Written by Anna Sonnenberg

Your Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing Strategies for Clients of Agencies


Need to officially plan social media marketing strategies for your agency clients? This step-by-step guide can help you through the process.

Whether your agency specializes in social media management, content creation, or advertising, your team needs a way to achieve results for clients.

When you develop a social media marketing strategy, you gain a framework designed to guide your approach and keep you on a successful track.

With a strategy, your team can also set client expectations, launch campaigns, and make progress toward the right outcomes.

But if your agency has never followed a standard onboarding process for social media clients, where should you start? Learn how to create a social media marketing strategy for clients in this ultimate guide for agencies.

Table of Contents

  1. Talk with client
  2. Research audience
  3. Audit your social
  4. Analyze
  5. Set goals
  6. Build profiles
  7. Develop calendar
  8. Make plans
  9. Establish workflows
  10. Measure and optimize

1. Talk With Your Client

When your agency first begins working with a new client, you probably have a few ideas about what you can accomplish.

Rather than rely solely on your agency’s insights, find out what your client expects from the relationship. After all, understanding your client’s expectations can help you allocate time and resources more effectively.

Questions to ask

When I onboard new clients, I ask questions like:

  • What do you want to accomplish with social media? I offer a few general examples like improving brand awareness or increasing sales to find out where clients want to focus.
  • What social media tactics have failed for your brand? Learning what clients are most dissatisfied with helps me zero in on what’s important to them.
  • How does social media fit into your marketing strategy? Assessing clients’ overall objectives helps me maximize the benefits they can get from my agency’s social media marketing strategy.

2. Research Your Client’s Audience

Next, do the research necessary to become an expert on your client’s audience.

After all, you have to understand your client’s customers before you can recommend the right social platforms or create posts that speak to the right people.

How to conduct the research

First, ask your client a few questions.

Inquire about their target customer’s needs and challenges. Ask how their products or services can help customers resolve challenges or improve quality of life.

Then if your client already has active social media profiles, you can also review their audience stats.

Use a social media tool to get essential demographic information. Use native tools like Facebook Audience Insights to dig into more detailed interests and behaviors, such as brand preferences and purchasing patterns.

Facebook Audience Insights

Get insights into your social media marketing strategies.

Then compile your research to create a customer avatar or buyer persona.

Example of buyer personas

I find that creating buyer personas brings my clients’ customers to life, making them easier to connect with via social media.

My agency’s buyer personas usually include details like:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Profession
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital status
  • Goals and desires
  • Problems and challenges
  • Objections

3. Conduct a Social Media Audit

Whether your client is completely new to social media or has had social accounts for years, you need to take stock.

Steps to auditing

Get access to any existing social media accounts and review their status to help with mapping out your strategy.

social media audit template

Conduct a social audit as part of your social media marketing strategies.

My agency follows these steps for every social media audit:

  1. Create a chart and list the client’s existing social media profiles.
  2. Mark whether their profile images, cover photos, bios, and website links are current.
  3. Review the client’s followers, reach, impressions, engagement, and other key metrics for the past few months.
  4. Note what the client is already doing well. Have they already established a presence on the right social media channels? Do their posts receive above-average engagement?
  5. Note where the client’s social media approach needs improvement. Are their social profiles outdated or do they include broken links? Have they lost more followers than they gained in recent months?

4. Do a Competitive Analysis

No matter how well your client seems to be doing on social media, remember that no brand operates in isolation.

Your client’s industry and competitors should also inform the results they should aim for and the tactics they can use. That’s why your agency should also do a competitive analysis for each client.

When analyzing client competitors, my agency creates a mini version of the audit template above.

We add three to five of the client’s competitors, including both smaller and larger brands.

What to include in your audit

Then we review how each brand is performing:

  • What platforms are they on, and how many followers do they have?
  • How often do they post, and what are their typical engagement metrics?
  • What innovative tactics are they using, and what kind of results are they getting?
social media audit plans

Conduct a social media audit as part of your social media marketing strategies.

5. Set SMART Goals and KPIs

Once you have a better understanding of your client’s current status and where to go next, you can set goals for your social media marketing strategies.

Both your agency and your client can benefit from these objectives.

Your team can measure progress more effectively, and your client can understand the value they’re getting.

