How To Start Your Own Social Media Business


Utilizing social media to its fullest potential can propel a business to the next level — if done correctly. Yet the world of social media is still new to many people and is constantly evolving.

So entering the digital world can be intimidating to those looking to expand their online presence. For business owners who aren’t interested in handling social media marketing themselves, outsourcing is an option. And providing these social media services to other companies can be a business in itself.

Start Your Own Social Media Business

If you’ve ever thought about how to start your own social media business, consider the story of Rachel Strella of Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Strella is the owner of #Strella Social Media.

The company is a social media management agency. This means it specializes in maintaining the Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blog presence for other businesses. But Strella also assists other business owners with planning social media strategy.

After college, Strella tried her hand at a variety jobs mainly in the marketing field. In an email interview with Small Business Trends, Strella explained:

“I worked in a variety of roles related to marketing and sales including titles like: marketing assistant, marketing coordinator, marketing manager, circulation marketing coordinator, leasing consultant, editorial coordinator, etc. I also worked in a variety of industries including real estate, media, publishing, and non-profit.”

But she never stayed at one job for long. So Strella’s friend and mentor Maria, who she’d met through the Central Pennsylvania Association for Female Executives, suggested she might be an entrepreneur at heart.

In the summer of 2010, the pair met for lunch and Maria shared her frustrations after attending a social media event. She was still having trouble fully grasping all the issues discussed.

Strella had used social media in her previous jobs. So she was able to explain how social media can be used to promote a business. She also suggested what social media tools would best suit Maria’s business.

Maria, impressed by Strella’s knowledge, suggested she begin her own social media consulting company.

At first, Strella began taking on just a few business clients at a time while working a day job.

But after just a few successful months, she transitioned into social media management full time. And five years later her company is still thriving.

Currently, Strella maintains a team of four independent contractors. Each brings a unique specialty to the table.

Strella herself specializes in coaching businesses and management in learning how to navigate the social media field and connect with audiences. The other members of her team tackle the social media metrics, Web design, administrative support and videography.

Strella admitted she never saw herself as a small business owner.

“It turns out that Maria was right — I do enjoy running my own show,” she said.

Improve Your Own Social Media Efforts

For small business owners looking to increase their social media presence, Strella has this advice:

  • Social media is not like traditional media. Social media can be updated constantly with posts, tweets, photos, videos and more. So it is essential to utilize what your audience responds to the most.
  • Do your best to have measurable results. Look at your social media metrics or audience interaction statistics and gauge your social media activity over a set period of time.
  • Remain consistent. This will aid in maintaining your customer base for the long haul.
  • Prepare for a learning curve. Working in social media is not a 9 to 5 job. Changes happen constantly. So constantly evaluate and reevaluate every aspect of both business and social media.

Lastly, Strella recommends:

“There’s no room for complacency. Risks are ever present — in business and in life. No one knows this better than an entrepreneur. To remain sustainable, complacency is not an option.”

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

22 Comments ▼

Shannon Lamoreaux


Shannon Lamoreaux Shannon Lamoreaux is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Even though she is from Rhode Island, she has discovered she is a true Southerner at heart, and she moved to Mississippi to obtain her bachelor degree of science in communication and journalism minor from Mississippi College.

22 Reactions

  1. Best idea for me is that social media is not like traditional media.
    Good tips Shannon.

  2. Aira Bongco

    I have to agree about the measurable results. I think that is something that you cannot negotiate. You need to do something that is easily measurable to be able to show that you can actually do something for other people when it comes to social media.

    • The only way to do that is by showing an increased % profit and website visits to the company page since the campaign started. The company page was getting 500 views before and after the implementation of the campaign that figure consistently and sharply rises. Those are two methods I can think of to measure the success.

  3. have had a few gigs as social media director. My hardest step is explaining to the client that it isn’t an immediate jump and that it takes work. It’s like any advertising. It takes a plan and time….

  4. Great post. I’m currently doing social media strategy at work and am slowly realizing that trying to maintain consistency is key for success.

  5. Great article and tips! The biggest one for me is having measurable results. I manage social media for three churches in a very rural area, and it’s been hard getting started from scratch, particularly on Facebook. Any tips for how to build an audience and increase engagement in such a situation? Thanks!

    • Hi Molly! I run a couple social media account as well as do some consulting. Unfortunately, Facebook is making it harder for companies to be seen in the newsfeed without paying to boost the post. But I’ve posted some general social media tips that work well for me below.

      Teaming up with a business that has more followers and running a fun contest that requires participants to follow/like both company pages to enter is a good way to boost followers. (Make sure to include an engaging element or giveaway in the contest as well).

      Best practices that I recommend would be to keep engaging with relevant users, influencers and companies daily. Comment, like, and follow! Make sure your commenting with something of value too. Also a big one is posting shareable content and don’t forget to tag and engage your loyal fans – even if just a few! Good luck and keep having fun with it!

