Tip # 1 – They ask questions that matterA good Social Media agency will never assume that they know your client better than yourself (at least not directly). They should and must start by asking questions. But what questions matter the most? A good hint would be to expect questions of the sort of:
- What do you believe is appealing about your brand rather than your competitors?
- Where are your weaknesses so we can define them and improve on them online?
- Who are the type of people you want to interact with and should be interacting with you?
Tip # 2 – They look at your entire marketing holisticallyHave you launched a radio campaign before engaging Social Media agency? Did you tell them about it? You didn’t? Such a pity. You have just sabotaged the probability of your Social Media agency performing even better. Have you forgotten that Social Media marketing and digital marketing altogether is not the topmost government of your empire but just another channel of communication? That radio campaign that you missed telling your agency about could have been amplified via Social Media. If your prospective Social Media agency asks you about any currently running marketing campaign on other channels both traditional and online, then you speak to a mature and experienced entity.
Tip # 3 – Their content seems to be everywhere.The first rule of thumb. A good Social Media agency is a good content marketing agency. Content is the blood of Social Media. How good is your prospective agency’s bone marrow? Is their website a rich repository of knowledge? How diverse their content is (blog posts, webinars, whitepapers E-books, client success stories, ROI reports)? Can you witness their presence as guest authors on leading online platforms? Does their content resonate with your pain points? If they are good in addressing your concerns via their write-ups like the Oracle of Delphi, then you can be certain that they will hit bull’s eyes on your market as well. That of course if they are good in asking the right questions as we saw above.
Tip # 4 – Do they wake the “cat from the basket”?Talking about content. Did you ever see their content strategist? How comfortable is your account manager in bringing the designated executives from their gloomy corners? What does their talk say? Are they all aligned between themselves? An agency that confidently brings their entire key personnel at your doorsteps is a good agency.
Tip # 5 – What are their credentials?Many areas in Digital Marketing have clear and authoritative accreditation. Examples are Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing certificate, Google Analytics certification for web analytics, and Google’s Adwords certification for Search Engine Marketing. These are proof of an agency’s ability to perform par excellence. Are you able to spot them on their website? Inside the team section? They have every possible reason to put them there. If not, time to raise some doubts.
Tip # 6 – Do they talk sales or creativity?A magnanimous mistake which you, yourself are likely to be doing. Remember your last conversation with an agency representative? What were you most concerned about? What did you request from them? Did you ask them to suggest a creative concept? Wrong! A laptop, Internet connection and little bit of it can make anyone decently creative. Remember that creativity is not the first thing you want to consider in your final decision. Instead, you want to work with an agency which understands your bottom line. This said you need someone who thinks and speaks sales just like you do. Observe the language and the expression of the person instead. Don’t start requesting advertising ideas yet. Do they tend to speak in terms of creativity, ideas, hashtags, and concepts? Or they speak like a sales department showing consideration of factors such as sales funnel, metrics, which stage of the sales funnel will match which stage of their Social Media strategy? If your prospective Social Media agency acts and speaks like a salesman, then you are talking to the right person. Then and only then you can call for their creative hatching from their nests and basements.
Tip # 7 – What metrics do they suggest for reporting?What do they say they will measure for you? Favorites? Re-tweets and mentions? Traffic to your website? Repeated visits coming from Social Media? A minimum percentage of conversions attributed to Social Media? 128.567 Likes (Horaaah!!)? Companies without defined metrics of success get deluded here. Deluded by their prospective agency and their eagerness to impress. Eagerness to impress you on the back of your ignorance. There is a small million of metrics related to Social Media reporting, an obscure abbreviation that looks like coming from the 7th hell of Dante’s Inferno. New ones keep popping every day. But the real gurus will offer you a far more familiar pattern. As we said above, their metrics will speak the language of your business. Here are some of them:
- Percentage of website visit attributed to Social Media over a period of time
- Conversion rate
- Amplification (what is the real reach they would expect to achieve through their campaign)
- Economic value (true insight of the value your website delivers for the visitors that have landed via Social Media)
Tip # 8 – What is their contingency plan?Probably the best and most recent example why it’s wise to ask for an agency’s contingency plan demonstrated by the recent scandal with Uber in New Delhi. Shit happens. What’s worse, that shits ramifies on Social Media. Oh that damn, real-time God of wildfires, Twitter. You may get accused of a fan’s family and relatives and even by the government. It doesn’t matter. Either way’ it is likely to end on Twitter. What then? What is your agency’s backup plan? What would they do if such a PR crisis arises? What would they do if they fail to achieve the objectives they promised? Be mindful of their response here and feel free to leave the room if:
- They mentioned that you could simply buy fans and followers!
- They called themselves a ‘Social Media guru’ or a ‘digital evangelist’
- They say people’s memory is short-lived