Every business needs online presence nowadays, especially on social media platforms. Whether you believe it or not, a stale and uninteresting channel is more damaging than having no online presence at all. However, to achieve this fully, you may not have the internal resources and skills needed to make your social media marketing campaigns successful. This is where an outsourcing social media marketing agency can play a pivotal part in your business success.
Deciding to outsource social media marketing is reasonably an easy one given the list of advantages: scalable teams, cost-effectiveness, 24/7/365 service, ready-made expertise, no HR issues, just to name a few. However, choosing the right outsourcing agency is not a simple process and deserves the right amount of due diligence.
Here is a list of questions you should ask your prospect social media marketing agency before narrowing down the decision to hire it:
Question #1: “What social media marketing services do you offer and which do my business need?”
First of all, your prospect social media agency should detail the services it can offer to help you grow your business. Generally speaking, social media marketing services can be categorized into five areas: (1) advertising, (2) campaign promotion, (3) community management, (4) content creation, and (5) engagement and following. Nonetheless, that does not mean that you need all these services to start with. This requires your input as well, of course, but be open to advice, especially if this is not your area of expertise.
If the agency’s answer to “Which of your services do my business need?” is “You definitely need all of our services,” stop right there. A good agency will have several proven skill sets with metrics to back it up and different levels of engagement for each skill set. Maybe one in every 10,000 businesses will actually need everything straight away, so there is your first red flag. The attitude of an outsourcing social media marketing agency should not be, “Our agency can do a, b, c, d, e, f for you;” it should be, “Let us analyze your current status, future needs, and plan how you will get there best, that will give us an idea of what you need now, 6 months, and 12 months from now as well.”
Question #2: “What sets you apart from other social media agencies?”
If you search for “social media agency” on search engines, it will yield millions of search results. Aside from that, even if thousands of agencies claim to be social media experts, not all of them will be fit for your business’ needs. Therefore, it is crucial to find out what distinguishes your prospect agency from its competitors. You should spot answers regarding the agency’s track record, case studies, and processes to make sure that it has a good reputation and methodology that fits you.
Question #3: “What social media platforms can you manage?”
Social media agencies have the scale and resources for managing several social platforms, which will help you grow your business‘ online presence. They can try out new tactics, rank platforms according to importance, and manage each with care. But you should first find out what these platforms are and what they will mean to you. After all, every business has different levels of success in different channels. They should be asking you what services you are offering and where your customers are hanging out. Remember, social engagement is not limited to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn — it also includes online groups, forums, Reddit threads, Quora authority and the like. Every customer persona has its place, and a good agency should know that.
Question #4: “What is your content marketing strategy?”
Find out how your prospect agency handles content research, content creation, and content calendars. They should not only be able to advise on what you need but also explain why you need what you need and, of course, the benefits. After all, it should never be about just selling you a bunch of social media marketing services. Good social media agencies can find your audience and target them directly. This should not be a case of ‘throw everything at it and see what sticks.’ Educated research and experience will be able to give you results that are bespoke and appropriate for you.
Question #5: “What are your metrics for business success and how will you report those?”
Your prospect agency should be able to distinguish actionable metrics from vanity metrics. Vanity metrics (such as views, likes, and shares) are great but can distract you from analyzing the real data that actionable metrics (such as user engagement, qualified leads, and conversions) can provide. After the metrics that will be used are defined, you should set how and how often the agency will report to you the results of using those metrics. In terms of “how,” find out if the agency prefers to use different content management systems and other software platforms. Meanwhile, in terms of “how often,” will the reporting be on a weekly or monthly basis?
Remember this: do not fall into the trap of tracking vanity metrics only or else, you will have a false sense of business success. If you want to grow your business, it would be better to track and report actionable metrics right from the start.
If you ask the right questions, then you will surely get the right answers. The guide questions detailed above should give you key insights into the background, expertise, and personality of your prospect agency — the criteria you need to make sure the agency you will choose is the right one for your business. You can use these questions to get started towards a successful strategy for outsourcing social media marketing. Of course, you can add more questions that you see are necessary for meeting your business’ needs and achieving your marketing goals.
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