1. Know and Understand Your Goals
The first step is to understand what you want to achieve out of social media. Your business goals should guide the formation of your social media strategy. It will also determine how you analyse success. Research reveals that businesses with a well-defined social media content strategy have a 30 per cent increase in conversion. In plain language, that means they win about 1/3 more customers than their competitors do.
When you have specific business goals in mind, it also allows you to effectively allocate your resources and budget. So can measure the impact of your Facebook Ads and calculate your Return On Ad Spend (or ROAS).
2. Do they have experience with Similar Clients
When it comes to marketing, one size never fits all. When you choose a social media marketing agency, think about your objectives, the tone of voice you after in your content, and the target audience. All of these factors matter. Inquire the agency has to experience working with a business (or an industry) similar to your brand. If so, what results did they get?
3. Are they just white labelling the natural resource?
We ran a recent poll on LinkedIn. Do clients care if their agency white labels another? The results weren’t black and white, but the one that got the most votes was “not if I know about it”. That’s an excellent position to take. If your agency will use cheaper resources offshore – and that’s managed effectively – for some components of your digital marketing services, then that’s fine. Just so long as you know about it and those ‘cheaper rates’ are passed onto you. But when it comes to content specifically, it’s tough to do that from another market. Content works best when it’s local, personalised and authentic. Analyse how the agency you’re considering operates on a day-to-day basis for different projects. Where will the content be created, and by whom? Do they know and understand your business?
Some agencies have an in-house social media team. At the same time, other agencies outsource absolutely everything to third-party service providers. They act only as of the middleman. In that model, how can they guarantee results?
4. Social Media Marketing should be a Core Pillar in their Range of Agency Services
Another critical aspect to consider is whether or not they are a Social Media Strategy Agency. That is, do they understand social media strategy as an agency. And do they understand social media strategy enough to offer social media strategy as a core pillar in their range of services? Why is this important? Because agencies should be in the advice business. Take a look at whether or not they list “strategy” as a component in their range of services.
5. Gather Real Feedback from their Past Customers
Like any other decision when hiring professional services, a reliable sign that the social media marketing agency is successful and experienced is booming, not having a decent set of customer reviews. Looking at reviews can be misleading, but not if you dig a little deeper. Don’t just look at the number of stars they have on Google and make a decision. You need actually to read the review their past customers have said. And make sure you check out more than one channel for reviews, have a look at several media such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn.
Suppose they only have two 5 star reviews with a very brief comment that says “these guys are great, highly recommended”. In that case, those reviews are probably just from friends and family. Real customers never leave a thought like that. Genuine reviews describe the task that the agency has done successfully in the past.
More importantly, honest reviews come from real people.
Customer success stories on a website with no image of the person’s face are most likely just made up. Go to LinkedIn or Facebook, and search for the person’s name. Is there a marketing manager named John Smith who works for Colgate? Don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper because great reviews are impossible to fake at scale when you do. Experience counts.
Make Your Decision
For any business to succeed in today’s digital-first era, it’s imperative to choose a social media marketing agency that you can trust. An agency that you know will deliver.
Don’t rush it, do your homework, and choose wisely.