Oh, agency life. The mini-meetings on the way to meetings, after-hours brainstorms, free client swag and mandatory office parties that always seem to land on your busiest day (why does that always happen?!). It’s a strange, challenging yet incredibly rewarding career.

It goes without saying that when you work in this world, every minute matters–especially when you’re juggling multiple clients’ social media accounts. With social media ad spending forecasted to increase by 20% each year through 2020, there are no signs of things slowing down when it comes to the sheer volume of work associated with managing social on behalf of your agency’s clients.

Job security is a good thing, for sure, but you also need to have a method to the madness if you want to continue to thrive.

Below are five tactics you can use–no matter your level of agency experience–to be highly effective as an agency professional with multiple clients on your social roster:

1. Designate Your Doppelganger

Social is always on, even when you can’t be. It can seem easier to do everything yourself all the time, but you need someone to steer the ship when you’re not available. New business pitches, last minute client lunches and vacation with *gasp* limited access to email…they all happen.

Find a person on your team that you trust and who can confidently jump in and manage your clients’ social accounts until you’re available again. All you need to do is download them periodically about the current state of affairs (campaigns, content calendar, etc.) and make sure they have access to the proper social profiles, brand guidelines and any other necessary resources to do your job effectively.

Speaking of social profile access, we highly recommend giving your doppelgänger specific user permissions within the Sprout platform to ensure they can get the job done when needed. Go the extra mile and show them the content that you have planned and scheduled in the shared calendar view.

2. Banish Email Approvals

Admit it: Email is one of the least effective methods for getting both internal and client approvals on new social content. Maybe it would work in the bizarro world of Inbox Zero, but this is Earth. The emails never stop and your time-sensitive message asking for feedback on the latest round of tomorrow’s copy just got buried 50 emails deep in your client’s inbox.

Skip the frustration and follow-up emails by adding key stakeholders to the message approval workflow in Sprout’s Publishing suite. Seems almost too easy, right? Collaboration on content approvals really doesn’t get more effective than this.

As for making sure the approvals happen on time? We recommend putting a recurring “meeting” on the approver’s calendar for the beginning of the day as a reminder.

3. Be More Mobile Optimized

Whether you’re a digital native or an analog expat, make sure you can handle any and every request your team may have when you’re not in front of your work computer.

This means having the following:

  • Every major social app including the companion apps like Facebook Ads and Boomerang
  • Access to a fully editable content calendar
  • Work email with calendar integration
  • Various photo, video and GIF editing apps
  • Asset management apps like Box or Dropbox
  • A password management app like Lastpass

Right now you may be thinking, “Yeah, every social media person already does this.” You’re right. But, does every social person know that Sprout’s mobile app can reduce home screen clutter and unify social workflow by handling the functionality of a more than a few of these apps? Give it a shot if you haven’t already.

4. Outsource Reporting, Internally

As if reporting on multiple clients’ social accounts wasn’t enough, there’s also cross-departmental and ad-hoc reporting requests to manage. You’re better off outsourcing any non-core reporting, internally. Or, in layperson terms, let other departments pull their own reports. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

The two best ways to do this are:

  • Set up a Google Sheet dashboard that displays all your key metrics. Plug the raw social data into another tab on that sheet so that it updates the dashboard charts, tables and graphs automatically. There are a ton of YouTube tutorials that show how to do this if you’re not an Excel wizard, but depending on your client volume, the time investment up front on your end will still be somewhat large. Plus, you’ll have to manually add the raw data fairly often. After you’re set up, simply share the “read only” link with anyone that needs it. Over the long run, it’s a worthy investment.
  • The easier way to go is to grant reporting access to key department staff for Sprout’s Reporting suite, which includes a custom report builder and a host of ready-to-go reports on engagement, social referral traffic, competitive benchmarking and more. They can go in and get what they need, when they need it, all without even taking up one precious minute of your time.

5. Scale The Team Creatively

In order to be effective when taking on new clients, you have to scale your team. The smartest of agency folk know that working smarter doesn’t work at all if there aren’t team members available with free bandwidth.

A new full-time person is ideal but not always feasible, especially on project-based work or seasonal campaigns. Consider hiring a part-time person, contracting a freelancer from your local staffing agency, or tapping your best intern past or present to fill the role. Sprout makes scaling easy by offering extra seat add ons, on a month-to-month basis, at any time.

One more thing: If you’re considering just buckling down instead of scaling your team, there’s reason to rethink your position. Academic researchers at Harvard and Stanford are finding that “long hours, impossible demands from bosses and uncertain job security can take their toll on our mental and physical well-being…” to the tune of more than $125 billion in additional healthcare costs per year. Don’t get caught in this trap. Employee burnout is nothing to sneeze at.

There you have it: our five top tactics for being a highly effective social media marketer in the agency world. Have some of your own? We’d love to see them. Share with us on Twitter at @SproutSocial.

If you want more content like this be sure to check out Social Media Collaboration: Tips, Tools & Tactics to Work Smarter.