8 tools essential to running your own social media agency

Running a successful social media agency is tough – and that’s why so many start-ups fail. The secret to success is to make your life as simple as possible, so you can focus on delivering outstanding results for your client-base. By implementing clever tools and slick processes, you can ensure that operations, billing, communication etc are all running smoothly.

We’ve put together our list of tools and tech that we swear by, helping make the day to day running of DMT a breeze.

Time tracking

It’s the dreaded question – “have you done your timesheets?”. Trying to push timesheets onto creatives is a task that all managers dread, but it’s a necessary evil. The trick is to make this process as painless as possible, so that you’re not impeding on your team’s day too much. It took us a while to settle on a pain-free solution, but we stumbled across Clockify and it’s a great fit for us.

Clockify makes time tracking as painless as possible

It’s crucial to use a time tracking tool so that you can keep an eye on just how much projects are costing. It’s no good billing your client a retainer fee when your staff are spending way more hours on their campaigns than you’re charging! Keeping your team in the loop about how much clients are paying and how many hours they should be hitting will help their expectations when completing the work.  

When selecting a time-tracker you’ll want to find something that allows you to pull in-depth reports, allowing you to take an analytical view of how each department, client and team member is getting on. Being able to add your studio rate to work out billable time is also handy.

Project management

Having a project management tool in place is essential to keep your teams on track with incoming work. A shared digital system will allow everyone involved in a project to stay up to date on to-do lists, in-progress items, notes and live dates.

Build boards and lists to help your projects flow through each department

A board-based system such as Trello can make life a lot easier. Instead of people getting overwhelmed by the idea of how much work they have on, mapping out each stage of a project can break the work down into bite-sized, manageable pieces. Being able to check an item off the to-do list also sparks a great feeling of achievement, keeping your team motivated.

Trello’s great as you can add people from outside your company too, making it easy to collaborate with other people who may be working on specific projects, such as web designers, developers and the clients themselves. It’s also great if you have remote workers – bonus.

Social media scheduler

As a social media agency, it goes without saying that you’ll need a scheduling tool to keep on track of your clients’ content calendars. There are countless options available on the market, so your best option will depend on the number of clients you have, your budget, and the number of users you require.

Social Report is a great choice for handling your clients’ social media accounts

It’s also important to bear in mind the type of content and the social media platforms you’ll be primarily using. Certain schedulers are great for different platforms, whereas others are good all-rounders. One of our favourite scheduling tools is Buffer, which is spot on if you’re simply looking at a pure scheduler.

We’ve opted for Social Report as our new scheduling tool. As a relatively new player in the social media scheduling market, it comes packed with tonnes of intuitive features and the price tag is very reasonable. You can read more about social media schedulers here.

CRM

As an agency, your CRM is your best friend. A slick CRM makes it easy to organise, track and grow your sales pipeline, whilst keeping record of customer details, agreements, marketing and more. You’ll be able to create a unified sales process and collect data that offers clear and actionable insights to help improve this process going forward.

Clients can book meetings by using personalised meeting links

Switching to HubSpot hugely improved both our agency’s growth and organisation. A user-friendly interface, simple navigation and handy mobile app helps your team keep up to date with company, contact and deal info whether in the office or on the go.

By building clever workflows, you can fine-tune your agency’s pipelines and processes, helping your client travel from being a fresh lead right through to being a loyal, satisfied customer. Warning – if you’re in charge of building the automation, it might keep you up at night. Prepare to set up a detective wall and pace like a madman as you pick apart your processes!

Reporting

When you work for a social media agency, your clients’ goals become your goals. It’s important to set their KPIs ahead of their service, track them throughout and report back on a regular basis. It’s crucial to build reports that help your clients easily understand how well your campaigns have performed.

Go deeper with Supermetrics

Being able to automatically pull analytical data from your clients’ accounts is a massive time saver. Rather than compiling the data yourself, a tool such as Supermetrics provides you with the graphs and tables you need to put together slick, client-friendly reports based on your marketing campaigns.

Supermetrics works with a range of sources including Facebook, Google Analytics and Twitter, converting that data into Google Data Studio, Google Sheets and Excel if you’re old school. We use Supermetrics and Google Data Studio for our monthly client reports, allowing clients to keep up to date with their latest figures in real-time. Providing a commentary at the end of each month allows us to identify progress, areas for improvements and suggestions going forward.

Communication

Maintaining a healthy agency-client relationship is one of the most important aspects when it comes to client satisfaction and, ultimately, retention. Working closely with your clients can result in near-constant communication streams, so sometimes massive email chains just don’t cut it.

Slack is a great internal and external communication tool

Turning to instant messaging tools such as Slack can help speed up communication channels, helping sign off projects and gather assets in a more efficient manner. Slack also integrates with many other tools, making it really handy. It’s great for internal comms even if you don’t fancy giving your clients access to an IM platform.

At Digital Media Team we pride ourselves on our approachable set up, allowing our clients to reach us quickly and easily. We use a combination of phone calls, email and Slack to get in touch with our customers. One issue to bear in mind here is becoming too available. When you’re replying to client messages on Whatsapp at 2am on a Saturday, you know you need to reconsider your methods.

Feed Management

If you work with ecommerce clients, a shopping feed management tool can be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping those all-important shopping feeds accurate and up to date. If you try to provide paid social or PPC services without a feed management tool you’re likely to end up spending hours on Merchant Centre, constantly exporting and uploading feeds to your campaigns.

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Feedoptimise helps keep your shopping feeds in order

We use Feedoptimise to ensure our clients’ shopping feeds are kept in order. Their team handle the entirety of the feed management process, from feed creation right through to daily updates and real-time performance monitoring and optimisation.

For a small monthly fee, which your clients should be happy to pick up, you can run paid advertising campaigns whilst avoiding any shopping feed disasters. What’s more, their customer service team are absolutely brilliant to work with. You can read more about the importance of shopping feed management here.  

Billing

If you offer an outstanding service for your clients but your billing procedures are a mess it can dampen the entire customer experience. Incorrect invoices, payment reminders and confusing communication can all damage the relationship you’ve built with your client, so the first and foremost thing to keep in mind here is honesty.

We use Xero to keep on top of our billing. It’s simple to use, quick, and allows us to pull in-depth reports for our profit and loss meetings. Designed to grow your business, Xero is a really handy tool that helps take the stress out of accounting.

We also recommend using GoCardless to set up direct debits for your clients. This allows monthly payments to be taken quickly and reliably, helping you save time and avoid any credit control headaches.

What tools do you use to make running your social media agency easier? Let us know! Join us on Facebook or LinkedIn.