancers have said about the client. This should give you an indication of what working with them will be like.
7. Send out cold pitches
This is a more work-intensive method, but one that allows you to carefully choose the kind of social media clients you will be working with.
The key to cold pitching is putting the right offer in the right place at the right time. Rather than being an uninvited presence in a prospect’s inbox, you’re helping them avoid the hassle of the interviewing process and promising something of value.
Here’s our tried and true cold pitching process.
- Identify prospects that are a good fit for your business.
When in doubt, search “best [company type] in [location]”. This brings up review sites with a whole bunch of companies in your niche. You can also use tools like Crunchbase to source potential leads.
You’ll be sending the same pitch to all these prospects (albeit personalized), so make sure they all fall under the same category and have similar offerings.
- Get the right contacts.
Once you’ve got a list of companies, you’ll want to choose the best contact. This is typically the CMO or Head of Marketing, though it will differ depending on the company.
You can use an email finder like Hunter.io to get all the information you need.
- Craft a compelling pitch.
To write a good pitch:
- Introduce yourself and what you do (in a way that’s relevant to a prospect)
- Talk about specific pain points or a problem you know a prospect is facing
- Show how you can solve that problem
- Provide at least 1 proof point that you can actually deliver the results
You should also personalize each email. You can:
- Research the person you’re targeting. Congratulate them on any recent accomplishments, share your appreciation for any recent thought leadership they’ve published, or mention their latest social media post.
- Share your love for what the company does and show you have an in-depth knowledge of what they do (whether it’s their product/service or the mission behind their company). You can also comment on any recent company developments or milestones.
- Load up your pitch and emails into a cold email software.
This allows you to personalize your pitches and send them at scale. Otherwise, sending hundreds of cold emails can chew up a lot of your time (and clutter your inbox).
A cold email software like Lemlist is a great way to make this process easier. Lemlist has a whole bunch of resources you can use to improve your cold pitching process, including this cold email example.
8. Use those social media skills!
Many agencies are so busy focusing on clients that they forget about their own accounts. But social media is a great way to do some inbound marketing and show off the great work clients can expect from you.
Apart from a solid social media strategy, make sure your content:
- Addresses your target audience specifically
- Identifies specific, common problems (that you can help with)
- Clearly presents your framework and solution
- Shows the impact of that solution and really highlights the transformation clients can get from working with you
How much time should I spend looking for new social media clients?
As you can see, getting new social media marketing clients takes a lot of time and effort. But how many hours a week should you be spending on lead generation?
(Hint: it’s more than you’re spending now.)
In general, you should be actively looking for new business. This is the key to sustainable growth – and ensures your agency isn’t dependent on any one client.
We suggest spending around 30-50% of your time prospecting and doing business development.
Okay… but how much time should I really spend?
Sure, spending that much time on getting new social media clients may seem unrealistic when you’re focused on all the other parts of running an agency.
You know, like producing great social media content.
So if you start allocating more time towards building your business, won’t your current clients suffer?
With Kontentino, you can save 20 hours per month per person – hours you can reinvest straight into business growth.
We streamline content creation, approval, posting, reporting, and all the other time-consuming stuff. This way, you can keep impressing your current clients AND dedicate enough attention to building your brand.
Get more social media clients – without spending less time on your current ones
Try Kontentino for free and see how much time you can reinvest in your business. Start your 14-day trial now – no credit card needed.