Here’s something online gurus – such as Iman Gadzhi – don’t want you to know: SMMAs (Social Media Marketing Agencies) are bad businesses, and you probably won’t make money from starting one.
SMMAs are one of the most popular side-hustle ideas I see shared online, but I would argue your time is better spent on another idea. Here are 5 reasons SMMAs shouldn’t be your next side-hustle, from someone in digital marketing.
1. It’s quickly becoming a gig economy 📉
As SMMAs have trended as a side-hustle opportunity, the market has become extremely saturated with new businesses and freelancers offering social media management and marketing.
Of course any industry becoming oversaturated results in issues – such as customer acquisition costs being very high – but as starting a SMMA is a popular side-hustle, it has its own set of issues.
Part of why it’s such a popular side-hustle is because the startup costs are… well, mostly non-existent. This is also the main reason it’s quickly becoming a gig economy, as you can price your services as low or as high as you want.
16 year olds living with their parents can charge £10 per month to manage a local company’s page, a 40 year old with a mortgage and children can’t afford to match those prices; and guess what, the 16 year old is probably better at the job.
2. Most business owners do not care about their social media 😑
Most business owners are people like; plumbers, window cleaners, corner shops, etc. These types of businesses are also the most likely to not have someone already managing their social media.
They also probably don’t care, and don’t need to care about social media.
If they’re successful enough that you know they exist and have a full time business from their industry, they probably don’t want to have any additional expenses, so trying to convince them that you’re worth paying for is very difficult. They see SMMA services as an expense (not a necessity), so in their mind you’re just another leech looking for a quick buck.
After calling and emailing these people for a month straight and everyone turning you down, it gets extremely demoralising. To be fair, why should they trust you with their brand reputation?
3. Business owners want a return on investment… Something SMMAs struggle with 💵
Unless you’re able to charge a very minimal amount for social media management or marketing, companies will expect to make a return on their advertising spend.
If you’re just posting to social media, it’s very unlikely you’re going to create significant enough growth for the client to notice or justify your rate. If you’re advertising for them, the return-on-investment will have to be significantly more than your management and ad spend.
If someone invests £500 per month into you, can you actually make them £5,000? If not, don’t expect a longterm customer.
4. Everyone has a family-friend who will replace you… failing that, a wannabe marketer will 🐍
Most people know someone who does social media or is interested in digital marketing. Given the opportunity, they will realistically replace you with this person, as they’d rather support a family-friend or friend’s-friend than a stranger.
Failing that person replacing you, no doubt a wannabe marketer will be in touch with your client and promise them 10x the ROI you’re providing.
5. You can make more money doing other things 🎊
Ultimately, if you spent the same time you would working on your SMMA on another side-hustle, you’d probably make more money.
Jet washing patios, removing garden waste, upcycling furniture; you could probably make more money doing these than cold-calling local businesses offering to do their social media marketing.