Social Sales: What a Social Media Agency Can Do for Your Marketing
The world of marketing has changed constantly through the years from starting with a salesman going door to door to sell his products to television advertising. In the digital age, marketing has transformed to be mainly digital and social media marketing has become the best way for businesses to find their audiences. With social media, there are so many opportunities with different social media platforms to use and ideas for content to promote your business. This can make it difficult to find the best way to market on social media for your brand or avoid making mistakes.
What is Social Media?
Before looking into what is social media marketing and what a social media marketing agency can do for your business, it’s best to ensure you understand what social media is. The most simple social media definition is that social media sites and applications are where users can create and share content to network with family, friends, other businesses and the general public.
It’s no massive surprise that social media has become a force of nature and has even created a social media-based business industry with social media influencers. This surge in popularity has its advantages and disadvantages of social media. With a few clever twists on a story or an added interactivity option, you can command entire legions of people to follow you, put their time and effort in your content, put their trust in your product. So it was only a matter of time until social media marketing managed to get such a strong foothold in today’s business scene. When you consider how many people use social media, which according to 2019 reports is 3.2 billion users worldwide equating to about 42% of the current population, if your business doesn’t have social media marketing or a social media strategy, the potential business you are missing could be huge. Although there is plenty of evidence of the advantages of social media for business, many governing bodies have highlighted the dangers of social media for younger audiences and the connection between social media and mental health.
But with the way things are, you’d be hard-pressed to try and manage everything in business entirely in-house. There are so many things happening behind the scenes of any business at any one time and on variable scales that keep the revenue flowing. Too much for a company to reliably juggle along with advertising and client outreach. It’s not unheard of for a business to seek the support of agencies for a multitude of services. Just because you know your way around a corporation doesn’t mean you’re perfectly capable of handling everything just as well. Sometimes you just need the help of those more qualified than you, and that’s where a social media agency can come in handy.
Social Media and the Wonders of Discovery
Social media provides opportunities for users to branch away from the initial action they logged onto the platform to carry out without much effort. How many times have you opened your Instagram account to make a post, scrolled through your feed and then ten minutes later realised you are yet to make the post?
With each new iteration of a social network or social media, putting your content out there for the entire world to see is becoming easier and easier. And thanks to the frighteningly viral nature of social media as a whole, it isn’t always a particularly difficult task to get your stories to spread fast online. So naturally, this means the marketing potential of social media as akin to a goldmine that’s more endowed the deeper you go.
Many upcoming and existing brands have used the power of social media marketing to grow a strong and unrelenting identity or revamp their brand entirely. Technology, in general, tends to take leaps and bounds when it comes to advancement, and social media is much the same. Cultivating a sense of discovery through the simple act of scrolling through your feed, to the benefit of both company and consumer.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that businesses the world over have been seeking the aid of a social media agency more and more in recent times. What better way to generate traffic, brand recognition and overall sales than to use the benefits of social media with an online presence for your business? With a proper social media strategy put in place by your social media marketing agency of choice, you can expect your brand to grow and potentially reach the goals you have for your business.
Why Bother With Social Media Marketing
With 4.39 billion people using the internet every day, having an online presence for a business is essential for success and longevity. More and more traditional businesses have adapted their business online and transformed their brand with digital and social media marketing.
But this isn’t the 1990s anymore. This is 2017 (or at least it was when this came out), television isn’t much of a phenomenon anymore. If video killed the radio store, then the Internet utterly buried TV. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone using their televisions for anything other than background noise to fill the apartment or to use as a screen for their computer. And what do people use the internet for the most, you ask? Well, one would like to imagine it’s something productive, but let’s go with the obvious answer: Social media.
Everyone has a social media account on at least three social media platforms. With the ability to stay in touch with friends and family, make new connections, engage in any and all variety of discussion and conversation with like-minded individuals as well as consume video content, it’s no wonder that social media sites are the most popular online.
