Is SMMA a Pyramid Scheme? (3 Evident Points That Prove Otherwise)

April 2, 2024

No, SMMA is not a pyramid scheme because it operates on a legitimate business model where individuals provide social media marketing services to clients for profit. In a pyramid scheme, participants make money by recruiting others. The focus now is on the recruitment rather than the sale of actual products or services.

In contrast, SMMA involves offering tangible services. It includes social media management, advertising, and content creation. This makes SMMA a legitimate business model when conducted ethically. Instead of using it as a get-rich-quick scheme by course creators. 

Social media marketing is powerful. When people have good experiences with a brand on social media, they're likely to recommend it. In fact, according to Lyfe Marketing, 71% of consumers do just that. About 70% of people in the United States use social media, which shows how important it is for businesses.

According to HubSpot Agency Pricing and Report data, agencies make between 11% to 20% in profit. They having more clients doesn't always mean making more money. To make more money, companies must work and aim for steady growth. They should also find ways to earn money even when they're not working all the time.

In this article, we will share our take on whether SMMA is a pyramid scheme, insights on the profitability of the business model and if it's worth the risk. We will also explore local generation as a reliable business model over SMMAs.

3 Evident Points That Prove SMMA is Not a Pyramid Scheme

1. SMMA Has Real Service Offerings

An SMMA business has real service offerings, which proves that it is not a scam. Real service offerings are the foundation of SMMAs. It provides tangible value to clients. An SMMA provides social media marketing services to businesses and individuals. Unlike pyramid scams that rely on recruitment with no product or service.

According to Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, more and more people are getting into social media marketing. This is because whopping 4.57 billion people using social media worldwide. In 2020 alone, 346 million new users jumped on board!

On top of that, people spend around two hours and 24 minutes on social media every day. This creates a great chance for businesses to boost their online visibility.

2. SMMA Involves Acquiring Clients, Not Recruiting Members

Instead of trying to get people to join, an SMMA acquires businesses to hire you so you can make money. It's different from those pyramid schemes you might have heard about. With SMMAs, you focus on helping businesses with their social media marketing.

SMMAs do many things to help online businesses. They make content, handle social media, run ads, and check how well things are going. This helps businesses get better at advertising themselves online, which is important nowadays.

According to Saleshandy, boosting your SMMA is simple with these steps:

  • Define your ideal customer by specifying industries and challenges.
  • Create an irresistible offer backed by a case study.
  • Build a quality prospect list using B2B lead databases.
  • Choose reliable cold email software.
  • Craft a standout, personalized cold email with a clear call to action.
  • Set up an automated follow-up sequence for better response rates.
  • Optimize your strategy by experimenting with subject lines and offers.
  • Scale your outreach to connect with more qualified prospects and get clients.

3. SMMA Doesn’t Have a Complex Commission Structure

Social Media Marketing Agencies (SMMAs) usually keep their pricing simple. They often charge clients a set fee every month for their work. Here's how you can figure out how much to charge:

According to Agorapulse, decide how much money you want your agency to make in a year. Then, think about how experienced you are and what others in the industry are charging. For instance, social media managers has an average of $50,000 yearly income. Then, figure out how much you need to make each month. You can do this by dividing your yearly goal by 12.

Next, figure out how much you need to charge per hour. You can do this by dividing your monthly goal by the number of hours you can work in a month.

Another way to set your prices is to charge by the hour. Make sure your rates match the value you're providing. You can also offer packages with a set monthly rate for ongoing services. Just be careful to balance the time you spend with what you're charging.

For one-time projects, you can set a fixed fee. You might also add extra charges for bigger projects. Don't forget to think about other costs. This include paying your employees, renting office space, and buying software. Make sure your prices cover all these expenses so your agency can make a profit.

Top 4 Reasons People Think SMMA is a Pyramid Scheme

  • They both involve recruitment and financial incentives. But pyramid schemes rely on recruiting participants to earn revenue. An SMMA earns revenue through client acquisition and retention.
  • Both use a structure where people at the top benefit more. However, pyramid schemes make money by bringing in new people. SMMAs earn money by delivering a digital marketing strategy for a business/client.
  • Some information online about an SMMA is unclear and seems more like advertising than helpful content.
  • Some SMMA businesses are not trustworthy.

Is SMMA a Pyramid Scheme or a Real Business? Top Industry Statistics

An SMMA is a real business model not a pyramid scheme with over 50 million small businesses. It uses Facebook Pages for customer engagement. With social media budgets projected to double in five years, the industry is growing.

However, challenges persist, with 60% of marketers struggling to measure ROI. Thus, starting an SMMA is promising and legitimate. But you have to check other aspects of social media marketing to ensure sustained success and avoid pitfalls. However, there's a risk of losing followers (46%) if brands over-promote.