    • Molly –

      I’m in rural Oklahoma….interested in starting up some social media on the side – and one of my main focus is going to be on churches. Would love to be in correspondence with you to bounce around some ideas .

    • Yea, you can boost engagement by not only posting updates about your products & offers but also interesting updates. it could be a puzzle like picture. it could picture with marketing quotes on them..People tend to engage with such posts which also draws attention to your other post. You could also explore facebook like for like groups to grow fan page likes and also to you could like page posts in like for like groups and in turn they will like your post give a review, comment or share. It’s very effective and it works. Also using a clear call to action with each post helps boost engagement. I hope this helps

  6. I am hoping that someone can help me here. I would like to start up a Social Media Business in my community. There is literally noone doing it here so I think it would be a great market. Does anyone have any suggestions of what types of software I could acquire that can handle multiple accounts, ie more than one customer using many media outlets such as FB, Twitter etc. Or should I just manage their own accounts at the individual sites. That would be time consuming once I begin to get in many clients. I have looked into HooteSuite and it is okay, but paying a monthly fee makes me nervous. What it the company goes out of business…what then? Anyway, any feedback would be welcome!

    • Kim

      I really don’t think you need have any worries about Hootsuite going out of business:))

      If you’re new to running SM on more than just a personal level and want to actually start monetizing it for local clients, you can learn so much on a broader Social Marketing level from their mass of really informative articles/tutorials.

      Best of luck.

    • Kim, If you are still thinking about starting a social media company, (or if you already took the plunge) I strongly suggest you look into the Social Media Manager School. It is run by two remarkable women, Andrea Vahl and Phyllis Khare. If those names look familiar, it could be that they literally wrote the book on Social Media for Dummies (and several other books). You’ll see them as keynote speakers at the best social media conferences…well…this isn’t about their resumes, it is about what they offer. Google the Social Media Manager School, and see if it looks like a fit for you. Both women are very generous with materials you can review even outside of the training. If you do take the coursework, you will be amazed. Very thorough, with outstanding, ongoing support for your business and your continuing social media education. Full disclosure, I did take the course, loved it, but I have no affiliation, financial or otherwise, with the group, other than being a happy, profitable social media management company owner, thanks in great part to their training! Don’t misunderstand me, you can gain a great education just from monitoring the articles, taking free webinars, etc. But for a potential business owner, the real time support from this group is invaluable!

  7. Hey, Siimon here.

    @KimL
    We run our business mainly with Hootsuite and Buffer. You can use the last one to manage multiple accounts on facebook / linked in / twitter etc.

    Take care,
    Siimon Sander
    http://www.svtmedia.com

    • Thank you for your response. Hootsuite seems to be the popular choice. I have not heard of
      Buffer so I will look into it. Again, thank you.

  8. A lot of cool and helpful information.

    I would like to add a great tip that helped us a lot at first when we started doing social media consulting. It was doing a free social media ”Health Check” for companies. That was one of the first strategies we used and brought us a ton of customers.

    Also, you have to make sure you have a well defined and accessible service. For example, if you do logo design , stick to it, be the best at it. We do Social Media Management for Small and Medium size businesses and that is ALL we do.

    Hope this helps! Be awesome

  9. Where is the part where it explains, “How to start your own social media business”?

  10. I really don’t see how this can be called a how-to article there is not one bit of information about how-to start the business or what tools you would need to make it work. Nothing about getting clients or making it as automated as possible, it’s just a story about some lady. I found more information in the comments than the article.

    How Rachel Strella Started Her Social Media Business would have been a little better title and not as misleading, while its a good article that’s well put to gather it’s not a very good how-to lol.

  11. Salvador Hernandez

    I’ve had meetings with successful business owners and investors and I have been trying to put a foot in the social media marketing business. I’m 21 and I’ve had about 8 jobs since I was 18. I don’t like sticking to one thing for long. I have experience in sales, retail, and in the restaurant industry. I know business in all these industries. I just need help to get started, after reading all of these posts I feel very confident. I surely do hope that you Mrs. Strella can get with me through E-mail and discuss what I’m trying to explain. Thanks!

  12. Hi Shannon,

    Great article!

    Though was actually looking to find some strategies and tools to use for starting a social media marketing agency.

    I had a meeting with a potential client and we practically hit it off, right now I need to develop an SMM strategy for her business.

    I’m stuck with the tools and ideas I need for her and other clients.

  13. This is a great story Rachel, and models where I see myself in the future. I’ve worked at Facebook for a year, and tried to start my own social media marketing company, but didn’t have enough investment capital to launch it fully and quit my day job. This article is a couple of years old now, would you mind sharing where you are at, some of the things you’ve learned, and any resources you think that would help ensure your clients are getting at least double ROI for ad spend and marketing costs? Thanks so much!

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