People get their news from social media, their ideas, their inspiration, their most basic information from sharing articles, following pages and joining groups. With so much raw influence to go around, jumping from person to person, is it any wonder why social media is worth the marketing treatment? Why not recount some of the reasons why social media is a force to be reckoned with, especially to an astute marketer.
Social media has this way of spreading fast, far and wide, like wildfire. It has always managed to jump from person to person, converting them into account holders and followers in seconds. Everything from the ease of access right down to the nature of the content that floats about. You can instantly share whatever content you find entertaining with the whole world with just a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a smartphone, which they then share with their whole world opening the content up to an infinite audience. With all sorts of fresh and appealing content coming out almost every second, there is no conceivable shortage of stuff to share on social media.
If there’s one thing that social media does freakishly well besides killing time, it’s convincing people they need stuff. It isn’t too difficult to start a social media presence with enough elbow grease, a fair amount of time and a social media plan. And with a few videos of your product, some nice social media statistics or testimonials and a responsive moderator or two, you can pretty much sit back and watch your brand jump from user to user, generating healthy leads with each bounce. Not only is it a surefire way to spread and fortify brand awareness, but it’s also a great way to keep in touch with your clientele.
With the different pros and cons of social media, one of the advantages of social media marketing for businesses is communication. Humans are social animals and the majority like to communicate with others. A social network allows them to get in touch and share all sorts of stories from all over the known universe. But there’s always been this problem that major businesses had before the dawn of the social giants; there weren’t that many channels of communication between companies and clients. True, there were some ways business owners and industry moguls could get in touch with their customers; Press releases, conventions, hotlines, etc. But these are all archaic modes of contact between buyer and businessman at best. Not as easily accessible as one might prefer and definitely not worth the trouble anymore.
With social media marketing and social media platforms, it is easy for companies to keep a healthy presence and connect with their customers, along with even more potential leads in a larger audience. Why is this the case? When a business starts investing in its social media advertising, presence and its brand identity online, it opens the door to a potentially massive audience that has nothing to lose but their time. With much greater accessibility and a clear message on display at all times, companies have found their new hunting ground when it comes to picking up and maintaining clients.
In addition to this, there’s the humanizing aspect of social media marketing in general; Joining discussions with your fan base and engaging in meaningful, rewarding conversation not only allows you to peer into the minds of your consumer, but it also builds immense amounts of trust and comfort with regards to your brand and image as a whole. People enjoy being heard, they enjoy having their opinions and ideas discussed and taken into consideration. You stand to gain a sizable amount of following if you put yourself out there and connect with the populace.
SEO On The Go
Assuming you haven’t been living under a mildly comfortable rock without a decent internet connection, you’ll quickly figure out that your hopes of any form of successful online marketing depend on a few factors. The most pivotal of which just so happens to be Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO. Let’s go the extra mile and a half and say you don’t know what SEO is; Simply put, search engine optimization is using any and all efforts, techniques and strategies you have at your disposal to boost your website’s search engine results page (or SERP) ranking.
To put it simply, SEO is what you can do to make Google bump you up on its search results. What this means is the stronger your SEO is overall, the higher you’ll rank and the more people will mosey on down to look at what you have to offer. Generating more inbound traffic to your business’s online presence means you have a considerably higher chance of converting would-be visitors into healthy and rewarding clients. You wouldn’t be at fault to say that SEO is the defining factor between success and mundane failure for any online marketing endeavour.
But how does this tie into social media marketing? What does all this have to do with using a social media agency? A major cornerstone of modern SEO just so happens to involve a healthy dose of social media. Think about it; The whole point is to divert as much traffic as humanly possible to your online presence. Social media can provide these sought after leads. Establishing a healthy presence on social media not only increases the virtual ground you cover, but it also boosts your brand awareness exponentially.
Allowing people far and wide to have much easier access to your content and services on offer at any one time.
Social media marketing might be a relatively new concept, but it has proven itself time and time and time again. With engaging and high-quality content, round the clock responses to inquiries and comments and a decent backlinking scheme in place, you can rest assured that your company will stay relevant in social media. Of course, it goes without saying that this is where a social media agency comes in handy. As previously mentioned, a quality social media agency will ensure that your social media presence stays up to snuff and on par with the expectations you hold for your company’s growth.