How to set up SMART goals

To create objectives, use the SMART goals method:

  • Specific: Go beyond general goals like increasing sales and get more precise. For example, you might focus on driving sales of your client’s new products on Instagram.
  • Measurable: Always make sure your goal is quantifiable. For example, you might aim to help your client sell 1,000 products or generate 5,000 new leads.
  • Achievable: Your social media goals should be attainable, given your client’s budget and resources. For example, reaching one million users in a short time frame might be impossible, while connecting with 100,000 might be more realistic.
  • Relevant: Any goals your team sets should relate to your client’s larger marketing objectives. For example, strive to grow your client’s Facebook following because it can contribute to greater brand awareness, not for the sake of vanity metrics.
  • Time-based: Every goal needs a deadline so you can plan effectively. For example, you may aim to attract 25,000 new followers by the end of the quarter.

The goals you set for clients inform your team’s key performance indicators (KPIs), or targets that keep you on track. For example, my agency might set this SMART goal and related KPI for a client:

  • SMART goal: Generate 3,000 new leads (email subscribers) within the next three months by tweeting links to the client’s case study.
  • KPI: Generate at least 4,000 clicks to the client’s landing page each month, or 1,000 clicks per week, since the landing page conversion rate is about 25%.

6. Build or Optimize Social Profiles

Once you’ve researched your client’s audience and outlined their social media goals, you have the information you need to prioritize the right social media channels.

When choosing social media platforms for your client, consider which ones tend to attract their ideal customers.

For example, Facebook tends to be the most popular social platform for rural users. Instagram is big with users aged 18 to 29 years old.

Consider which channels their competitors are using, too.

Social Agency Scout - Twitter bio

Basic checklist

Whether my agency needs to build a social profile from scratch or optimize an existing one, we use this basic checklist to get started:

  • Profile photo: A timeless logo or a time-sensitive image that we’ll plan to change seasonally
  • Cover image: A graphic that promotes a current initiative or important news
  • Bio: A quick snapshot of the client’s brand and mission
  • URL: A link to the client’s homepage or a landing page with links to news or e-commerce
  • Contact information: Email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses

7. Develop a Social Media Calendar

social media audience research

After optimizing your client’s social media profiles, map out a plan to publish engaging, results-driven content.

First, find the right times to post content so you can publish when your client’s audience is online and most likely to engage.

How to find the best times to post

Check your social media dashboard. Most social media scheduling tools make it easy to determine the optimal times for your client’s audience.

best times to post on social media - AgorapulseReview native analytics. Each social platform also provides insights into audience engagement and popular times to be online.

best times to post on social media - Facebook

Depending on your client’s industry and goals, your social media calendar could include a wide variety of content.

Some of the content your team publishes will probably be evergreen, or relevant any time you share it. Other content is likely to be more time-sensitive, especially if it’s related to seasonal events or temporary promotions.

What to include in your social content calendar

When creating a content calendar, my agency usually plans the following.

Blog posts: Educate and engage the client’s audience.

social media content - blog postLanding pages: Urge followers to take actions like signing up for mailing lists or purchasing products.

social media content - landing pageImages and videos: Entertain and educate followers while attracting more attention than text and links alone.

social media content - videoLivestreams: Connect with followers at the moment by answering questions or providing behind-the-scenes glimpses.

social media content - live videoTime-sensitive content: Post daily highlights or exclusive content designed to disappear in 24 hours.

social media content - StoriesUser-generated content (UGC): Share brand-focused content created by other users, such as social media influencers.

social media content - UGCCurated content: Build connections with peers and industry figures by sharing their content with the client’s audience.

social media content - curated contentSocial ads: Publish paid posts to complement the client’s organic content and give my team more fuel to reach social media goals.

social media content - social ad

8. Make a Content Creation Plan

social media marketing strategy - social media calendar

Once you’ve decided on the type of content to post and when to publish, it’s time to get creative.

Images and video

Because images and video generally require more production time, plan the visual elements of your social media marketing strategy first.

To make sure any creatives you develop are on brand, start by clarifying your client’s visual style.

If your client doesn’t already have one, you can create a branding kit that includes:

  • Company logos
  • Color palettes
  • Fonts, including color and size

Next, develop a creative production workflow.

If your agency produces images or videos, you’ll need to manage tasks like:

  • Scheduling product or lifestyle photoshoots
  • Sourcing high-quality stock photos that fit with your client’s brand
  • Designing graphics that match your client’s brand and colors
  • Planning video shoots, designing sets, creating scripts, and finding actors
  • Mapping out live streams so your client can handle them independently

If your client handles some or all of the creative production in-house, be prepared to guide them through the process.

You may even need to advise about shot lists or video scripts.

