Social media marketing can be a one-person job for a one-person business. However, small and large businesses alike can benefit from assistance when it comes to online marketing using social media.
The help you’ll want will need to come from a reputable social media marketing agency. When looking into social media marketing agencies, not all of them are created equally.
Why Do You Need a Social Media Marketing Agency?
There are plenty of reasons to hire someone else to deal with your social media. Maybe you don’t have time to do it on your own, or maybe your social media accounts aren’t getting the attention you’d hoped for. Hiring an outside company can help you grow your sites without taking precious time out of your work day.
Even small business owners are busy with other projects. It can be easy to let your social media responsibilities fall behind. Without active social media, your business could lose customers, and you’ll be missing out on a tool that helps build your brand.
Social Media Marketing Companies – the Good, Bad, and Ugly
Not all social media marketing companies are the same.
There are some that do things right, some that do things wrong, and some that don’t even know what they’re doing.
In order to find the right company to help with your social media marketing plan, you will want to look at what they do and how they do it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – of them and of people that have worked with them.
Bad company “genetics” include:
- Being hard to get in touch with after you higher them
- Buying followers and likes
- Not following up on a regular basis with reports on metrics and analytics
- Lack references, good (or any reviews), and don’t have a portfolio (or their portfolio lacks information)
Good company “genetics” include:
- Quick to respond to your messages, whether you’re connecting online or off (during business hours, of course)
- Works to get genuine followers and likes by engaging followers in creative ways
- Following up on a regular basis – the agencies should let you know what specific times they will send you reports each month
- The company has great references, and their portfolio shows their success stories
What to Ask Before Choosing a Social Media Marketing Company
Never pick the first social media management company you speak to. Shop around for the company that is right for you and ask questions of each company you speak with.
You want to make sure that the company you go with has exactly what you’re looking at, and that they are building your brand and reputation using tactics that are above board and won’t get your company blacklisted.
Not sure what to ask? Think of it as a job interview, since you’re hiring them to do a very important job for you. Here are some question ideas to inspire you:
1. What Makes Your Company Stand Out?
Just like a potential employer would ask you why you’re right for the job, you want to know why this social media marketing company is right to market your business.
You want to know what makes them stand out from the competition. You want to know what their track record is with successful social media campaigns.
2. What Is Your Basic Structure for Social Media Content Development?
Quality content is an integral part of social media strategies. You want to make sure that the company you hire understands this. You want a company that has strategies that work for many different types of businesses – Since no two businesses are going to work exactly the same on social media.
Ask about what type of content they use. Ask how often they post content, how they reach people with that content, and how they determine what content is right for your business. Not all businesses can get away with online humor.
3. Which Social Media Sites Should My Business Use?
When it comes to social media and brand management, too much can be bad. If you ask a company how many social media sites your company should be on and their reply is, “All of them,” hire someone else.
If you understand your audience, and you know that each social media site attracts different people, then you know that your company doesn’t need to be on all of them. Either the company saying you need them all is trying to make some extra money off of you, or they don’t know what they’re doing.
You definitely want to discuss demographics with potential marketing agencies. You want to be sure that they know your target audience and are doing their best to reach those people.
4. How and How Often Will You Share Reports?
When it comes to social media marketing, success comes only from paying attention to what is working and what isn’t. It’s important to know what marketing tactics are working and which ones need some work.
You want a company that is easy to communicate with, that you can get a hold of, and that you can trust to keep you filled in on how things are going on the back end.
Online marketing can take some time to get results, so you also want to practice patience.
5. What Is Your Measurement of Success?
You want to hire a marketing company whose measurement of success aligns with yours. Look for a company that has specific standards when it comes to the following things:
- Metric and Analytics
- Customer Engagement
- Organic and Paid Reach
- Click-Through Rates
You want a company that knows that change and adjustment are important, and sometimes required. By watching the flow of the work they do with your social media, they should be able to ensure your company meets the minimum standards.
6. Can You Give Me Some References?
Always ask for references – don’t rely only on the “testimonials” you find on portfolios.
Contact those references for feedback on the marketing agencies you’re considering working with. You wouldn’t hire an employee before checking their references, would you?
Things to Look for in a Good Social Media Agency
You’ll have plenty of questions to ask, aside from the ones listed above. You’ll want to do more than just ask. You need to look at what the social media marketing agencies you’re vetting are already doing.
1. Check out Their Portfolio
You shouldn’t hire a social media agency that doesn’t have a portfolio. Their portfolio is where you’ll get to see their success stories and what past clients thought of them. You can also check their own social media pages for reviews, but that’s not a replacement for a website with portfolio info.
While you’re looking at the portfolio, and even when you’re checking out client’s social media pages, you want to look at the skills the agency puts forth.
- Look at Text Posts – Is the writing easy to read? Does their writer get the point across? Would you share that post if it pertained to your business?
- Look at Photos – Do the photos look professional, or does it look like someone takes them all with their smartphone in the dark? Even if the agency uses stock photos, you want to see that they make good choices in quality.
- Audio and Video – Audio (like podcasts) and video are important to engaging and interesting people through social media marketing. Look for sound and image quality.
2. Look at Past and Current Clients
Not only do you want to look at the social media accounts of the marketing agencies current clients, but you also want to look at reputation management. What do you know about these business and what is their reputation according to what you know and the reviews you’ve read?
Go to the client social media sites and see what work has been done. Look at the following:
Post frequency: How often are there new posts? Are they oversaturating followers feeds (which can lead to “unfollows”) or are they barely ever posting anything new?
Types of posts: What types of posts are there? People are far more attracted to visuals, so you want to look for an agency that knows this and is using photos, memes, videos, and infographics regularly on social media.
Client engagement: Look at how many comments, shares, and likes their client’s posts get. You want to know that they post stuff people pay attention to.
You’ll be able to tell, through these things, whether they’re reaching the right audiences for their clients.
3. Research Their Client’s Likes and Follows
You want a company that gets your company genuine likes and followers. You don’t want a company that is buying them for you. Buying followers and likes is a risky business, and it can make your business look less than legit.
How can you tell if likes and follows have been purchased?
If there’s a big difference between the number of followers and the amount of likes posts are getting, there’s a good chance some of those have been purchased.
You can also compare how many comments posts are getting compared to how many followers the page has – the more followers you have, the more comments you should have.
What to Expect When You Start Hunting for Social Media Marketing Agencies
You’re going to be talking to a few agencies – you should take notes on what you find out from each one of them. Take time to look over the notes you’ve taken on each company before you make a choice.
Be prepared to ask questions.
Be prepared to not always like the answers you get. You should also always trust your instinct, and if something seems fishy about an agency you speak with, look at someone new – not all marketing agencies for social media are good and doing reputable work.
Look for marketing companies that have a good reputation. Ask friends for recommendations – if you post on your personal social media about your search for a social media marketing agency, people are sure to let you know some of the companies that you should or shouldn’t work with.
When to Start Looking at Social Media Marketing Agencies
There’s no better time than now to start hunting for social media marketing agencies that can help boost your business.
Whether you have an established business that is looking for a boost in social media following or a new business that isn’t sure how to even get started in social media – hiring a professional is a wise idea.