What’s the “On The Go” part? Thanks to advancements in smartphone technology and the wise and never-ending efforts social media companies make to optimize their services for mobile use, people the world over can stay connected on all forms of social media using their respective apps.
This means that your social media marketing efforts are as mobile as the phones people walk around with. This allows your business to have an even wider reach than previously expected, with people sharing your content with a few taps and showing it to each other in person, your brand awareness will surely skyrocket (assuming your content is sound and your website is optimized for mobile)
What Exactly Is a Social Media Agency?
It’s not entirely unheard of for companies of any size to outsource some of their necessary activities. Sometimes it’s the better decision quality-wise, or it might be a lot more cost-effective in the long run as opposed to keeping it all in-house. Not all businesses have time to keep up with the latest social media news on the best social media apps to use to reach your audience. Similarly, not every company has the understanding, resources, personnel and bandwidth to keep up their social media presence as well as they’d prefer. You’ll want your team members, your most valuable assets, to keep their heads in their respective games, projects that ultimately steer your ship towards greener pastures.
A social media marketing agency will efficiently handle any and all of your social media jobs and marketing, as well as handle client outreach, demands seamlessly. It’s their job to make sure your online social media presence is up to code and strong enough to reel in potential leads. From Facebook to Linkedin to Twitter and beyond, a proper social media agency will make sure that your brand stays active on all the major social media platforms your niche could stand to benefit from. If you are not willing to take on social media courses to improve your business social media marketing, we recommend using a social media agency.
So What Do They Do?
That said, it’s not as simple as we make it sound. Behind the scenes of just posting things on your behalf, there are many other facets that give weight to a social media marketing agency. A proper social media agency will tend to a plethora of tasks, including (but not limited to):
Content creation for design your brand and your business, it’s a common fact in the online marketing world (and the SEO world as well) that engaging content is your bread and butter. They make sure that whatever content that’s shared on your relevant social media platforms, such as blog posts, video content, images and whatnot, will be able to attract the common viewer and keep them engaged throughout. This facilitates conversion more than you can imagine.
Engage the audience by replying to social media posts about your brand or business, answering questions and conversing with your brand’s followers, keep an open channel of communication with anyone willing to find out more about you and your company, and a bunch of other activities relevant to client outreach. Like we said before, social media can humanize your business to the point where potential leads feel comfortable and trusting enough to invest their time and money in your brand.
Keeping a tight schedule with social media posting and content distribution; One of the many things that provide the benefits of social media and make an agency important for businesses to grow successfully is the strategy. Everything from the way the content is worded and presented to the time and occasion it’s posted is planned weeks, months or even years ahead of schedule. A good social media agency will set their content publishing with important dates in mind. This ensures that your social media presence stays up to date, alive and kicking. A proper schedule can also include analytics reviews for proper follow-up and maintenance of social media activities on your behalf.
“Should I just hire a social media manager?” Capital idea, your strategic thinker you. While the go-to decision for most businesses looking to get their mitts on some of that sweet social traffic is to just hire a social media agency outright and let them handle everything, it’s unwise to take the plunge without first figuring out whether or not their specific needs could be handled by a lone social media manager.
Sometimes you might even find that one of your own employees can take the charge and carry on to the best of their power. The major point of focus here is assessment; What are you looking for? What are your goals? What kind of social media management do you think will benefit your business the most? What about expenses? What do you gain more from hiring one over the other? Both an in-house social media manager and a social media agency have their merits and shortcomings. This merits a bit of a closer look.
On Hiring a Social Media Manager
So you want to go down the in-house route, huh? Before you jump the proverbial gun, you have to factor in a few things about hiring a social media manager as opposed to a social media agency. Here is a simplistic look at what you stand to gain (or lose) from hiring a social media manager.
