It started with the Hollywood hustle. Ryan Walker was bartending, doing catering gigs, and all sorts of other odd jobs to make his way forward. He recognized a market opportunity around social media management and started making his moves. Back then, armed with a pair of Armani black leather shoes, he’d often park blocks away from wherever he was meeting his prospective celebrity client. Not because he liked to walk: he couldn’t afford the valet. That was then and this is now.
Today, Walker leads TSMA. The company was formerly known as The Social Media Advantage. Currently, the company’s moniker is The Social Media Agency and has experienced meteoric growth over the last decade since he founded it. As one of the pioneers in the influencer economy, TSMA quickly gained notoriety amongst the celebrity crowd. Walker’s agency quickly emerged as a global leader in social media management. Influencers liked the perks and financial remuneration. And developing economies like Argentina were receiving tens of thousands of dollars per month by bringing international followers to celebrities’ social media platforms. Indeed, TSMA had found the path to the triple win.
Grit Daily queried Walker about how TSMA manages to stay one step ahead in a very competitive market. He explained, “We incentivize the creator community with giveaways and we’ve leveraged that influencer economy for a long time, even before it was trendy to do so. TSMA is the first and only firm that uses the creator economy.”
Social media is constantly changing
Of course, TSMA’s success wouldn’t be possible without two critical components. One, a focus on developing the talent within. And two, a lot of hustling and hard work. When asked how social media has shifted since TSMA launched, Walker had this to say, “Prior to the pandemic, we didn’t anticipate a large boom and pivot to e-Commerce. That high influx led to new departments and adding a dozen new hires which was a boost to our social media community.”
Along the way, they’ve also had to make adjustments to evolve in parallel to how consumer habits were changing. “We’ve seen a massive shift in how people consume content and how individuals and businesses use it, and the strong desire for education in this space,” Walker said. He continued, “What I’m most proud of is the educational content that we’ve created. We’ve seen the impact that education can have.”
Maintaining compliance with ever-changing policies on social media platforms is an essential hallmark of the TSMA brand. “We’re always compliant so that we can attract the level of client base that we have.” However, one effort maintaining social media compliance threw them for an unexpected loop. “Back in October, 2019, Instagram made a wide-sweeping shift that wasn’t well documented publicly. They changed the way they allow third-party software to access their back end. Automated actions changed the way our clients were getting engagement literally overnight. Each account went from say a thousand likes to just a few hundred. Billions of actions per month went away which put a lot of social media agencies out of business. And engagement levels have been been lower ever since.”
What consumers want
Consumers want fresh, quality content. Short-form video content around 30-seconds at a time, “TikTok style,” is being voraciously consumed. In fact, TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform. Stock imagery is no longer resonating with the audience. People want authentic material; videos in particular. Each day, more than one billion hours of video are consumed on YouTube alone.
Walker shared his thoughts on how social media was likely to shift over the months and year ahead. “Short-form video content isn’t going to go away anytime soon.” To hear more insights about social media management and the grit required to build a massively successful company, tune into Grit Daily Like a Boss podcast. As Season 2 wraps up next week, we’ll soon be launching Season 3 under a new podcast title, “The Grit Files: Startup Stories.” Listen to the episode featuring Ryan Walker anywhere that content is streamed.