Unless you have a background in marketing, social media can be a tough egg to crack. Knowing how to find the right balance between by-hand management and automation can be difficult and the right balance differs from one industry to another.
Depending on your goals, your approaches may change.
If you don’t have a lot of experience on social media, engaging with your audience on your own can be daunting.
If you are interested in learning how to handle your own social media campaigns, take a look at our Beginners Guide to Social Media.
Still, it’s absolutely critical that you are able to start establishing a presence on social media. Even today, when it seems like social media has completely saturated everyday life, social networks are still seeing worldwide growth each year:
It’s no wonder why most companies end up turning to a social media marketing agency to help them manage their presence across the platform that they use.
But, without the experience of managing social media campaigns yourself — how do you evaluate the companies that will do that for you?
Well, there are a few questions that every company should ask when evaluating social media marketing companies in Charlotte.
These questions will give you a good top-down understanding of the strategies that they will use on your behalf, and how they have used those strategies to deliver results to other (hopefully similar) clients.
How Will You Ensure your Social Media Strategy Aligns with My Business Goals?
This is important. If your primary goal is driving revenue, you would probably be better served working with a social selling agency, rather than your typical social media marketing agency.
Knowing that the agency that you hire will actually help you to achieve the goals you are setting out to achieve is the most important evaluation that you make in the process.
Discuss how their strategies will supplement other marketing strategies you are currently using and work together to design a solution that makes sense for your position in your industry.
Have you Worked with Companies in Our Industry? Do You Have Connections?
Working with other companies in your industry is an important consideration. This demonstrates a few things about a social media marketing agency:
- That they have an understanding of how customers within your industry think and interact with companies on social media.
- That they have industry connections that will help them to expand your reach on specific platforms.
- They can demonstrate success for a similar company.
These are just a few of the benefits that come from working with an agency that specializes in your industry.
Having those connections from the day that they start working with your company will make it much easier for you to gain traction right away, which is a benefit that you should not underrate.
Social media can take months to really begin paying off as an agency helps you to build your presence.
Being able to leverage existing relationships can speed up success and put you in a position to benefit earlier in your investment.
Will You Integrate Paid, Owned, and Earned Media Into Our Strategy?
Having a well-rounded social media approach is important. Of course, these questions delve deeper into their larger strategy, but that is something that you want to do in your initial conversations anyway, to help you gain an understanding of what strategies they’ll be using to grow your presence.
This gives you a chance to make sure their strategies align with your business goals.
Paid promotion isn’t something that all agencies offer, but it is something that can help you to quickly grow your presence on social media and drive targeted traffic to your website.
Often, a content strategy will be put together to supplement your work.
Discussing with agencies whether or not paid promotion will be a part of their strategy and how you could use it to your benefit is always a good idea.
What KPIs Will We Use to Measure Success?
There are different approaches to measuring social media success. The approach that you use will be based on your business goals, which is why it is so important to ensure that the social agency that you hire uses an approach that aligns with those goals. (What is a KPI in marketing?)
Some of the different KPIs that social media agencies use to measure success include:
- Sales generated
- Leads generated
- Traffic generated
- Social engagement (Tweets, likes, etc.)
- Audience growth rate
- Post reach
- Amplification rate
- Conversion rate
The KPI that they use will tell you something very specific about the success of your social campaigns at specific stages of your sales funnel.
Understanding how social media metrics play into the big picture of your engagement with an agency will help you to come to an agreement about how you will measure success and tie those metrics to your overarching business goals.
What Results Have You Been Able to Deliver to Clients?
Simple. How have you helped other companies? What about companies that are specifically similar to your business?
Keep in mind that the results that they are willing to share are going to be their top-line results, so temper your expectations.
A company that has been able to consistently deliver results to clients should have a case studies page, testimonials, and references that they can provide.
Read around on the web for reviews about the agencies that you evaluate. Reach out to previous customers to ask them about their experience.
Once you have your list narrowed down to a handful of companies, it will be easier to conduct deeper research and really start to understand how each could work to your benefit.
Do you Have Expertise in a Specific Social Network?
Not all social media marketing agencies operate on every platform. By that same token, not every business should operate on every platform. Some social media networks just aren’t a profitable investment in some situations.
Identifying the networks that you want to target is a good first step and will allow you to find agencies that specialize in working with those platforms.
If a company doesn’t claim to specialize, ask to see some of their results as they pertain to the platform that you are interested in.
For instance, LinkedIn is often referenced as an excellent platform for B2B companies. By 2017, the platform has more than 500 million users, 260 million of which logged in every month.
LinkedIn is home to more than 61 million senior level influencers, with more than 40 million in decision-making positions.
Take a look at the size of the largest social networks based on number of users:
How Will You Help Me Stand Out from the Competition?
Social media can be a crowded place. When I work with clients, one of the first and most time intensive steps that I take is to evaluate the competition and see if there is room there to stand out.
Sometimes, a company's budget isn’t high enough to truly leverage a network and gain traction in their industry — and no one likes to invest in something that isn’t going to pay off.
A Slow but Deliberate Process
As you evaluate social media marketing agencies in Charlotte, take your time. Don’t rush. Social media isn’t going anywhere in the next month and it is critical that you find the right partner.
A great social media agency will work closely with you to design a strategy that pushes you toward your larger business goals while slowly but surely expanding your reach on your chosen platforms.