Monday, October 24, 2011

Three Things to Look for When Hiring a Social Media Agency

Why only THREE? Well, I’ll save more of those “things” for another post so we can just focus on a few here today. After sharing with you two extreme examples of companies you shouldn’t hire (click here for that article), I feel that I need to inject some really good information into your lives. So here goes…top of mind now.

Does the agency provide more than social media? The whole gamut of services is out there from folks who’ll do maintenance on your accounts to those that will design a comprehensive strategy for you.

Paying someone to post sounds like you could just walk away from social media, doesn’t it? Hiring this sort of agency is only going to work IF you already have your strategy in place. Better yet, if that strategy is documented, you may have to do little more than hand that document over to the poster. If not, you’ll spend just as much time teaching this person how to post on your behalf, thus not saving any time! And that poster may call you constantly with questions: “What do I do…?” Ah, but they’re inexpensive! Not so if your days are suddenly becoming longer.

Look for an agency that has a vast knowledge of marketing beyond social media and understands how all the aspects of marketing are tied together. Your brand needs to communicate one clear, concise message that flows seamlessly.

Does the agency understand your brand? You’ll discover the answer to this one during an initial discussion. Are they listening to what you are saying, or telling YOU what you should be doing?  The agency needs to understand the brand as you see it, not as they “envision” it. They need to feel the soul and passion of your brand and translate that energy to social media for you.

Is the proof in the pudding? In other words, are they credible? A good agency will know how to keep people engaged on their Facebook page, on Twitter, etc. Check and see if people appear to enjoy interacting with them: Look for complements and/or thoughtful responses to their posts/tweets.

It’s important to note HOW they demonstrate their knowledge; a good agency will not be blatantly throwing out sales pitches to people. They may be blogging; that’s a good sign that they are eager to share some of their knowledge while quietly demonstrating that they do indeed possess the expertise you are looking for.  And what does their website or Facebook page look like? If you see a landing page with a big arrow that says “click here”, move on! If they are using a personal account on Facebook for their business, you should be questioning their grasp of social media (see my post regarding THAT subject here).

Do they call themselves experts or gurus? Move on. Being “self-proclaimed” proves nothing. Instead, look for comments and/or recommendations that substantiate the knowledge level of the agency. Be careful with these as well; they may or may not be truthful. A bit of research via your favorite search engine will reveal whether or not this agency possess the chops you that you require. Check out the owner’s profile on LinkedIn; does it appear legit? WHO is recommending them?

We’ll bring you some more tips via a future post. In summary, use common sense, and don’t believe everything you read. Research, research, research!

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