Social media has become one of the most prominent channels for marketing. A recent study shows nearly 90 percent of businesses are using social media as a new marketing tool to reach consumers. It’s also reported that Americans spend more than 3 hours a day using social networking sites, which is more time than we spend watching television. So, you want to catch the wave of a new marketing era to help grow your business exponentially, but you’re not sure how it all is supposed to work or how to go about hiring the best marketing agency. Well, good thing you’ve found us, regardless of whom you hire, Bryant Consultants wants to make sure you ask these 10 most important questions before hiring a social media marketing agency. (Shameless Plug Warning! We are confident you will be happy with our answers to these questions.)
When hiring a Social Media Marketing Agency, how do you know what to look for, how best to spend your money, whether or not the agency is going to deliver what is promised, or which services you should choose that align with the vision of your company? The answers to these 10 questions will help.
1. What makes you different from the competitors?
If you were to use Google to search for social media agencies you’d come across thousands of agencies promising to bring you more customers and in turn, producing a return of investment (ROI), but not every social media agency is right for every business. First and foremost, search for an agency that acts in the best interest of your business and takes care in the success of your business, and one that has proven to be successful in the past. The agency that’s right for you should have a positive track record, a portfolio of case studies, and a well facilitated and designed process.
2. Does my business need to be on every social media website?
This question helps determine if the agency is being honest or not and distinguishes their level of expertise. If the answer is “yes”, this could be a red flag that the agency is not going to act in the best interest of your company. You may have thought that have your brand present on every possible form of social media is the best way to go. After all, one component to marketing is reaching out to people. However, not all social media platforms are the same and every company’s brand isn’t either. A better approach is to choose social media platforms that reach the target audience for a company. For instance, majority of Facebook users are female, nearly 80 percent of Pinterest users are also female who tend to have more education and a higher income. The right agency for you will seek to determine your target audience and ensure the best use of your money by only using platforms that will be more likely to help your business succeed at its marketing strategies. Though, for some businesses, it may be ideal to be present on multiple social media websites. The important aspect is that the agency seeks to understand your target market.
3. What process do you use to develop content?
One of the most important questions to ask a social media agency is how do they conduct research and create content. A reputable agency will have a defined strategy that has proven to work for other clients. Their defined strategy should always include consideration of the target audience. Brands should not be impressed by agencies claiming to go with their gut feeling for the content. A major focal point to social media content strategy is to post quality pictures and videos. Nearly 44 percent of Facebook users claim that quality photographs are more enticing to click on rather than boring images or too much text.
4. How will the agency report its data to you
Having an effective process for reporting information to you regarding both positive and negatives of your businesses social media networking is important. You should expect to receive feedback regularly after your brand has had adequate time to reach consumers through social media channels. The initial breakthrough of communication between your brand and consumers may take a little time at first, but after that, you should expect regular feedback.
5. How will you measure the success of our brand?
Probably the first question on your mind, before hiring any agency, is what your ROI is going to be. While that’s a fairly unpredictable question to answer, a solid agency should be able to effectively explain how you’re going to achieve ROI by using their methods of social media marketing. Before signing on with any agency, ensure you have communicated your vision, mixing it with their expertise, for the overall process and what metrics you would like to use for measuring the branding success. An effective agency should be able to help you set a clearly defined metrics in which they can keep you updated regularly. Being able to manage your brand’s success in the social media marketing world will help your agency be able to better serve you as a customer and may even have you rethinking your branding strategy or target market. A lot of good information can be derived from the metrics used to measure the success of your brand. Take the bad with the good and it will help you move towards greater success for your brand.
6. Do you use data analysis?
Social media marketing isn’t all about strategy though; the technological piece to this type of marketing incorporates data analysis. Being able to read and interpret data is extremely important when hiring a social media marketing agency. When it comes to the Internet, using data analysis could be what puts your brand ahead of the competitors. A good agency will not only conduct data analysis but know how to effectively use it for the benefit of your brand.
7. How much will your marketing strategy cost me?
Of course, you will want to explore how much this type of marketing will cost you, but be sure you are asking specifics about what services are included in the total cost. Are there regular posts or blogs to your social media websites, how many websites are being maintained, what monitoring processes, and metrics are involved in determining the outcome of the marketing strategy? These are just some of the factors considered in the cost. The overall cost to hire an agency for social media marketing will depend on various factors, including what services you agree to.
8. What’s your track record?
Experience really does make a difference when it comes to social media marketing. Just because someone is savvy with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or the Internet, doesn’t make them successful at marketing. What is important is to look for an agency that understands and can demonstrate their knowledge of consumer data and marketing strategies that have worked for them in the past with other clients. Another important aspect is to ensure the agency produces written content applicable to your target audience. An agency with defined strategies, mixed with business elements and technology, can provide you with an effective social media marketing plan.
9. Can I talk to your former clients?
You wouldn’t think to hire an employee without first checking their references would you? The same principle applies when hiring a social media agency. This company will be working for you, essentially, so don’t be shy about asking to check their references either. The agency you are looking at may, in fact, have a nice portfolio showcasing their previous successes, but what better way to confirm this information than to speak directly with their current and/or previous clients? Being able to speak directly with clients will help assure yourself that you are making the right decision, either way you go. An honest agency wouldn’t shy away from this type of request, but instead, should be more than happy to put you in touch with some of their current and/or past clients.
10. What’s the culture of their marketing team?
You may wonder what the culture of someone else’s business has to do with you and your company. Well, a lot actually. You and your employees have worked hard to build a culture within your business. And no, the culture of the marketing agency does not need to be exactly like yours, but it should mesh well with the culture of your business. You want to be sure you are hiring an agency that sees eye to eye with you and your vision, which includes the culture of your business. Finding an agency you work well with is important, because marketing is going to involve a lot of communication between you and the agency, at least it should.