The emergence of social media in the last decade has created a whole new industry of companies that are able to provide social media marketing services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, this new industry has also revealed many shady social media enterprises that always seem to be coming out of the woodwork. If you haven’t received an email from an individual in India declaring they can get your business to the top of the Google search results, then check your spam box. It’s there.
Before hiring a social media marketing company and handing them the keys to your brand’s social media accounts and reputation, you as a business owner should definitely do some homework on them. Many companies in the digital marketing sector will tell you anything to get your business. Here are some of the most important questions to ask before hiring a social media marketing company.
Do their own social media channels pass the eye test?
Most of the time, you will be able to find a company’s social media accounts linked from the main page of their website. If not, you may conduct a search using their brand name on some of the largest social media channels. If they’re difficult to find on social media, don't regularly update their channels or don’t have much of a following, those are all huge red flags. For starters, a social media marketing company should have a presence on every social media platform. How many Twitter, Instagram and Facebook followers do they have? Do they interact with other users or do all of their social media posts seem automated? Are their followers interacting with the content they post? What kind of imagery are they posting to Instagram? You might also check out the quality of the content posted to their company blog. Expertise is often revealed through writing.
Are they able to provide a list of clients they’ve worked with in the past?
A company that is pitching you on building a stronger social media presence should also be able to reference successful social media marketing campaigns they’ve conducted in the past. If they provide you with a list of clients they’ve worked with, don’t hesitate to reach out to members of that company by doing a quick Linkedin search or calling them directly. One might also check a social media company’s Google Business, Facebook and Yelp listings for both positive and negative reviews they’ve received from former customers.
How do they as a company measure success?
Getting X amount of shares or likes on a social media post is likely not going to generate more business for a company. Ultimately, a social media campaign is only successful if it’s generating more leads and conversions for a website. Is your business experiencing an increase in call volume or receiving more contact forms via it’s social media channels? Are more people purchasing your product or service after arriving to the website from one of your social media channels? Then your social media marketing strategy is paying off. You’ll be able to tell how knowledgeable and effective a social media marketing company is by how far they dive into analytics. However, some businesses may see the number of followers, likes and shares as a key performance indicator (KPI).
Do they specialize in a specific business niche?
There is not a one size fits all model when it comes to social media marketing. A social media marketing company should make the effort to learn more about your brand’s marketing objectives from the start. One that specializes in a specific business niche means that they’re good at what they do and have likely generated a ton of business through word of mouth over time. It also shows that they have experience with what strategies work for a specific industry and will likely be able to generate results right off the bat. Hiring a social media marketing company with no experience in your industry may experience some trial and error at the beginning of the campaign.
Do they have sufficient experience with paid social media advertising?
Facebook will be the social media channel capable of delivering the most success for your brand. However, Facebook’s organic reach is very limited and business owners are instead forced to pay money to increase the visibility of their content. Brands can run Facebook advertising campaigns, pay money to boost their fan page or pay money to boost individual posts. Does the social media marketing company you’re considering have experience with Facebook marketing? They had better. Facebook boosting and advertising is one strategy that we stand by as having the ability to generate immediate results. That, of course, strongly depends on the available budget. The more a company spends on Facebook, the greater their reach will be.
In our experience, other social media advertising platforms like Yelp ads, Instagram ads and Twitter ads are excellent for branding purposes if your budget allows them. However, these platforms don’t generate desirable leads and conversions for most businesses.
How often will they communicate with your company during the partnership?
Communication is key because it can often be difficult to keep both teams on the same page with both parties working separate and remotely. Social media activities can often vary from week to week because social media channels require a steady and constant flow of content. Social media marketing companies should provide weekly updates to their clients either via a performance report sent to your inbox or a weekly conference call. Steer clear of companies or freelancers that aren’t able to live up to these expectations.
How much do they charge and what professionals do they employ?
The adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies to social media marketing companies as well. The cheaper their services are, the greater the likelihood that they’re just looking for a high volume of clients that they can keep on a retainer. Be weary of companies that charge by the hour because they can often over-bill you just like other industries. See if both parties can agree upon a set price with a clear list of objectives before signing the dotted line. If the company also employs SEO professionals, graphic designers, pay-per-click consultants (Google Adwords), bloggers and web design professionals, you can bet they’re top notch and will be able to accommodate all of your company’s digital marketing needs.
Does your company have social media accounts that are dormant because you don’t have time to manage them? Are you trying to generate more leads for your business through social media but don’t know where to begin? John Mann SEO Consulting can help. We are passionate about helping small businesses build their social media following and driving more visitors to your brand’s website. We are the premier social media marketing company in Nashville, Tennessee and happily provide free consultations to all clients that inquire about our services.