At last count, 27% of total US Internet time is spent on a social media site (Experian).
The trend is increasing as people log more time on social media sites throughout the world.
When you have that many people congregating in similar places businesses follow. These companies are looking for ways to market to the segments of people on the various social networks.
At GBW, we’ve been having some recent success with generating leads from a couple social media sites.
If you’re a small business like us you know it’s tough to keep up with all the work it can take to market with social media. That’s why there are social media agencies out there to help businesses.
But there are some things social media agencies won’t always tell you.
Here is what to look for from social media agencies as you look to outsource this aspect of your online marketing efforts.
1. The Success Of Their Own Social Campaigns
Being in the blogging industry I’m always interested in how agencies manage their own blogs and social campaigns. I have to hesitate when I see an agency that doesn’t keep their blog up-to-date or one that doesn’t even use social media themselves.
If you’re working with a contractor to build a new house you would probably feel better if they had a nice house of their own.
It’s not always a requirement, but it’s good to to know that the agency practices what they preach.
2. The Success Of Their Clients
When you hire a contractor to work on a job at your house it’s always good to ask for references. By speaking with previous clients you can get the story behind the scenes.
Doing the same with your social media agency is good to do as well. The good ones have case studies showing results and success. It’s a quick thing to check to make sure they put in the time to create case studies because a case study is a great piece of content for social and search success.
3. The Process
I think it’s always good to know how a company is doing work for you. It’s not always necessary, but for something like social media it’s good to know exactly what’s included in the process.
Social media is a representation of your company. You’ll want to know what the process is. It’s alright if the process is the same or similar for you and for their other clients. That’s what you’re paying for after all.
Ask for the details on the process and learn how the company will be working for you.
4. How They Measure Success
This is a big one and we deal with it at GBW. We always want to make sure we’re getting back to profit for clients. At the end of the day that’s really all that matters. There are different ways to get there – traffic, leads and sales – but we always want to get back to profit.
Engagement is fine. Comments are fine. Shares are fine. Just make sure they lead to sales.
The common example in social media is getting engagement by posting things that have nothing to do with your company and products. It might work, but you don’t really know until it leads to profit.
5. Recommended Strategy
Sometimes agencies have out-of-the-box solutions that work for each client. Other times they’ll cater the service to each client. Both work well, but what you’re looking for as a client is a recommended strategy.
Some business owners like to have the strategy planned out. They just want the work completed. If you do this it’s alright, but make sure you take advantage of the agency’s experience. Ask for a recommended strategy so you can create the best strategy possible.
6. Core Values
This is true for any company. You want to know the core values of the company – what drives them, why they’re in business, etc. I find the best business partnerships and relationships work when core values are in line. Find an agency that fits your core value system and things should work out well.
7. Main Focus
The main focus is what the agency does best. There are a lot of agencies out there that do a lot of things. You want to know what the core offering and expertise is for the company you choose.
At GBW, we get asked often for other services like guest blogging, website content, etc. We try to stay away from this as much as possible so we can focus on what we’re best at – blogging.
8. How They Handle Negative Responses
Social media is a place where you will get negative responses. It could be about your products and services. It could be about something you published on your own site or on a social site. It will happen.
And that’s okay.
You’re not going to please everybody. You simply have to use your core values as a guide for what you should do in business including for social media.
The way you handle this feedback is important, however. You don’t want to get in fights or arguments. Most bad things happen when brands start arguments and fight back.
We all only have so much energy in life. Focus on moving forward and doing good as guided by your core principles and things will work out in the long run.
9. Content First Strategy
At GBW, we’re big believers in a content first strategy. This means creating content for your own online properties before doing anything else online.
Each piece of content you create – blog post, guide, update, etc. – becomes an asset. Start by creating that asset for yourself instead of creating it for a social media site.
Yes, Facebook and Twitter are great, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up ownership of all your best content. Publish it on your own site and then use some of it as a snapshot on your social sites.
10. Most Important Social Sites…For Your Business
Watch for agencies that tell you the best social sites. They might be talking in general and you’re taking a chance if those sites are the best for you.
Every business is different. Make sure you’re focusing on the sites where your target customer is spending time.
There are some really great social media agencies out there that do tell clients this information. This list is more of a checklist for you as you look for help with your social media program.
We try to make sure we disclose each of these points and more with our clients. And because we work with clients that also have social media agencies we have seen the good and know how it can help businesses.
Hopefully you’ve found a social media agency that covers each of these things. If they are you can feel confident knowing their a good company to partner with for your social media efforts.