Successful SMMAs That Upturn Pyramid Scheme Misconceptions

1. SociallyIn

SociallyIn is a Social Media Marketing Agency with over 50 employees. They cater to businesses of all sizes, requiring at least a project investment of $5,000. They operate from locations in Atlanta, Georgia, and Los Angeles, California. Content creation, strategy development, and community management are the comprehensive services they offer.

The agency starts projects with thorough audience demographic analysis. This is to tailor content that resonates with the target market. They facilitate brainstorming sessions and craft unique ideas for diverse social platforms. Some of their main focus include Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and LinkedIn.

SociallyIn adopts an iterative approach, continually testing, measuring, and optimizing strategies for maximum effectiveness. Additionally, their community management services involve dedicated managers maintaining brand presence and engagement. Monthly reviews assess follower growth and engagement. They also have option for multilingual social media management in over 36 languages.

2. Disruptive Advertising

Disruptive Advertising, based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, is an SMMA with a team of 50+ experts. They specialize in PPC management, site testing, analytics consulting, and software services. With a minimum project price starting at $5,000, they maximize client returns through weekly optimization of PPC campaigns. They focus on Google ads as a PPC powerhouse.

While recognizing Facebook's significance in B2C marketing and LinkedIn's relevance for B2B sectors, they stress the importance of precise targeting based on a deep understanding of target customers.

Disruptive Advertising is on a mission to change the world one click at a time. They ensure testing and optimizing every aspect of campaigns from click-to-close. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter, are the platforms they handle. They also provide content creation, email marketing, SEO, social media management, Facebook and Instagram ads, eCommerce, and B2B marketing.

3. Viral Nation

Viral Nation is a globally recognized influencer marketing agency. It is founded by Mathew Micheli and Joe Gagliese in 2014. They specialize in creating groundbreaking campaigns for enterprises and large brands. They serve in Canada, Barbados, and the United States. Viral Nation has a minimum project price of $50,000.

The agency collaborates with major brands like Bud Light and Aston Martin. Their services include influencer marketing, social media management, digital marketing, talent management, blockchain, NFT, and crypto marketing, as well as business-to-business strategies.

Viral Nation is really good at making things go viral for brands. They use social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. 

4. SmartSites

SmartSites is a popular social media marketing agency in Paramus, New Jersey. They help small and medium-sized businesses with a team of 10 to 50 professionals since 2011.

SmartSites has received recognition from industry authorities like GoodFirms and DesignRush. They've also earned over 300 positive client reviews on Google. SmartSites is known for managing accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Google My Business.

They create custom strategies for each brand and maintain a strong identity across different channels. SmartSites handles tasks like social media engagements and boos brand visibility.

SmartSites offers various services including website design, PPC management, paid social and search advertising, organic SEO, email marketing, and social media management. Their projects start at $1,000.

5. ICUC.Social

ICUC.Social is a top social media marketing agency in Toronto, Canada. They work with big and medium-sized brands, starting projects at $10,000. They have a team of over 50 people with over 20 years of experience.

ICUC has a three-step approach: first, they understand what their clients want and learn about their audience. Then, they make a social media plan that fits their clients perfectly. Finally, they keep making improvements to make sure everything works well.

One big success they had was making something trend as the number one topic on Twitter for four hours straight. This shows they're great at getting attention for their clients.

ICUC.Social offers a bunch of services. This include making content, managing social media accounts, talking with people online, listening to what people are saying about the brand, managing online communities, understanding what customers want, and looking at how well everything is doing on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Discord, Twitch, Flickr, Pinterest, and Threads.

Is SMMA a High-Risk Business Model?

Yes, an SMMA is a high-risk business model. This is because of competition, financial risks, and client expectations. Some influencers may make it seem easy with little experience or investment. But this ignores important factors.

Just spamming ads in a local area won't work. The success of an SMMA requires good marketing, working with the right clients, attracting leads, and offering valuable advice in online communities. If clients don't see results, they can cancel contracts, putting the agency at risk of losing money.

Hendz talks about the huge gap between what marketing says about starting an SMMA and the real experience of running one. From his own five-year journey, he questions whether the promises made by SMMA experts are actually true. Because he knows how tough the business really is.

He points out that many people who dream of owning an SMMA struggle to get potential clients to show up for sales meetings and to close deals successfully. Hendz suggests that bombarding potential clients with generic offers and empty promises doesn't work anymore. Instead, he recommends giving value for free to show expertise and build trust before trying to sell anything.

Furthermore, he warns against working with clients who don't have much money to spend and advises understanding a business's financial situation first before making any deals because an SMMA involves a lot of risks.

Why People Think SMMA is a Scam

People think SMMA is a scam because of the nature of the business. According to Investopedia, a pyramid scheme is a deceptive investment strategy that promises unrealistic high returns from non-existent investments. Early participants receive payouts from the contributions of new investors, creating the illusion of profitability. As the scheme relies on recruiting more people, it eventually collapses when it becomes challenging to find new participants. However, SMMAs act ethically when done right.

