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Start a social media agency in Dubai – Step by step

start a social media agency in Dubai

There has never been a better time to launch a social media agency in the United Arab Emirates. New research shows that across the Middle East region, $7.5 billion USD will be spent on digital advertising in 2021 – of which almost a third is allocated to social media. Setting up a social media agency that can tap into this market represents an enormous opportunity.

If you have a good understanding of social media marketing and the various advertising platforms and technologies available, starting a social media company in Dubai could be a good move. Here’s everything you need to know about starting a social media agency in Dubai.

Benefits of starting a social media agency in Dubai

There are numerous benefits to launching a social media marketing agency in Dubai. These include:

  • The economy: Dubai has one of the worlds most advanced economies, with thousands of companies operating in its business-friendly environment. And most of those firms will need help with their marketing efforts. With this huge market at your doorstep, it should be relatively easy to find customers and grow your company.
  • Geography: Dubai has a fantastic geographical location, providing easy access to markets right across the Middle East, south and central Asia, Africa and Europe.
  • Competitive tax: Whether you set up on the mainland or in one of the UAE’s 0% tax free zones, the country has some seriously competitive perks for businesses. Setting up your social media marketing agency in Dubai means you will pay low or no tax – and that means you can invest more of your profits back into the business.
  • A skilled workforce: Dubai has a highly skilled workforce, and you’ll be able to tap into this large labour market when launching your business. There are also several highly respected business schools in the emirate, providing a pipeline of ambitious staff to join your agency.
  • The business ecosystem: Dubai also offers a fantastic ecosystem of potential suppliers and business partners – meaning you’ll be able to easily find graphic designers, copywriters, photographers, and many other companies and freelancers to support your operations.
  • Great infrastructure: The emirate also offers excellent technology infrastructure, including high quality internet connections – which are of course vital when you are running any kind of digital agency.

10 tips for launching a social media agency in Dubai

Starting a social media agency in Dubai is relatively straightforward – as long as you have an understanding of some of the administrative steps involved. At Dtec, we’ve helped countless companies like yours to start-up in Dubai. Here are 10 key steps to get your agency up and running:

1. Select your business activity

To start any kind of business in Dubai, you first need to select your business activity. The emirate permits companies to perform thousands of different business activities, and you’ll need to select all the services you expect to offer.

2. Choose a company name

The next step is to choose a name for your company. There are several important rules when deciding on company names in Dubai, including:

  • Avoiding any offensive or blasphemous terms
  • You cannot use abbreviations if you’re naming the company after yourself (e.g. Ashwin Kumar Agency rather than AK Agency)
  • You should also avoid using any names that are similar to well known organisations
  • You must check that the name hasn’t already been taken by someone else

3. Mainland or free zone

When you are setting up a social media marketing agency in Dubai, you can either choose to launch the business on the mainland or in a free zone. Free zones offer many advantages, including 0% income tax, repatriation of funds and 100% foreign ownership. On the other hand, mainland businesses can bid for government contracts and allow you to base yourself anywhere in the emirate.

4. Identify your niche

A successful social media marketing agency needs to have a niche so you can differentiate your business and target specific kinds of customers. Whether you choose to focus on B2B  or B2C, you will need to adapt your business model and operations to the market and client needs.

5. Complete your licence application

The business licence application is an especially important step when setting up a marketing agency in Dubai. You will need to submit the licence application to the relevant authorities, provide a business plan, give details of the company’s directors and financial information, and pay a registration fee. Errors or mistakes here could slow down your approval, so it’s helpful to work with a local partner such as Dtec.

6. Visas

Having the appropriate visas is very important when you are setting up a business in the United Arab Emirates. You will need to apply for visas both for yourself as well as any foreign staff you hire. The process is normally straightforward, but it includes bureaucratic processes you may not be familiar with, so getting support from an experienced local partner can help.

7. Hire the right people

At the beginning of your social media marketing agency’s journey, you might just work by yourself and collaborate with freelancers. However, over time it will be more efficient and cost effective to hire staff. You will need to not only find staff with the right skills, but also ensure they have all the correct paperwork and right to work in the UAE.

8. Technology

Social media marketing agencies rely on a mix of technologies – including social media management software through to hardware for graphic designers. Investing in the right tech is essential for helping the business grow.

9. Get a corporate bank account

Another vital step in starting a social media marketing agency in Dubai is to open a corporate bank account. It can sometimes be challenging for entrepreneurs – especially those born overseas – to open a bank account in Dubai due to strict rules about money laundering. So, it is once again very helpful to work with a local partner who can support you throughout this process.

10. Start winning business!

Now your business is up and running, you can start winning work. By attending one of Dubai’s many trade shows, contacting customers directly and indeed using social media to promote your own company, you can get your company up and running effectually!

Cost of starting a social media agency in Dubai

The cost of starting a social media agency in the United Arab Emirates is normally relatively low. The average business setup cost will be somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 AED – depending on the specific requirements of your business. For a no-obligation, customised quote contact Dtec today.

Documents required to start a social media agency in Dubai

There are several documents you’ll need to provide during the business application process when launching a social media agency in Dubai. These include:

  • Trade licence application form
  • Copy of your visa
  • Copy of the business owner’s passport and address
  • Passport photos
  • Business plan

How Dtec supports your social media marketing agency

Dtec is a leading free zone in Dubai that is home to hundreds of technology start-ups and entrepreneurs working out of flexible coworking and office spaces. Our consultants can support you with every stage of launching your social media marketing agency. Working with Dtec means:

  • You can network with the hundreds of start-ups and entrepreneurs in the largest technology hub in the Middle East!
  • Benefit from high quality office spaces to suit every business’s needs
  • Flexible arrangements for different size companies
  • Top quality broadband and IT infrastructure
  • 24/7 access
  • Support with all stages of setting up a business

Ready to get started? Contact Dtec today!