How to Write a Winning Social Media Proposal: A Guide for Agencies
Whether you’re a freelancer or an established agency, mastering the art of business proposals is a valuable skill for growth.
A social media proposal is usually one of the last elements of your sales pitch—it’s your chance to convince the prospect that your services are the right fit for them. That said, writing social media proposals can be tricky to get right.
After sending several social media proposals, it's likely that you'll realize that that creating a new proposal from scratch for each prospect is time-consuming and inefficient.
In this article, we’ll discuss what to include in a winning social media proposal and how you can easily adapt our Proposal Report Template to fit the needs of a social media marketing agency. In particular, we’ll discuss:
Let’s get started.
What is a Social Media Proposal?
After you’ve brought a prospect into your agency’s sales funnel, a social media proposal is your chance to outline how your skills, past experience, and strategy will benefit their business. Since a proposal will typically come after an initial consultation with the prospect, the document should highlight your understanding of their current situation and how social media marketing will help them achieve their goals.
Whereas an initial consultation with a client will often be a more informal conversation, a social media proposal formalizes your ideas, strategy, and milestones for the project.
In the early stages of running a social media marketing agency, many marketers will opt for using a Google doc or similar free tool for creating the document. At a certain point, however, it makes sense to upgrade your proposals with software to streamline the creation process and white label it with your agency’s branding.
9 Components of a Successful Social Media Proposal
Now that we’ve discussed what a social media proposal is at a high-level, let’s now look at 9 key components of a winning proposal.
1. Proposal Summary
To start, every proposal should include an introduction and proposal summary. This section should introduce yourself, the agency, and briefly highlight what makes your agency the right fit. As discussed in our guide to SEO proposals, a great introduction should include the following elements:
- Highlight what differentiates your agency: First off, highlight the agency's core service offerings, your mission statement, and what differentiates the agency from the competition.
- Highlight your agency’s past experience: We’ve included a full section below for case studies and testimonials, although it can be useful to mention any past experience that directly relates to the prospect in the introduction.
- Introduce the team: Finally, let the prospect know who they’ll be working with and what makes them a qualified account manager or social media marketer.
Keep in mind that the introduction should typically only be one page—ultimately you want to demonstrate your credibility and get the prospect interested in reading the rest of the document. Below is an example of a summary from our SEO proposal template:
2. Social Media Goals
The next section is your opportunity to demonstrate that you understand how social media marketing relates to their overall business goals. Very often the client’s objectives won’t be to simply grow their online following, but rather to increase leads and sales. Here’s what Hootsuite recommends in terms of setting social media goals:
State approximately three to five S.M.A.R.T social media goals. Each objective should specify the platform(s), the metric(s), and an end date. It needs to be clear when to measure the goal and what the metric is for success.
Remember that it’s to keep the social media goals realistic in order to avoid client churn down the line by setting overly optimistic goals.
3. Social Media Audit
After defining the client’s goals, the next step is to conduct a social media audit to have a clear understanding of their current performance on each platform. SproutSocial defines a social media audit as follows:
A social media audit is the process of reviewing your business’ metrics to assess growth, opportunities and what can be done to improve your social presence.
The first step of a social media audit is to track down each of their profiles and make sure that each is complete and on-brand. Next, a social media audit will typically include the prospect's current metrics such as:
- Followers on each platform
- Posting frequency
- Engagement per post
- Audience demographics
- Best performing posts
- Impressions per post, and so on
If available, it’s always useful to include the percentage change of each metric month over month in order to get an idea of their current social media growth rate.
4. Social Media Strategy
After auditing the prospect's current social media presence, the next step is to use your expertise to craft a brief social media strategy. During the business proposal process, the social media strategy doesn’t need to be exhaustive as you'll likely need additional information after signing a contract. That said, the more specific and actionable you can make the strategy, the better.
A few key pieces of information to include in the strategy section include:
- The context mix you plan to post
- How you plan to create the content
- Recommended posting frequency
- The audience persona you’ll be targeting
- Brand voice and tone
Check out these 9 examples from HootSuite for templates to create a social media strategy, social media audit, content calendar, and more.
5. Metrics & KPIs to Measure Success
After outlining your social media strategy, it’s important to define exactly how you’ll measure success. One way to demonstrate how you’ll be measuring the ROI of their social media marketing is to simply show them an example of a previous social report you’ve sent to clients—of course, removing any sensitive information. For example, in our article on 12 key metrics to track the ROI of social media marketing, we showed how you can assign an exact monetary value to social platforms with our Google Analytics integration:
6. Scope of Work, Timeline, and Deliverables
After providing clear metrics to measure success, the next section should provide the scope of work, timeline, and deliverables for the project. For example, a few of the sections included in SproutSocial’s article on social media proposals include:
- Posting schedule: Include the number of posts each week and which platforms you’ll be using.
- Content creation and curation: Include how and when content will be created and the timeline for editorial approval.
- Analytics and reporting: Highlight how often you’ll be sending analytics and reporting to clients.
Being specific about the timeline and deliverables is a key component of managing client expectations and increasing client retention before starting the project. As highlighted in our guide to client retention:
Client retention actually starts during the sales process—the setting of expectations and timelines starts with the pitch, is cemented during onboarding and realized during client engagement.
7. Case Studies & Testimonials
At this point in the proposal, you’ve demonstrated that you understand the prospect’s business and goals and have a strategy to achieve them. In order to close the deal, however, showcasing several past clients where you’ve done exactly what’s outlined in the proposal is key. Ideally, a case study should include metrics to back up the success of the project and quotes from the client. For example, in our case studies, we typically include exactly how much the client saved by automating their reporting both in terms of dollars and manual labor hours.
8. Terms of Agreement
The terms of agreement section is where you outline the specifics of the project. Typically, this will include the following details:
- Fees: Highlight the pricing model you use, such as whether it’s project-based, hourly, retainer, or a mix. Check out our guide to agency pricing to learn more about this subject.
- Payment terms: Specify when you send invoices, the payment terms, and so on.
- Termination: It’s best practice to also include the details of how either party can terminate the agreement.
9. Next Steps
Finally, every business proposal should conclude by outlining the next steps for the prospect to take. In this section, you can reiterate how you’ll address their business goals with social media marketing, the timeline of the project, and so on. In order to increase the likelihood of closing the deal in a timely manner, you may also want to include an expiration date for the proposal.
Summary: How to Write a Social Media Proposal
Building and scaling a social media agency require you to automate as many processes as possible, while still delivering a high-value service. One of these processes that can be partially automated is the proposal-generation process.
By adapting our proposal report template to fit the needs of social media marketing with our drag-and-drop editor, you can streamline the proposal generation process and focus on more high-value tasks, such as filling the pipeline with qualified prospects. As soon as you sign the prospect to the agency, the process of automating your client reporting with a social media dashboard or report is all under one roof.
Written by Peter Foy
Peter Foy is a content marketer with a focus on SaaS companies. Based in Montreal, QC, when he’s not writing or managing ad campaigns, he’s usually studying data science and machine learning.