According to the 2019 Sprout Social Index, the number one challenge of brands today is aligning their social strategies to meet business goals.
That’s exactly what agencies are equipped to do. Here at Hello Social, we’ve produced some insane results on behalf of our amazing clients.
This begs a big question, though.
How do you get the most out of working with an agency, anyway?
We’re glad you asked!
9 Steps for Getting the Most Out of a Social Media Marketing Agency
Listen: a social media marketing agency can work wonders for your business in terms of growing your audience, converting customers and scoring that sweet ROI you’ve been craving.
But as the old saying goes: it takes two to tango. Want a productive, meaningful relationship with an agency? Good! They’re just going to need a few things from you first.
In this guide, we’ll break down the steps to empower an agency to produce positive results on behalf of your business.
1. Define Why You Want to Hire an Agency in the First Place
This might seem like a no-brainer, but an agency can’t help you if you don’t know what you want.
After all, defining your goals will influence everything from your budget and length of your relationship (think: short or long-term) to which type of agency you’ll be working with.
For example, do you need someone to help you solely with Facebook ads? Perhaps a one-off campaign?
Or are you looking for an agency to totally take the reigns of your social accounts?
Any combination of these answers is fair game: what matters is that you’re able to communicate your goals clearly. Doing so will empower the agency you work with to meet your needs.
And hey, that leads us directly to our next point.
2. Choose the Right Agency!
We can tell you from experience that not all agencies are created equal.
This is especially true with so many so-called “agencies” (hint: amateurs) popping up left and right.
No doubt there’s a skilled social media marketing agency that’s a perfect fit for your business. If you want to find ‘em, you need to know what questions to ask of your business and the agency itself.
Here are some questions to consider as you’re hunting for an agency.
Does the agency have a track record? Take a peek at their case studies and client testimonials for starters. Note which types of clients they’ve worked with in terms of industry and name recognition.
What platforms do they specialize in? Some agencies might specialize in specific types of campaigns or channels (Facebook, Instagram, etc). For example, anyone who claims to be a Facebook ads wizard should be able to show you former campaigns and metrics to back up their expertise.|
What’s their reputation? Beyond case studies, do a bit of Google sleuthing to see if you can find reviews from third-party sites and former clients. Positive reviews are obviously a good sign.
What is your budget? Before you totally fall in love with an agency, make sure you can actually afford to work with them. On the flip side, be wary of any agencies that seem too good to be true in terms of their price tag.
Do you know your KPIs? Conversions. Followers. Revenue. No matter what metrics and KPIs you’re concerned about, make sure that you understand exactly you want to communicate with any given agency.
Are they up-to-date with current trends? Most agencies are active players in the industry, regularly publishing social-specific blogs and actively posting on social media themselves. If an agency’s site looks like something out of 2011 or is otherwise inactive, that’s a huge red flag.
3. Assign Someone to Communicate with the Agency on Your Behalf
The better you’re able to communicate and collaborate with your agency, the faster you’ll be able to see results.
That’s why it pays to have a specific person or team in charge of communicating with an agency.
This prevents bottlenecks and needless internal back-and-forth among your own employees. Likewise, you create a sense of accountability within your business to guarantee that things don’t slow down.
Speedy communication will ensure that your campaigns get moving, plain and simple. Don’t commit to hiring an agency you can’t commit to keeping them in the loop.
4. Collect Your Brand Assets and Account Logins
Before a social media marketing agency can work their magic, they’re going to need some key assets from you.
Here’s a snapshot of what you’re going to need to hand off to an agency. Some assets are pretty straightforward while others might require you to do some digging or go into your website backend:
Brand images (think: logos, creatives, UGC)
Log-ins to your social accounts (and any related third-party tools)
Having these items prepared will make the hand-off process go smoothly and likewise establish a sense of trust. Additionally, there are third-party tools like Filecamp which can serve as a sort of middle-man between your business’ assets and an agency.
5. Consolidate Your Communication Channels
From the beginning, try to agree on a single communication channel between you and your business.
If you decide on Slack, stick to Slack.
And if you prefer Skype, stay on Skype.
Want to keep it simple and communicate with email? Go for it.
The point here is that spreading communication across a dozen different channel is both inefficient and potentially annoying. Remember: an agency is likely juggling dozens (if not hundreds) of clients at one time. That’s why you shouldn’t expect them to integrate into your project management tools (Trello, Asana, Basecamp), either.
After you settle on a single communication channel, also agree on timing for check-ins and calls. Once you iron out a time to consistently communicate, make it part of your business’ regularly scheduled routine.
6. Don’t Give Up on In-House Content Creation
Reality check: just because you work with an agency doesn’t mean you should stop producing content altogether.
Yes, a skilled agency knows how to create killer posts for your business.
However, producing content yourself ultimately provides your agency additional options and opportunities to get creative.
Besides, there are types of content that only you can produce in the first place.
For example, an agency can’t take behind the scene photos of your business or in-person video of you and your customers.
Or let’s say you receive an amazing customer testimonial that would make for a sweet piece of social content. You have the freedom to publish it yourself or hand it off to your agency.
Either way, you’re still playing an active role in content creation.
7. Share Your Brand Guidelines to Keep Your Visuals and Voice on Point
On a related note, a social agency isn’t a replacement for your brand.
From your brand voice to visuals and beyond, make a point to outline the sort of vibe you want your business to put out there.
Bold? Sarcastic? Playful?
And what are your values? What are you trying to communicate with your customers?
Whether you have the answers or you’re still figuring it out, an agency can help iron out your message as long as you provide some direction.
8. Show Your Landing Pages Some Love
Although a social media marketing agency can drive traffic to your promotions, consider your business’ role in what happens after that traffic lands.
Does your site offer top-notch user experience? Are you driving your traffic to click through and convert?
Make sure that you show your social landing pages some love in terms of UX and optimization. Doing so ensures that you’re squeezing the most out of your social traffic and the work that your agency is doing.
9. Share Your Marketing Calendar
Finally, social media doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
From on-site promotions to email and beyond, your agency needs to be aware of your latest marketing pushes. Doing so allows your agency to align your various marketing campaigns and send relevant social messages to your customers.
Ideally, you can give your agency at least a few months of notice to plan and prepare for any given campaign. Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re going to be doing, a rough idea can at the very least get your agency prepared for what you have coming down the pipeline.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
Ready to Work with a Social Media Marketing Agency?
No matter what your business might be, hiring an agency is totally worth it.
And the rise of new social business features and ever-changing algorithms, we expect more and more companies to work alongside social agencies in the near future.
With these tips in mind, you can set you and your agency up for success as you sow the seeds of a positive relationship.
Oh, and if you want to learn more about what it’s like to work with a social media marketing agency, make sure to contact Hello Social today.
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