Advantages of a Social Media Manager
Let’s start off with the first and most obvious perk to having an in-house social media manager; You’re their boss.
Whether you flipped one of your employees into the (prestigious) position of social media manager or you decided to outright hire one, they’re both your employee. What this means is that you have the (also prestigious) ability to look at what they’re doing for you, allowing for much more insight into their approach and what could use your input. You also have the ability to show them what your company is all about, giving them more insight into what you have to offer and allowing them to better portray your business, something a social media agency doesn’t easily have access to. Giving your social media manager the opportunity to immerse themselves in your brand and your company culture can easily benefit both of you in the long run with a more specific social media plan.
Moving forward, when you hire a social media manager to work for your brand, they do just that; Work for just your brand. With a much narrower focus and fewer things to juggle, all the attention and expertise of your social media manager will pour into your brand alone. This is one of the most significant advantages of hiring a social media manager. Whereas a social media agency will have multiple clients with multiple brands and just as many strategies. What this means is that your company most probably won’t be their top priority, and you generally want your company to be a priority.
When you take a look at the modern workplace, you’ll notice that there’s this trend where different departments start to merge with each other. Marketing mixes well with sales, sales become homogenous with customer service, and all of them coming together at some point down the line. With this in mind, hiring a social media manager to work alongside your employees and gain insight and experience from varying departments is a massive boon to your social media presence. With information flowing back and forth between your social media manager and all relevant employees, your brand image can be more clearly conveyed to the public.
Disadvantages of a Social Media Manager
Much like anything in life, there’s the good and then there’s the slightly less good. Starting with a deceptively simple point of contention; The fact that you’re in the market for a social media manager kind of denotes your inexperience with social media management in general. This, as you can surely imagine, can affect your hiring decisions. When you have hardly any idea of what qualifies a social media manager to work for your business, there’s bound to be some hiccups when you have to pick one. You’ll need to figure out what you’re looking for in a social media manager before going to the hiring phase in order to more efficiently hold down the fort when it comes to social media marketing for your company.
Another fork in the road would have to be managing your expectations; The thing about a social media agency is that even though there are multiple types to choose from, you’ll often find out that anyone agency has a diverse range of experts for each specific need. And seeing as we’re all just human after all (most of us anyway), we’re inherently imperfect. A social media manager can go above and beyond to satisfy your social media marketing needs, but there’s bound to be some things your manager isn’t very savvy with. You have to accept that, with hiring a social media manager over a social media agency, you’re going to have a deficit in some areas depending on their skill set.
And what’s a discussion about hiring anyone without talking about the expenses? It’s not too difficult to guess that hiring a social media agency is probably going to cost you a pretty penny or five. But these aren’t frivolous expenses; They’re an investment in your business’s future. And it’s entirely too easy to assume that hiring a social media manager is going to be the cheaper option, and that’s true to a degree. But you also have to factor in their benefits, bonuses, equipment and all other necessary trimmings for them to keep the social ship afloat. A social media agency might actually be the cheaper option in the grand scheme of things, especially when you think about the return on investment that you get when you hire one.
On Hiring a Social Media Agency
So now that you’ve hopefully digested our remarks on hiring a social media manager, perhaps you’ve made the decision to go for a social media agency instead. But before you jump the gun again, it’s good to weigh the pros and cons when it comes to hiring a social media agency. So we weight it all up for you.
There’s not a whole lot to say about the merits of hiring a social media agency that isn’t readily apparent. Without a whole lot of embellishment, a social media agency is almost always going to have experts in the field who know exactly what they’re doing and how to approach your social media marketing needs. Both social media agencies and social media managers can be excellent at what they do, but the rate at which you’ll find experts in the social media agency department is much higher than stumbling upon a particularly qualified social media manager. And with a social media agency, you have the element of transparency; There are always reviews, clients you can ask and information regarding whether or not your social media agency of choice is worth it’s salt. This removes a lot of the risk involved with investing your time and money in them.
