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Quality Over Quantity: why The Social Savannah Doesn’t Need to Scale to Over 100 Clients to Find Success

Quality Over Quantity: why The Social Savannah Doesn’t Need to Scale to Over 100 Clients to Find Success

Last Updated:  
March 18, 2024

If you’ve been served an ad on TikTok, you’ve definitely noticed the trend towards quick, engaging videos with a focus on genuine user-generated content (UGC). This type of creative gains followers, builds community, and drives customers directly to a Shopify store to complete a purchase. On a recent episode of Agency Algorithm, Nick and Josh had a chat with Savannah Sanchez, Founder of The Social Savannah, about how she focuses on selling herself as the expert her client gets to work with one-on-one. 

After securing a partnership with the TikTok Creative Exchange, Savannah’s agency is lined up directly with huge brands like Nike, Aeropostale, and Kate Spade to craft compelling video ads that convert, making the adspend work for the brand. Before creating her own agency, Savannah cut her teeth in the world of media buying with the Common Thread Collective. While she enjoyed the positive results of media buying, she eventually discovered she really loved the creative side. Read on to learn more about how she built her personal brand, the best practices she employs as a woman in a male-dominated industry, and how she balances a high workload with activities she enjoys to prevent burnout.

Building a personal brand

Savannah enjoyed the highs of media buying when ads were successful, but also felt some of the lows as well, such as when the iOS 14.5 update made changes to protect user privacy which had far-reaching effects for brands trying to optimize adspend (not our top of the charts podcast, Adspend). Along the way, Savannah discovered she actually enjoyed the managerial side a lot more, especially the part of her role where she was in charge of teaching people repeatable processes that led to successful campaigns. She built personal relationships with brands and nurtured them to generate partnerships for the long term. Her current agency features over 30 content creators she has trained herself with a focus on UGC/TikTok ad creative style that’s giving her clients the best ROAS (return on ad spend) possible! Even with a large team of creators, her promise to her clients is that they get to work with an expert directly: *The* Social Savannah.

Market yourself, not the agency

When you work with The Social Savannah, you get to interact directly with Savannah, and this is by design. Savannah followed the roadmap laid out by other professionals, like Nick Shackleford of Structured, to become a public figure in the field. She focused on speaking engagements, featuring on and producing relevant podcasts in the industry, and continuing to post on social media to build her personal following. Before the big leap into creating her own agency, she made sure she had a solid lead generation source to funnel the clients to her. This approach, as well as clearly generating content that converted, led to her being sought out by big brands. 

Following her agency’s work with Fabletics, a personal relationship led to her being referred to TikTok’s Creative Exchange, a platform that matches brands with creative partners to work on generating ads if a client can commit to a certain adspend. Savannah and her team now get brands assigned to them directly and then they start working on the project. Following successful ad campaigns, she can share these results on socials and generate a conversation about what they love about a great ad. This then continues to be a content stream that gets shares, likes, and future clients for the agency. Win, win, win.

Might be a man’s world, but it’s a woman’s universe

In such a male-dominated industry, it’s wild to think that over two thirds of global consumer expenditures, the actual purchasing decisions, are made by women. But are women typically advertised to? Nope - only 9% of women agree that marketing is directed to them. The community-based nature of TikTok lends itself well to featuring genuine, multifaceted women who can certainly drive buying trends. As a woman-led agency, The Social Savannah also has several female content creators Savannah trained herself on how to create the best content. Using women as UGC creators on TikTok, and other platforms, is a no-brainer. 

The best practices for running an ad agency in 2023

Savannah has built a sought-after TikTok ad agency by making relatable UGC creators and trendy video techniques her bread and butter. Along the way, she learned some best practices from her experience at other agencies, and she wants to share those with you:

  1. Bounce ideas off one another: gather in a room and let everyone have a say; absorb, debate, and reiterate. 
  2. Keep a small client roster: by holding only 5-10 clients at a time, Savannah and her team are able to engage with the client daily so they feel like part of their team. Communication is easier, and shit gets done.
  3. Use the data you’ve got: Don’t run ads blind - understand which creatives are working by analyzing what’s in front of you! Triple Whale can help. 
  4. Build a great team: there’s tons of talent out there, so find the right people to get it done! 

Train the team you want, get the results you need

Savannah has built a mostly hands-off operation because she fully-trained the team herself, so everyone has clear expectations for each area, from the content creators all the way down to the video editors. She has set herself apart from the competition by following strict guidelines for lighting, editing/cuts, and setting up novel ideas or hooks that are AI-resistant. We did ask Savannah what she thought would happen with AI and ads like these, and she told us that people are still responding to authentic humans, and as long as we continue to value authenticity, the AI isn’t coming for our jobs, yet. 

Savannah saw an opportunity in the market and created the UGC Creator Academy, where she teaches aspiring influencers what makes a great ad, what software you need for editing and how to edit videos, and the nitty gritty of setting up contracts with brands to protect yourself. 

Find time to ride the horses

Media buying was stressful for Savannah, and at first, so was building her agency. She got to a point where she was overwhelmed and burnt out, working over 10 hours a day, and decided to take action to build the life she wanted versus letting the business run her. Savannah took the parts of media buying she enjoyed (working directly with clients on creatives) and used it as a springboard to create her agency. 

Now, she’s got a balanced lifestyle, and has built the life she wants. She has time to compete in equestrian competitions and has scaled her business up so she has time to step away. By balancing the available capacity, she can allocate the workload to a smaller team and still enjoy her life! She still works to post on LinkedIn/Twitter to drive more leads to her mailbox, and suggests getting yourself out there with a 10 minute post more often is more valuable than spending an hour on a post that might flop. Not every post needs to be a winner! Hot tip: create a daily task that just says “post” to remind you to get it done. 

In closing, UGC is still a popular way to get more eyeballs on your brand, especially on TikTok. If you want an easy way to keep track of which creatives are turning into conversions, add Triple Whale to supercharge your growth! 

A photo of Savannah Sanchez, The Social Savannah

Connect with Savannah:

Twitter: @social_savannah

Instagram: @thesocialavannah 

LinkedIn: Savannah Sanchez

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