How to Write a Successful Social Media Proposal

To write a convincing proposal, you need to understand your clients' needs and current situation. But also showcase your company as the ideal partner to take them there.

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Show me the future of my social media. Whereas 90% of social media management is about efficient operations and consistency, it is the remaining 10% that will attract a client to your offering. That small part is about the creativity, the vision and the strategy that will take your client to an effective, winning spot for their social media profile. But how do you describe the journey and convince them that you are the best solution to get them there?

What is the purpose of writing a social media proposal?

A marketing proposal for social media is a business offering, in which you propose to manage and position a brand in their ongoing social media operations to reach a certain goal or to establish a certain profile.

It could also take the form of a social media campaign proposal. We are assuming that this proposal is for social media management and that you are providing it in a written format.

We recommend that you make it as visual as possible, including video elements which will make sense for this type of proposal. If your client accepts your proposal, you will typically formalize details further in other documents, including a detailed scope of work and business contract.

How to write a social media proposal

Social media proposals come in many shapes and forms, but are usually based on an audit of some kind. And social media management too typically proposes tools for auditing and measuring social media performance. Some vendors will provide examples of social media marketing proposals ready to use.

You could choose to go the simple way and download a social media marketing template to fill in, but in order to focus on the 10% that matters, we suggest you go through a deeper mental process as outlined below:

Section 1: Your client's business and social media

This initial section of your proposal should immediately establish that you understand your client’s business. You will realize, in preparing this section, that there are things you don’t know and will need to research before you can complete it.

Writing this section will be difficult if you haven't been provided with a brief and conducted an audit of their social media presence and strategy.

Tips for writing your business and your social media:

If you have a brief, study it carefully. Seek information on the client’s website, run a social media audit, and thoroughly understand their business challenges. What are the key obstacles? How would this integrate with other marketing channels? Why do they need help from outside?

You will be in a stronger position if you can define their challenges clearly and early.

  • Use tools: Any online tool you have access to, such as SEMrush, Buzzsumo, or other social media listening tools can be useful to understand the client's positioning, website, and social profiles.
  • Content audit: What content do they possess and publish? What keywords are important to them? What about their competitors?
  • Review mining: Look through their ratings and reviews on Amazon, Facebook, and Google to understand end user views and opinions. Check competitors too.

Section 2: Value proposition

Rather than explaining who you are and what your business is about — which can end up being a rather dull reading experience — think about your values and how they will make a difference to your client. This section is about you, tailored to position you as a credible supplier of the service you are proposing.

"Our influencer relationships will be key to leveraging your social media performance"

"Our experience with growing an Instagram following will be useful for reaching your objectives"

"Our technology platform [name of platform] will drive efficiency to your social media management"

Tips for writing your value proposition:

Start with an overview of what you stand for, and then pick out the most relevant parts of your identity and business offering that best fit this client.

  • Reference other clients here: Use this occasion to present relevant marketing campaigns or strategies you have used with other clients.
  • Personalize your presentation: Review the section as if you were the client. Is everything relevant and useful? If not, don't hesitate to remove it.

Section 3: Our vision for your social media

Sharing the vision you have for your client’s social media development is a key element in your proposal. This is your social media strategy proposal, designed to catapult their social media activities. You should be careful to not over-promise or appear superficial, but still present a tangible vision for where you would like to take them.

On social media, this could involve community building or attaining follower goals, or maybe even business results. This is also where you can showcase creative ideas you have for this client. These can be visual or they can be conceptual in the form of hashtags such as these:

  • #morethanresults
  • #betterthantherest
  • #overthetop

Tips for writing our vision for you:

A vision for a client can only be built on the basis of media auditing and competitive analysis. Those tasks are certainly time consuming, but they will show the result of the time invested in a creative way. A draft social media content calendar could be a brilliant element to include in the proposal to make the offering tangible and appealing.

  • Use tools for audit: Use as many available tools as you have to analyze the client’s business and social media. What weaknesses can you help them on? What opportunities can you help them grab?
  • Group brainstorm: Share your audit with two or three colleagues and do a proper brainstorming session to come up with ideas. Your idea generation abilities will be important for social media success for your client and a key piece of your proposal.