One of the biggest draws to hiring a social media agency is the reassurance of knowing they’ll get the job done. Not just in the most basic sense, but because they’re typically much more experienced than in-house personnel. In addition to the fact that they’re efficient with what they do, and are exceedingly well versed with the tools of the trade. You’ll also most likely guarantee the right connections and resources they’ll need to boost your social media presence. So it’s wise to make it a point to do your research on what you want out of a social media agency and which ones have what you want on offer.
“Why hire a social media agency when I can hire individual employees to handle what I need?” Yes another good question, dear reader. Why bother hiring a social media agency when you can hire exactly what you need; A social media manager, an SEO consultant, content writers, designers, etc. etc. Well, the simplest answer that comes to mind would have to be, again, expenses and return on investment. Although hiring individual personnel that fit your specific needs sounds good on paper, it can quickly become too expensive to maintain. Cost-effectiveness, if anything, is a cornerstone of any business worth its place in the modern scene.
And it perfectly stands to reason that any financial decision you make should be a reflection of your business and you as its helmsman. Any social media agency with a decent enough reputation will have entire teams full of dedicated, seasoned and innovative thinkers who just so happen to be well versed in a multitude of relevant fields. Hiring a social media agency ensures that your social media marketing needs to be seen with the utmost proficiency.
More often than not, the shiniest of pennies is bound to have one side less shiny than the rest (but not any less valuable). What do you stand to lose when you hire a social media agency, you ask? Not much that isn’t already expected; Outsourcing anything in your business to an outside company of any sort means that you’re losing some control over the actions they take. Sure, you have the final say in what goes and what doesn’t, since they usually let you know what they have in mind before going through. But you generally don’t have as much of a hold on things as you would with an in-house social media manager, for example. The same goes for hiring a social media agency, although any business with a semblance of intelligence knows that this isn’t as much of a risk as we make it seem. A decision as pivotal as outsourcing your social media marketing needs to an outside company should be well thought out and planned before making it, so it’s expected that the risk won’t be anything worth worrying about.
Remember what we said how, when hiring a social media manager, your business stays their one and only priority when it comes to social media marketing and the like? Well, we had to revisit this concept again in this entry. Though it isn’t always the case with every social media agency you’ll come across, you’ll find that most have a long laundry list of companies that need their expertise. Where yours sits on the list is entirely up to their schedule, capability and the ever-present element of chance. Expecting your business to be on everyone’s VIP list is sort of naïve, to say the least, so you should keep it in mind that you’ll often not be on the forefront of concerns when it comes to hiring a social media agency. But you should reassure yourself that your social media marketing and brand awareness needs will be seen to regardless of position, provided you hire the right kind of social media agency for the job at hand.
In any modern business, communication happens to be key; When all the departments and divisions keep clear and open channels of communication with each other, ideas start to merge and evolve, concerns get a much brighter spotlight and the overall internal gear work of the business becomes more well-oiled and efficient. Now, when you apply this to hiring a social media agency, you’ll notice that communication becomes more an afterthought than a priority. With an in-house social media manager, it’s easy to communicate ideas and subjects of interest, making their decisions that much more representative of what your business stands for.
With a social media agency, you don’t know how often you’ll communicate, not do you know if it’ll be in person or online. They’ll no doubt have a lot to do on their social media agenda and might not have all that much time and focus to hash out ideas and approaches with you as often as you’d want to. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do a terrible job, mind you. It just means that you should keep this in mind before you decide to hire a social media agency of your choice.
What Kind of Social Media Agency Should I Choose?
Though there are social media agencies that can handle all your social media marketing needs, it helps to figure out exactly what you’re aiming for when it comes to social media marketing and your approach to social media as a whole. They’re not like your favourite pair of one-size-fits-all Bat Man knee socks (there’s no use lying about it). Picking the right social media agency for the kind of work you have in mind not only makes sure your social media presence stays strong, but it also means you won’t be wasting money (the lifeblood of the universe aside from true love) on extra aspects you don’t really need. A generalist approach to things might sound like a safer bet, but you’ll reap much more benefit from adopting a specialist approach to your dilemmas.
