Hi, I'm a two-time best selling author and have written a book on Social Media called "Social Media Isn't Social If You're Shouting!" I've also appeared on TV, local radio and in various publications discussing social media and local small business marketing strategies. Using these strategies I built a local b2b networking group from 0 members to over 3000 in just 18 months. Today (using my strategies) the network has more than 5000 members and for the most part it was built using free marketing and social media messaging.
To answer your question: Yes ... of course it depends on what you imagine your social media agency might involve. But if you start small and offer a single simple service (like writing and posting social media updates for Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+) you can create a sustainable monthly revenue. You can also outsource the actual writing very inexpensively and managing a client with this level of service requires very little time - about 2 hours/mo.
I know because that's how I started mine. Our clients pay us a small flat fee of $499/mo (which we charge to their credit cards on the 1st of the month -- unless they cancel by the 15th of the previous month) and then we write and publish their social media updates.
If you'd like to see how we offer that simple service review my sales page at https://jamesburchill.leadpages.net/cme-sp/ and for the bigger picture, visit my main company site http://bfmx.ca -- they both explain our offer and what we do.
If you still have questions about how our program works and can easily be launched feel free to setup a call with me. I'll explain how you can setup a similar service and offer it to your local business community and how it's not too hard to get 4 to 6 clients all paying you about $500/mo.
For some people that's life altering, for others it's a start ;-)
Whatever you do, congratulations on choosing the e-shift from employee to entrepreneur, we need more people like that.
I have to ask why you would start an agency in an area you don't have much experience in. Perhaps you'd be better off getting at least a little experience first?
If you're good at social media, you really shouldn't need to advertise, so absolutely! (Okay, I'm being a little cheeky, there.)
Of course, you say you don't have much experience. In a field where things change so rapidly anyway, 5 years experience isn't necessarily better than 6 months experience, if the newbie is clever and motivated.
Obviously, learn everything you can about social media marketing. Master Hootsuite. Be able to answer questions like, "How can businesses use Vine?"
If you want to be really clever about this, put up a blog and blog your way through your learning. As you learn about how to sell on Instagram, write a blog post about it (and give credit/links where they're due!)
Transparency won't hurt you here. If I read your blog and saw that you spent the last three months teaching yourself about social media and writing about what you learned, I'd be impressed. I wouldn't care that you didn't know anything three months ago, since I really don't have time to spend three months cramming on this topic; I'd be happy for you to do that for me.
You can start working for real clients by taking on nonprofits and doing social media for them for free. Or a friend's small business, if you want. But ONLY work for free if you get permission to TALK ABOUT IT, share details, use screenshots, etc. And only work for free over a limited time.
For free work: Create a simple written agreement that says what services you'll perform over 6 weeks, or 3 months, or whatnot, and that either party can terminate during that period, and that if the pro bono engagement lasts the entire term, the client will give you a written recommendation (associated with their name and business) that you can use on your website and on LinkedIn, and you can use any other details.
At the end of the free period, the client would then have the option to continue working with you for a monthly retainer if they choose to do so; if not, you'll leave them with a short manual on how do maintain their own social media.
Also keep in mind that, in order to sell expertise, you often only need to be about two levels above who you're selling to. Social media for a major corporation may involve detailed analytics and a video production team. Social media for a church down the block may involve starting a Twitter account, explaining what Twitter is, establishing a few hashtags and getting the word out to members, and suggesting the types of things a church might want to tweet.
Boom, now you have a social media agency.
If you are serious about launching a social media agency, take the time to learn the various networks before you engage with any clients.
There is a great deal of information available for free on social media best practices, so yes, you can learn about social media and be knowledgeable enough to help others.
Before you allow anyone to hire you, make sure you have the basics down. Watch, listen, learn and then start engaging.
Grow your social network so you have proof of your knowledge. Prospective clients will look at your profiles to see if you have followers, you are engaged, and you have authority.
Once you're comfortable take on a few pro bono clients to test your skills. That will not only teach you some things you may have missed, it will also help give you confidence to take on clients for real money.
I would argue that it is definitely possible. And in my experience even sometimes a good thing to not know a whole lot about a field. But there is one thing for sure: you should have fun. And it should be interesting for you to learn.
Why do I think it's good to now know much?
If you want to build this business to be something bigger, it's an important skill to be able to outsource. If you start outsourcing right from the beginning, your margins might be smaller but on the other hand, your ability to scale the business is much better.
So go out there. Learn some things for yourself. But keep the actual work outsourced. And scale the business by getting new clients.
I have done this with an animated video business and I have helped friends to do the same with social media and website businesses as well. It's a great place to be in and definitely a field of great return.
If you want to know more about my experience or have specific questions, please feel free to reply here or request a call. I'm open for discussions and consultations.