No matter your arrangement, set reasonable deadlines so your team receives all the content you need well before the publication date.

Copy and captions

Writing social media copy also goes more smoothly when you know your client’s brand voice.

If your client doesn’t have a style guide, you can create one by reflecting on their mission and buyer persona.

When developing client style guides, my team considers:

  • Tone: How does the client’s brand sound online — including on their website, in emails, or on social media? Are they casual and friendly with customers? Do they take a sassy or a more authoritative approach instead?
  • Style: What kinds of things does the client say? Which words should my team use or avoid to capture their voice in a more authentic way?

As your team writes social media copy, keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Strive to engage followers: Unless it’s part of your client’s established style, always avoid talking at your followers. Instead, write captions that draw followers into a conversation. Invite them to share opinions or ask and answer questions.
  • Encourage conversions: Write every social media post with an end goal in mind. Think of ways your captions can urge followers to take the next step toward the final outcome. Then use calls to action (CTAs) to encourage specific actions. For example, reading a blog post or signing up for a service might get followers one step closer toward your team’s ultimate goal.
  • Experiment with length: Just because competitors write novel-length Facebook posts doesn’t mean that’s right for your client’s brand. Don’t be afraid to test out different lengths or post formats. See what resonates with the audience, and then do more of what works.
social media marketing strategies

Planning your social media marketing strategies

9. Establish Client Workflows

When working with clients, it can be challenging to get sign-offs in a timely manner.

To avoid any unnecessary back-and-forth, set up a workflow with your client.

A good workflow should give your client the oversight they want and your team the approvals you need.

How to approach the approval process

When seeking social media content or calendar approvals, my agency takes one of these approaches:

  • Spreadsheet: We create a custom content calendar in Google Sheets, where we paste social media captions and Dropbox links for every creative. Clients then leave comments to request edits or to approve each post. After getting approval, we schedule the posts in bulk.
  • Shared calendar: We add clients to the shared calendar on our social media dashboard. Then we draft posts in the dashboard and assign them to the client for approval. The client can see exactly how the posts will look and read when they go live.
  • Social media tool: The client invites us to their social media dashboard, where we draft posts and assign them to the client. The posts only get scheduled when the client completes the approval process.

social media marketing strategy - approval workflow

If your agency does more than social media content creation, you’ll also need a workflow for other tasks.

Set client expectations

You may need to set client expectations for:

  • Managing engagement: It’s important to respond to comments and questions in a timely manner. Consider setting up automated responses to reduce wait times. You might also create saved replies to answer common questions quickly.
  • Connecting with influencers: Building influencer partnerships can help your client get even more out of their social media marketing efforts. Consider how to identify relevant influencers, how to prioritize engagement, and what type of partnerships to propose.
  • Responding to crises: It’s critical to plan for a crisis before it happens, not as the event unfolds. Whether the crisis results from a company issue or a world event, outline how your team plans to respond. For example, you might pause scheduled content and provide more strategic updates as necessary.

10. Measure and Optimize

social media reporting

Without reporting, it’s tough to tell whether your social media marketing strategy is working. Set a schedule for producing regular social media reports so your team and your client can assess how much progress you’re making.

Know what to measure

Whether you use native analytics or a social media reporting tool, remember that some metrics matter more than others.

Depending on the client’s goals, my agency includes metrics like:

  • Brand awareness goals: Account growth, reach, and post engagement metrics
  • Lead generation goals: Link click metrics
  • Conversion goals: Purchase and link click metrics

Along with a data-packed report, include your team’s analysis of the results.

When analyzing social media reports, my team often asks questions like:

  • Have we achieved the KPIs we set?
  • If yes, what should our next goal be?
  • If not, what can we change or improve to get better results?

Whether your social media strategy is succeeding or falling short, don’t hesitate to experiment with new tactics or approaches.

Continue to keep an eye on your client’s competitors and use social monitoring to stay on top of industry news and important conversations. Then apply what your team learns and continually improve your client’s social media strategy.

In Conclusion

With a strong social strategy, your team can work more efficiently, and your clients can realize more value from your agency’s services. Use this guide to standardize your agency’s social media marketing strategy services and start driving better results for your clients.

Anna Sonnenberg

Anna Sonnenberg is a digital marketer who specializes in paid social strategy, social media management, content strategy, and email marketing. For over six years, she has run Sonnenberg Media, a digital micro agency that works with small businesses in the natural food and beverage industry, health and sustainability market, and travel space.