One Reddit post points out that much of the information online for SMMAs isn't clear. It also seems like SMMAs overcharge for small returns.

Some people think the effectiveness of SMMAs vary on how much you know and what tools you have. But others say SMMA is great for businesses and entrepreneurs. One reason is to let others handle their socials because of their busy schedule.

However, lots of folks aren't sure if SMMAs are really legit. They think it's unclear and might not offer much. Some worry it might be a scam, though not everyone agrees on whether it's trustworthy. 

The YouTube channel Henz Advice talks about how SMMAs are often seen as scams. This is because some people make unrealistic promises, like making $10,000 a month easily. The problem is that some "gurus" make it sound too simple for beginners.

Instead of relying on old-fashioned methods like cold calling or sending lots of messages, Henz says it's better to focus on building trust and credibility. He suggests finding a specific area to specialize in and becoming an expert in that. Being good at selling is important too. An example would be building a personal connection with clients.

Rather than chasing after clients, Henz advice to attract them. You can do this by sharing useful information in online communities related to your area of expertise. He also recommends using paid ads, even if you don't have a big budget.

Overall, Henz wants people to have realistic expectations. He also emphasizes that thoughtful approach to building a successful SMMA than falling for hype.

Is SMMA Profitable?

Yes, SMMA is profitable but may vary based on several factors. This involves the business model, target market, expertise, and effectiveness of the marketing strategies employed.

However, user SleepIcy446 on Reddit questioned why not everyone is starting an SMMA? If it's claimed to be easy and profitable, promoted by YouTube influencers. The user questioned whether SMMAs ensure profit.

User ResearcherOk9873 responded by stating that many people attempt it, but they often underestimate the challenges. Reaching out to potential clients is tough, and even after securing clients, there's significant work involved. The YouTubers promoting SMMA might oversimplify it to sell courses. 

Another user, vladusatii, emphasized the difficulty of SMMAs, highlighting the demanding aspects. This includes late-night editing, payroll, client management, and constant challenges. Both users suggested that SMMA is not as easy as it may seem, requiring perseverance and dedication to overcome the obstacles. 

Both users suggested that SMMA is not as easy as it may seem, requiring perseverance and dedication to overcome the obstacles.

Is SMMA a sustainable business model?

Yes, an SMMA is a sustainable business model even in 2024. Starting a Social Media Marketing Agency (SMMA) in 2024 remains a viable option despite the competitive market.

According to Jordan Platten, the SMMA industry offers a great opportunity. This is because of its low entry barriers and minimal investment requirements.

He also highlights the shift in SMMAs over the past year. Initially, it focus on local lead generation but eventually drawn into the stress of e-commerce agencies. The advice is to avoid starting an e-commerce agency because of its high stress levels. 

Overall, the SMMA field is still considered sustainable business model for those looking to enter the business world. It has potential despite the challenges.

Is SMMA Worth It?

Yes, an SMMA is worth it because it offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to capitalize on the demand for digital marketing services. The industry is growing quickly thanks to the rising use of online platforms for brand awareness and business promotion.
According to, the estimated salary range of SMMAs range from $83,067-$107,044. The average salary for professionals in this sector is approximately $94,441. This highlights the potential for the SMMA owners to generate a competitive income within the broader business services industry.

SMMAs are valuable because it provides different ways to make money. Besides managing social media marketing for clients, SMMA owners can earn extra income through paid advertising. Platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads enable SMMA owners to expand their services with paid advertising campaigns.

Starting an SMMA is a wise choice for the future because of the promising income opportunities in the Business Services industry. The estimated salary range is evidence of its potential. Additionally, the chance to diversify income through paid advertising services makes running an SMMA even more appealing. However, aspiring SMMA owners must establish their presence first in the digital marketing industry.

Steer Clear From SMMA Misconceptions: Create Income Security With Local Lead Generation reports that a majority of marketers experienced positive outcomes from their social media marketing efforts. About 86% cited increased business exposure, 76% saw higher website traffic, 64% generated leads, 56% built loyal fan bases, and 55% reported improved sales through social media marketing. Despite these successes, it's crucial to stay updated on developing trends in technology. 

However, based on one of the Reddit users, the problem in the SMMA industry lies in oversaturation and false promises by self-proclaimed gurus. This makes difficult to acquire clients. Many believe SMMA is a dead industry because of these challenges. However, success is possible by specializing in a specific niche and offering unique services instead of generic ones. 

With the demand and competitiveness, it's much better to explore a more feasible and results-driven business model like local lead generation.

Local lead generation is efficient and reliable, tapping into specific markets to provide businesses with a consistent flow of top-notch leads. The great thing about local lead gen is it not just handles SMMA's issues but is better at solving them. It's sustainable, has easier entry, and keeps clients better. It's the top choice for a strong and dependable business. 

Are you ready to revolutionize your business? The local lead generation program is the first step to help you get started with your business' success.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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