So what kinds of social media marketing agency are out there, you ask? There are a few types of social media agency out there, with each one having more expertise in one field than the other. Let’s go through the lot and make sense of it all, shall we?
Strategy and Planning
In the case of any strong, healthy social media presence, a significant amount of effort goes into the planning phase. A pinch of strategy here and a dash of foresight there can guarantee a social media presence worth its digital weight in (metaphorical) gold. Seeing as you’re looking this deep into the whole matter, you probably don’t have all that much experience when it comes to online marketing, even more so social media marketing. This is where Strategy and Planning agencies can lend a hefty helping hand; They will closely monitor and study all the analytics involved with your social media presence, and in turn, get to work on crucial competitive analysis in order to figure out which areas of your social media marketing need some improvement.
With enough time and care, they’ll provide a well thought out plan for you and show you exactly how you can execute it and achieve results. They’ll also have consulting services on offer for any inquiries, concerns or really anything you think you need to know more about. Now, you may already have a pretty good in-house marketing team that knows how to go about their business, but they might not have enough experience to speak of when it comes to social media. Strategic planning agencies work wonderfully with this kind of model, facilitating better results and guaranteeing overall satisfaction.
Social Media Publishing
Your content is what truly reels in those conversions you actively need. Any successful social media presence hinges on a steady stream of engaging content at strategic intervals of time. Whatever comes out of the virtual mouth of your business on social media is what’s going to define your brand and modify your brand awareness. It is the defining factor when it comes to attracting the kind of crowd you want and facilitating a conversion. In this regard, a social media publishing agency will, upon signing an agreement with you, see to how often your social media posts get published per week or per month, in addition to figuring out which social media networks and platforms your content will best be suited for.
They’ll be in charge of what comes out, when it comes out and where it stays, so to speak. Sounds simple, right? You could do this yourself with the right tools, given you have the time, resources and confidence required to keep it up. And the consulting services provided by a social media planning agency can mesh really well with this approach when it comes to what you share and when you share it. However, you’ll be glad to know that this kind of social media agency is on the lower end of the price spectrum, owing to the fact that they’re more geared towards companies that are just getting on their two metaphorical feet as well as small businesses that don’t really know what they need out of social media yet, and thus, more concerned with community growth than anything else.
Knowing what to share is pivotal, and when or how often to share it is just as significant. But ultimately, the quality of what you share is what determines the kind of clientele you’ll be attracting and whether or not the content is engaging enough is what truly matters. It has been proven that content marketing can significantly reduce cost per lead, and aside from that, people will generally invest their time and eventual resources in high quality, engaging content about your business that’ll enthral the reader (and potential client) with your business’s objectives and your brand. Any business worth its place in the world understand that creating original content can not only aid your business in showing off its skill and expertise but also drive much more traffic to your web presence and dramatically boost your brand awareness.
And lucky for you, content creation agencies are a thing; Not everyone knows how to create quality content aimed at conversion, but an agency comprised of seasoned and creative writers has all the chops necessary to catch the eyes (and hearts) of your targeted audience. Along with exceptional writers, you also get a team of creative designers and skilled editors that will ensure your content stays up to par. Hiring a content creation agency is never a bad idea, and with their assistance in the field of social media marketing, you’ll start raking in that sweet, sweet traffic in droves before you know it.
Having a strong and dependable strategy is definitely a boon to be proud of. Having a timely schedule for social media posts and the ability to consult with professionals before you take the plunge is also pretty good merit. And being able to produce high-quality content on the regular speaks for itself. With all these benefits working together, you’ll have cultivated a healthy community of dedicated and interested followers yearning to learn more and more about your brand. It cannot be overstated that knowing how to build a dedicated and populous community is perhaps the greatest and most significant aspect of social media marketing. Can’t have much of a social media presence if you don’t have people following you, can you?
