Social Media Marketing
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What you should look for in a digital marketing business partner:
Many agencies will speak about their services and the same generic process they use for every business. Your Social Media Agency should hire a social media company that makes a genuine effort to learn your business objectives and builds a custom strategy tailored to your business. You can tell if an agency is serious about helping your business grow by their effort to learn your growth objectives.
If they offer you a service without knowing anything about your business, red flag them immediately. Listen closely to how they answer your questions and how they plan to learn your business model. The agency that asks you a series of questions through assessments, surveys, and questionnaires one you should consider.
Review several case studies of the companies you are considering to hire. Ask for links to the social media campaigns they are managing right now for their clients. If they are unable to provide you with this, red flag.
If they are able to, pay close attention to the results. Do they mean anything? Which company has case studies with results that align the closest to your business goals? The company that has evidence of similar success to what you’re hoping for is the company you should hire.
The company you hire to manage your digital marketing should be able to define their efforts. On a monthly basis, you should be able to evaluate their progress based on different metrics. You should be able to see:
How many people did your campaign reach?
How many new fans and followers did you gain?
How much did social media engagement (likes, comments, etc.) increase?
How much did website traffic increase as a result from social media?
How many new leads did you generate from social media?
You know what metrics matter most to your business. When you hire a social media company, they should have a clearly defined plan that will hit the metrics you are looking for.
It is important to work with a company that will design a strategy for you and execute. Social media marketing can work for any business, if executed properly. The question is how. You should hire a company that will:
Design the strategy specific to your business
Execute the strategy to achieve your objectives
Modify the strategy continuously until it works
Ask the companies you are hiring – “What will happen if this doesn’t work as planned?” Will they go back to the drawing board or change the strategy based upon what the analytic dictate? Your social media marketing Philadelphia partner should identify when something is not working and find a solution.
Communication is key when hiring the right social media marketing partner. Your team should understand what is going on at all times. The company you hire should prioritize consistent communication and explain what this means. Before you commit to a company, find out how often they plan to communicate with you to discuss progress and goals and achievements and in what format.
A monthly report via email is not a good communication plan. Your selected social media marketing partner should make an effort to establish bimonthly or monthly or even weekly conference calls about your campaign.
When you first reached out to the companies you are considering, how easy was it to get in contact with them? Did it take hours, days, or weeks for them to return your call or email? If it is challenging to get in contact with a company, you can expect similar or even worse behavior in the future.
You need a company that will answer the phone when you call, email you back in a timely manner, and follow-up with information that you request. Don’t ask, but observe for yourself and see how accessible the people are at the companies you are considering to hire.
Find out how the companies you are considering operate both domestically and internationally. Do their employees work at their office or do they outsource their work overseas? It is important for you to know who is behind your brand and how they are being monitored.
If a social media marketing agency outsources their work to a third party provider, be cautious in considering them. In situations like this, the agency is nothing more than a “Project Manager”, in which the message you articulate to them may not be the same message the third party receives. This results in lower quality results. It is in your best interest to hire a company that does all their domestically.
Are their employees managing more than four accounts on a daily basis? Some agencies treat their staff worse than fast-food employees. Many agencies make grandiose promises to clients and as a result overwork their employees. An employee that is overburdened will not produce quality work affecting the results of your business.
In a survey of 30 social media companies we found that on average, they assign about 20 plus clients to one employee. It is virtually impossible for one person to manage 20 clients in an 8-hour day. On average, our employees manage 4 social media campaigns, allowing them to focus heavily on generating results for our clients. When in doubt check Glassdoor.com to see how much employees like working there.
It is always easy to select the social media agency with the cheapest price, especially when you are a small business owner on a tight budget. Low prices typically indicate the issues we referenced before: agency off-shoring and/or unhealthy employee work balance. If there is an agency that charges a ridiculously low price for their labor (Like $300 per month), try to learn more about their process and see if it makes sense.
I’m sure you have heard over and over, “you get what you pay for”. The cheapest options will more than likely have no success stories and their strategic direction is the same they offer all of their other clients.
Does the social media marketing company you want to hire practice what they preach? If the services they are offering you really work, they would be doing it for themselves as well. If you are considering them for social media, take a look at their digital presence (FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram). Examine the content they post on their own blog – is it over 300 words?. See if people are engaging with them – liking their posts, commenting, and sharing.
If their own social media accounts are inactive with low levels of engagement, chances are that they aren’t going to do any better for your company.
Ask the agency you are considering for references and look at what their on-line reviews have to say. If they produce great work and appear to have a good reputation – then reach out to references to make sure they are right for you.
Ask references the following questions:
Did they set out a strategy and do what they said they were going to do?
What type of results did you receive (Increased numbers and engagements)?
Do they offer weekly reports and do you check them?
Would you recommend them to other businesses?
Hiring a social media agency partner is a very big deal. Have you done your research first? Read through reviews Google+, Yelp, and Facebook reviews and see how people really feel about them. If you find something unsavory, ask the agency about it and see how they respond.
You can get a good understanding about their perspective on social media marketing by engaging with their content. Every agency has different processes, methods, and strategies to help businesses grow. You should select a company whose perspectives most closely align to your business objectives..
This is becoming more and more frequent and is very sad to see in our industry. Make sure you own all of the collateral the agency creates for you. Whether it is the day-to-day messages on your social media accounts or a bi-weekly blog – this information should ultimately belong to your brand – not the social media company. Many Social media companies will claim they write a blog for you but in reality they are repurposing the same content for hundreds of accounts. (see #15 why this is important) Typically the contract you sign should outline who owns the social media accounts, the written content, images and all intellectual property. If they don’t clearly outline that you own your collateral – run! We have seen companies lose their entire client list because they didn’t read their contract.
Venerate Media Group was approached by a smaller agency about merging a few years back. They focused only on dental practices as clients but took on anyone and everyone they could. When we did our due diligence we discovered that every single dentist they covered had the exact same: Website, twitter feeds, FaceBook posts and blog posts. Most of the followers they had for their clients were fake so you could imagine there were zero engagements. Worst of all the same blog was uploaded to every customer they had. If you know anything about SEO and ranking on Google you know that only original content is indexed by Google. If you plagiarize or copy an article it does nothing to improve your SEO and rank – end of story. If your digital agency isn’t creating original content for you, it’s time to find a new business partner.