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Ninety-two percent of marketers say that social media is important to their business. Here's what to look for when choosing a social media marketing agency.
In an attempt to improve results and cut internal costs, many businesses are outsourcing their social media management to specialist agencies.
If you’re thinking of doing the same, here’s what you need to look for in a potential partner agency.
First and foremost, conduct your own research (and your due diligence) on the agency you’re considering. Do they have a Facebook business page? How about a Twitter page? Further, is their Twitter page regularly updated?
Any agency worth their salt will be an active participant on their own platforms, using the same techniques that they use for clients on their internal channels.
Recommendations and references
Word-of-mouth marketing is arguably one of the most effective marketing tools out there, especially in the age of online reviews. The SEO mogul, Bright Local, estimates that 88 percent of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. Further, a Neilson-conducted survey concluded that 68 percent of participants trust online consumer reviews.
You see the point here. If customers are raving about how good an agency is, they’re certainly worth a closer look. So whether it’s case studies, reviews, testimonials or just mentions on social media, take a long hard look at what other people are saying.
Like recommendations, an agency’s previous work is also a noteworthy consideration. By studying up on previous campaigns, you can scope how suitable an agency will be for you.
- Do they cover all bases, or are they a specialist company focusing on a select few?
- What sort of campaigns are they running?
- Do they cover things like pay per click advertising?
- Do their campaigns successfully track and convert leads?
Not only is it important to acknowledge the sort of companies a social media marketing agency works with, it’s important to understand the impact they’ve had too.
Look for the long-term gain
‘I want it now’. You’ve all heard that before, right?
We all want to see results, but good results take time. When you’re looking for a social media marketing agency, don’t let your desire for instant gratification take hold.
Don't fall victim to people who promise quick results and try to deliver them with black-hat, counter-productive techniques like buying followers on Facebook.
Achieving social media success is a long and arduous road, one that requires lots of research, ideating and campaigning, not to mention all the in-between. You should be looking for a social media marketing agency that’s willing to invest in your long-term vision, working with you over a sustained period.
You should also check to see the kinds of results they have achieved for other clients.
I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t gone crazy. SCDAM is a five-part social media framework, coined by the social media marketeer (like musketeer) Christopher Spenn.
It outlines the five key areas you should be investigating when deciding upon a social media marketing agency. They are:
Although this isn’t an accredited framework, it is worth noting.
Spenn’s framework highlights some interesting areas that might otherwise be overlooked in your search for an agency. For example, the activation section requires you to look at what social marketing companies are doing to drive engagement with content. Are they using paid adverts, or activating social media influencers to help sell a product?
This ‘social activation’ is key to driving growth, and quality-assured social media marketing agencies will be adopting these techniques to further your cause.
The proof is in the pudding
In the UK alone, there are more than 25,000 different marketing agencies competing for business. This means you have all the freedom in the world to pick and choose an agency that works for you.
But this also means that social media marketing agencies need to have outstanding sales tactics - tactics that could lure you into a false sense of success.
Before you settle for an agency, make sure you’ve done your research, crunched the numbers and most importantly, investigated their track record. The proof is in the pudding.
Looking for more on social media? Check these articles out:
- The 30-day social media challenge for small businesses
- How Articulate doubled its social media followers
- Why you should be using social media marketing
- Social media automation: good, bad or somewhere in between?
- Social media success in 6 hours a week