Who’s going to buy your stuff? Though it isn’t exactly advanced quantum physics when it comes to building and maintaining a community, there are many ways you can achieve this but at the cost of a pretty valuable resource; Time. Running a profitable business and maintaining brand awareness suck up a lot of time and you’ll no doubt find yourself lacking enough time to engage with your followers, address their issues and complaints, take in their ideas and process their thoughts.
To say the very least, it is a difficult and inadvisable endeavour. This is where a community management agency can work wonders; Their whole thing is, as the title says, community management. Having a team of skilled individuals who know the tactics and approaches necessary to help sustain a thriving and loyal community saves you a boatload of time and energy, two resources you’ll find are very limited in the business world. Outsourcing your community management to a dedicated agency is as sound an investment as can be.
Complete Social Media Management
Hopefully, by now you’ll have learned that social media agencies, as varied as they are, are a near essential aspect of any modern and successful business. With one agency handling your planning, another taking care of your publishing, one that churns out quality content at a steady pace and yet another maintaining your followers, it’s no wonder why they’re in hot demand lately. But say you want all of that, say you want every aspect of your social media marketing taken care of while you work on your brand and your inner workings, hiring multiple agencies isn’t exactly a smart idea for a multitude of reasons. But would you believe that there’s a type of social media agency that can handle all of your needs? A one-stop-shop with all the bells and whistles your business needs to keep up with the ongoing and ever-evolving trends of social media and social media marketing?
A complete social media management agency is pretty self-explanatory; Think of them as an in-house social media marketing team that know their way around strategy, can do wonders with publishing, have a knack for pretty witty (and not too gritty) content creation for your social media and can actively and efficiently build and maintain a loyal community of dedicated followers in virtually no time. Sounds too good to be true right? Well, it is, the catch is that it’s the most expensive option of all the types of social media agency available. But regardless of expenses, they’re a perfect option for companies that grow fast and don’t have the resources to keep an in-house social media marketing team in place.
They mostly work on an as-needed basis, making them an ideal option for one-off campaigns aimed at promoting new services or products. It’s imperative, however, to make sure you do your research before going for a complete social media management agency, as you’ll basically be giving them the reigns of your social media presence. Not only will they need to have an attractive track record and the expertise to justify the intimidating price-tag, but they’ll also have to be in tune with your brand identity and business culture as a whole. So if you have the money and confidence to invest in one, we say go for it.
What to Ask Before the Task
When it comes to picking a social media agency, the key phrase here is “See a need, fill a need.” So you’re going to have to ask yourself a handful of nifty questions before you go around looking for a social media agency at random. So why not join us on this (not really) short segment where we explore what you should already know before buying into a social media agency.
Do You Need One?
What better question to start asking yourself than whether or not you really do need a social media agency? Honestly, if you’ve gone down this far in our humble article, you’ve probably already made your mind. But bear with us for a moment and ask yourself again, do you need a social media agency?
It’s a simple inquiry that can be the OK-Go for any agency you’re gunning for. When you approach a social media agency, they’ll generally try to convince you with a song and dance that you need their services, and that may well be the case, but you need to look into what they’re saying on a deeper level to corroborate their pitch with your vision. Is their sales pitch reaffirming your choice? do they have what you think you need? do you even know what you need? They can be very persuasive, so you don’t want to just bite the bullet.
Take charge, ask questions of your own, explore their shtick far enough to know whether or not their services carry the weight you desire. If they reach a point where their presentation isn’t matching up with your business and your needs, then they’re most likely not meant for you. You might even find some social media agencies that straight up tell you that your business and their services don’t quite add up (honesty is the best policy). This saves you a lot of time and resources, giving you more time to continue the search for a proper social media agency.
You’ll quickly realize that there are a lot of social media agencies out there. Sometimes they can be too many to count, and seeing as you’re running a whole business and already have a smorgasbord of things to worry about. So naturally, upon approaching a social media agency, you’ll want to find out what makes them better than the others out there? If you can’t find an answer to this question, then chances are they’re not doing a smashing enough job of showing you their merits. Make no mistake, gentle reader, finding out what separates your social media agency of choice from the rest is a question you should prioritize. Their answer and your investigation should bring into light their strengths and weaknesses, their focus and their methodology. So make it a point to find out whether or not the social media agency you have in mind is truly worth the investment compared to the rest.
