It’s the beginning of January 2019, and I honestly believe that this year, more business owners than ever before will be looking to improve the online presence of their businesses. These business owners will look to agencies like Green Umbrella Marketing to provide services to help them achieve their online goals. But in reality, how do you choose a social media agency that is right for your business? Is it as simple as a google search and a phone call? Clue – the answer is a big fat no!
As someone that has been on the receiving end of these calls for several years, there are, in my opinion, a few questions you should be asking yourself and your prospective agency in your initial communications…
1. Where do you think I should be hanging out – and why?
I’m sorry to say it, but not all social media platforms were born equal! I am a whizz on LinkedIn and spend more time on Twitter than I realise, so these are my personal go-to social media platforms. However, that doesn’t mean that they are the right platforms for every client I talk to.
In fact, as much as I can make some initial predictions on what I believe would be the best platforms for your business off the back of a 5-minute conversation – and also tell you why I’m making those assessments. To be able to aid you in making the right decisions on where to focus your efforts, I need to talk to you in far more depth and really understand what you are trying to achieve, how your business works, who you are targeting and what the current customer journey looks like.
2. What’s the onboarding process?
Everyone I speak to wants to start work the second they put down the phone. Your online presence is precious and should be carefully passed into trustworthy hands. The onboarding process should not be an overnight thing. You need to make sure your digital agency has the opportunity to research your business (and sector if your business is niche), and that you have taken the opportunity to educate your agency fully.
3. What’s the strategy?
This follows on nicely from the previous point. From understanding everything I can about your business, we can then, together, develop a strategy. Your agency should, in my opinion, have a process in place already that they can talk you through that produces a strategy. If possible, they should be able to give you a tangible idea of what to expect and how this will be delivered.
I’d also add a point here and say that it should not be solely up to the agency to decide your strategy. You have to be involved to make sure it is right for your business. The strategy more than likely already exists. Your agency should be able to tease it out of you and present it back to you with tweaks that make it relevant in a social world. Again – just my opinion!
4. Who’s producing the content? Where does it come from?
You need to be 100% clear as to who is producing your content and how much you should expect to be produced. Get to know the person behind the content – does their approach fit your brand values? Where are they getting the social media content from? How will they decide what content does or doesn’t reflect your brand?
You need an idea of what your social media profiles will look like once your agency has started work. However, in truth, until your agency actively starts to post for you, it is all very intangible. I can explain what our approach in terms of content curation will be for you, discuss messaging, and brainstorm ideas for your ideal social media content – but in reality, until you have seen it for yourself in context, it is likely going to be a complete unknown.
You need to be confident your social media marketing agency will make the right content decisions for you from day one.
5. What do they need from you to make it work?
If you think for even a second you can hand over the login details, and that’s that – you are wrong.
Without your input, your social media presence will be dull as ditch-water. It will lack personality, and the chances of you seeing any form of ROI will be instantly minimised. Your agency should be able to give you guidance, suggest opportunities and basically coach you through the type of content you should be providing them with in order to ensure an authentic and personal social media presence.
6. How do we know it’s all working – what is the measurement of success?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say every agency worth their salt will have a way of measuring success. I would hope that most will be suggesting looking at measurable conversions based on your agreed strategy, web traffic gained from social media and other stats that exist within Google Analytics.
If an agency tells you how they intend to measure results and then also asks you how you want to measure the results – they’re the good guys.
If an agency talks about growth in terms of Likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter and it ends there… you need to ask for more from them before making your decision to work with them.
7. Are they practising what they preach?
You need to do some research to see the quality of your social media agency’s own presence. A genuine social media management agency should practice what they preach.
So, what should you be looking for?
• What are their numbers like on social media?
• Can you see that their audience is active?
• What is the quality of their own content?
• How often are they posting themselves?
• Is their audience authentic – is it possible it’s fake?
8. What are their online reviews like?
This does, in some ways, go hand in hand with number 7 on this list. If your agency is doing their thing right, you should be able to find online reviews of their work (along with their responses)! The proof is in the pudding, and if people are getting results from a social media management agency – they will have been encouraged to sing from the rooftops!
9. Can you imagine them as part of your team?
This one is simple. You wouldn’t (I hope) employ someone who doesn’t give you the gut feeling that they are a good fit within your business. Your social media agency should feel like they’ve become part of your internal team – so the same rule applies!
10. Are you buying on price?
At the end of the day, you will have a budget that you need to stick to – that’s understandable, but if the right level of care and attention is not taken with your presence it can be damaging for your brand.
If your decision to go with one agency over another comes down to price – you really need to make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting for your money. So if you need to carry out any tasks to elevate your social media presence, you can ensure you protect the resources required to do your bit.
So, there you go. That’s how you choose your social media agency! It’s that simple…
There is more to it of course, but I really do believe that having the answers to the questions above will really help you to make the right decisions for your business.