Section 4: Objectives and workflow

Tailoring the marketing objectives to the vision and detailing the organization and workflow are key elements of a proposal. These elements will be expanded into the scope of work and the financial proposal. Objectives are quantified using social media metrics that should be compatible with common marketing metrics. You also need to consider the client’s wider marketing analytics setup and make sure they are compatible.

The workflow must describe the organization and team, including the client’s role. This is where you need to put faces on your team members for this engagement, and also where you need to define milestones the client must validate in order for the project to move forward.

Tips for writing objectives and workflow:

The objectives should remain high level metrics, but the more detailed the work behind the scenes has been, the better. Be sure to not provide too many details of your estimates as they can foster endless discussion. If you are intuitive and a risk taker, you may simply put an objective out there that you think your team can reach. The workflow can be shown as a simple organisation chart naming the roles and the team members on your side.

  • Use photos: Ideally the team members that would work on an engagement would be present at the proposal presentation, but in any case, it is useful to put their photo in the proposal. It makes the proposal more tangible and more real.
  • Be careful with quantitative leaps: Sometimes you know you can overdeliver significantly for a client, but it’s better to show lower numbers and then overdeliver in practice in order to not appear superficial.

Section 5: Financial proposal

The financial proposal should identify the types of costs your engagement would require. It is an essential part of the proposal and a delicate one. Costing must be detailed enough for the client to understand your calculations, but not too detailed that it derails the focus to irrelevant topics. At this stage, a misunderstanding can be a showstopper.

Tips for writing the financial proposal:

Detail the various types of costs in a way the client will clearly see them. Label them in ways that emphasize the value they bring.

  • Optimize labels: "Account executive 20 hours: $2000" will mean nothing to the client, whereas "Six months project management and weekly meetings: $2000" is a lot easier to understand, value, and accept.
  • Design your financials: As any other part of the proposal, the financial proposal should look professional and polished. If it doesn't, then extract the figures and give the proposal to a designer so they can pep it up.

Section 6: And on top of that

By now the client has probably formulated their opinion about your proposal and is expecting a wrap up. This is an opportunity for you to add a finale extra, such as the crazy idea that didn't quite make it to the “Vision” section of the proposal or the extra mile you went to understand your client's needs and requirements.

Tips for writing and on top of that:

This last section can take many forms. It could be a video, or it could be a surprise call with a partner or team member who was doing investigations for the project in another city. Or it could be a document or tangible asset you made specifically for the pitch.

  • Think out of the box: The idea goes beyond the business proposal. Maybe it is too expensive, not profitable, timing is wrong, or the brief clearly said they didn't require something of the sort.
  • Go the extra mile: Just show the client that you are ready to go further, and that you are truly motivated to win this project.

Considerations before you submit your proposal

The proposal is ready, but are you sure you got everything right? Here are a couple of considerations to take before you submit your final version.

  • Do you have a clear value proposition? Read it through one last time. Does your proposal value stand out clearly? If not, consider some rewriting.
  • Is your proposal feasible? Now that you have built a dream proposal, is it also possible to execute in reality? If not, take the vision down one level.
  • Does the vision come through without giving it all away? Did you just give them the keys to unlocking the market without them needing you? In that case, take away some detail and add some mystery to the proposal.
  • Is it a good price for the client? It may be the right price for you, but will it be the right price for the client? It’s not easy to figure out, but if you feel it is completely off, it probably is.
  • Does this go out by email? If you send the proposal by email then you need to think about the subject line and the text in your message.

Imagine your prospect doesn't see your message or doesn't realize your proposal is attached. Is the file heavy? Could it be stuck in spam or a large-file filter? Write a good introductory message stressing the key points, and make downloading and opening the proposal a call to action. Now you’re ready to send. And be sure to call tomorrow to make sure they received the file.

Now press send

You have built a smashing proposal. Its content will show your client that you have understood their business, that you are a credible and able service provider, and that you have a well-thought-out social media vision for their business. They will understand that working with you will be easy, well-organized, and efficient. And finally, they understand that you are motivated to go the extra mile and are passionate about your business.

Now you can move on to creating the draft scope of work and contract.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, and Facebook. The Motley Fool recommends Sprout Social and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.