The trendy term that a marketing agency was referred as 10 years ago was “full service”. This term generally made an agency look a lot bigger than they were, where in reality more than half of the services were often outsourced to subcontractors.
Back to present day, the new trendy term that we see is “full service social media” agency. It seems that everyone in the digital world has gone social.
So what is the problem with calling themselves “social”? How do you differentiate the real Social Media Agencies versus those who are depriving their clients of the real social media strategy? Simple, in today’s digital marketing world, any successful social media campaign needs to be effective, efficient and scalable. The team forming the overall strategy needs to understand the social media tools and tactics that they are suggesting to their clients even if production is completed by a third party.
Always remember to do your homework when evaluating social media agencies. Here are some suggestions that may help you separate true social media agencies from imposters:
1. Ask for case studies.
In particular, you will want case studies of projects that had similar goals to what you are looking to do. If they cannot produce a recent project that displays their social media strategy, stop there. Your brand is too important to be someone’s training wheels.
2. Ask them to define Social Media success.
If they start off recommending how many likes they can help you achieve on the page, run far away! A sure sign of an imposter agency is one that does not understand a social media strategy and focuses too much on social metrics such as number of likes etc.
3. Ask to meet the team that is going to be doing your digital work.
In many cases, this team will be the digital voice of your brand. You deserve to know if that mouthpiece is an intern or subcontractor and if they strike you as the right, responsible people to be putting your brand message to the masses.
4. Ask them how many Google AdWords certified team members they have.
You should never let someone spend your search engine marketing dollars if they don’t know what they are doing. It is very easy for an agency to waste a client’s AdWords budget by simply not understanding the tools and strategy behind Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
5. Do they have any qualifications ie. Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer?
The Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) program is a community of best-in-class developers focused on making social marketing easier and more effective. You can be assured that your Social Media Campaign is in good hands with one of these badges.
6. Do some social snooping and check out their Facebook Page or blog.
Do they have a Facebook Page? A blog? What are they writing about? Do they post often? Are they talking about digital marketing or their favorite pet? How many social shares do their posts get? They should be marketing their content as well as they say they will be marketing yours. Industry education and leadership are signs of a good digital agency and you can usually find this on an agency blog.
There you have it. If you take these six pieces of advice, you are doing your part to safeguard from handing your brand over to unqualified marketers.