If you’re in the market for a social media marketing agency, you’ll find yourself surrounded by many different options. How do you choose the best fit? Consider these 10 tips before committing to any one agency. Your business may depend on it!
10 Tips for Choosing the Right Social Media Marketing Agency
1) Understand your needs
Whether you’re starting a new company or looking to hire a social media marketing agency, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your needs. For example, if you know that your business can’t afford an in-house team of professionals and you’re aiming to grow quickly, consider going with an external agency.
If, on the other hand, your goal is to focus on long-term growth and establishing a reputable brand, take some time to investigate different in-house options. In either case, don’t get taken advantage of by agencies trying to sell you what you don’t need; use these tips as guidelines for deciding which option is best for your business.
2) Define your goals
Before you start contacting agencies, know exactly what you’re looking for in a company. What size of company do you want to work with? Once you’ve defined your goals, create a list of questions to ask prospective companies during your interviews. These will help get conversations started and determine whether an agency is right for your business.
They might include: How long have you been working with social media marketing? Do you offer strategic consultation? Who are some of your past clients? Can I see some examples of campaigns that you’ve done in the past?
What type of payment options are available? Do you charge by campaign or by hour? Will my project be done on a retainer basis or billed per project/hourly rates once it begins?
Does this agency specialize in particular industries or has experience working with small businesses like mine? What training programs are offered by this company and how often are they held ? Does this company provide additional resources, such as webinars or articles related to their specialty areas?
3) Check their references
The best way to figure out if a potential agency is right for you is to talk to others who have worked with them. It’s important to do some research, so ask around and see what other people are saying about that particular agency.
Be sure to ask specific questions about their social media presence, such as how many followers they have on Twitter and Facebook, how many shares their content receives on social media platforms and whether or not those numbers are growing month over month.
A good agency should be able to provide references and recent work samples that you can check out online (and contact if possible). In addition, make sure they’ve got solid industry experience.
4) Search them on Google
When you’re searching social media marketing agencies, check out what they’ve already done. If they don’t have any completed projects, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t know what they are doing; it just means that those companies weren’t ready to invest in a marketing campaign when your business was.
To really get a good idea of what an agency is capable of and how well their team works together, look through their portfolio and make sure it contains work relevant to your business goals.
Your next step is figuring out if you have a relationship with any of these agencies or if you think one of them would be willing to collaborate with you on future projects. If so, that’s great; you’ve got some options.
5) Find a reputable agency
Make sure you choose a reputable company, not just anyone who has a website and offers social media services. Take time to look at each company’s LinkedIn profile and see how long they’ve been in business. If their social presence is lacking or nonexistent, that should raise some red flags about their credibility.
Then check out recent news stories to learn if any of them have had any public issues like lawsuits or government investigations. You can even call up an agency’s clients and ask questions such as: How did your experience working with us compare to other agencies?; Are you happy with our work?; What would you do differently next time?. Find an agency that goes above and beyond expectations so you know they’re one worth keeping around!
6) Be clear about what you want to get out of it
First, it’s important to know what you want out of your social media marketing agency. This will likely determine how much you can spend on a campaign, who you choose to work with and whether or not you want to take more of an active role in your social media management.
If budget is a concern, it might be better to hire someone less expensive than not engage an agency at all. Ask around – look at what brands in your industry are doing and take advantage of free tools like Klout that rank influencers based on their perceived influence online.
You should also reach out to these individuals directly, as they’re likely already familiar with hiring an agency for their own campaigns and can give you direct feedback about their experiences.
7) Use Of WordPress Is Not Good
Many marketing agencies start by working with WordPress because it’s easier to get going. However, WordPress needs regular maintenance and care and in many cases, adding complicated features is difficult or impossible.
The good news is that you can find a great agency that doesn’t limit itself to one platform—and if they do specialize in WordPress, they likely know how to make your website truly shine and manage updates well. Finding a marketing agency that has experience across multiple platforms and digital media will give you more options as your business grows.
8) Avoid certain buzzwords
While it’s important to be on top of what your industry is talking about, avoid buzzwords and marketing speak. These words aren’t going to impress anyone; they may actually have a negative effect by giving readers an idea that you’re trying too hard.
Use terminology that is relevant to your field and easy to understand. Your audience wants clarity and insight, not a sales pitch (at least not first). Always keep in mind that social media can be used as a great vehicle for education, so take advantage of it!
9) Ask questions before signing anything
The deal you get on paper isn’t necessarily what you’ll end up with. Be sure to ask questions about how services will be delivered, how updates will be handled, and what happens if issues arise. And get everything in writing.
A verbal contract is unenforceable, so if something goes wrong, you won’t have any recourse against your agency or consultant—even if they were negligent. Be wary of promises of quick success or guaranteed results.
10) Do your research!
Before you choose an agency, do some research and make sure they’re a good fit. Look at their portfolio, reviews from clients and what other agencies have to say about them. Make sure their strengths match your needs.
Because social media is constantly changing, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Ask questions about how your company will be represented on these platforms and learn about all of your options.
And don’t forget that agencies aren’t just for new businesses! Even established companies can use an agency to help with short-term or specialized projects like raising brand awareness on a specific platform or getting ready for a new product launch.