Do They Get it?
Going back to what we mentioned before when you make the (strongly informed) decision to hire a social media manager, you rest assured that their focus is 100% on your business. This means that your social media manager of choice has thoroughly studied your business and learned what makes it tick, meaning they can effectively shape their activities around your brand’s best interests. So it stands to reason that a social media agency of your choosing should make a serious effort to understand your business and its direction. It’s simple; You hire them to tend to your social media marketing (and marketing in general) needs.
This should mean that they’re serious about making sure your business thrives and flourishes into what your vision entails. You’ll often find that any representative for a social media agency will throw hype at you about their services, track record, achievements, merits and what-have-you. But is this indicative of whether or not they care about your business? You should make it a clear cut point to only hire a social media agency that honestly wants to help your business and work with your goals, tailoring their services and strategies to your business’s needs. Make sure to read between the lines of what they say when they’re offering to assist your business, you should get a feeling that they’re anywhere near as invested as you are, otherwise, they’re just in it for the dough. You’ll know a social media agency is serious about your business if they bombard you with surveys and assessments and the like when you see initiative is when you should rest easy.
Ask yourself this; Would a regular tailor be able to fashion uniforms and protective gear for a fireman? Would an IT specialist be able to help a weapons systems engineer? And would a humble Profiletree writer know how to assist an underwater welder? (You’d be surprised). The short and not-so-sweet answer to all of these questions is no. Outlandish examples aside, the point we’re trying to get across is that you’d have to be well versed in what the person you’re trying to assist does in general in order to deliver consistent and satisfactory results. To this end, does your social media agency in question have any experience in your industry or niche? Say your business specializes in technology, and the social media agency you’re considering doesn’t have enough (or any) experience with that kind of niche, but they’re more knowledgeable when it comes to clothing businesses.
True, you’ll quickly realize that a sizeable amount of the tactics most agencies use the function in a one-size-fits-all manner, a lot of other techniques simply won’t cut it for a specific business. You should research their past experience in any and all of their projects before signing anything. Not only will this spare you the steep learning curve and process that they’ll have to go through to sync with your objectives, but it’ll also save you valuable time, which directly translates into money saved.
Though this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker in every scenario, it’s still very much worth considering the potential forks (spoons, butter knives, etc.) in the road when you welcome a social media agency with limited experience aboard.
If you’ve been on the internet for any stretch of time at all in the past arbitrary number of years, you’ll figure out that transparency is a common theme throughout the whole worldly web of wideness (does this count as alliteration?). Whatever it is you’re looking to find out more about is bound to have reviews by past and present users, people discussing their merits and shortcomings in forums, articles and blog posts documenting each and every section of the overall experience and even videos about whatever it may be. Much the same applies to a social media agency; Their past campaigns and projects, examples of their work, reviews and ratings. You’ll have probably picked up on the whole “Do your homework” vibe of this article by now, and that’s exactly what you should do when it comes to picking a social media agency.
You need to ask them for past work and about the companies they’ve worked with. This will give you a far better picture of their approach to social media marketing, and how well it can mingle with your own vision and objectives. Check their previous clients’ social media feeds (Twitter comes to mind), are there genuine and believable replies or forms of media? Or is it all just off-putting promotional content and basic links to their posts?
Part of their job is to interact with people on social media and fortify their clients’ brand awareness, with each post fitting into its respective social media platform for maximum effect. Look up the case studies of whichever social media agency you’re considering, take a look at their current and past campaigns, if they have evidence of their achievements, that speaks volumes about their work and whether or not they’re suited for your needs.
Talk to Me
Remember how, when seeking the employ of a social media agency, you limit control and communication? They don’t exactly work in-house, nor do they work strictly for you, so it’s implied that it’s going to be difficult to keep clear and open channels of communication. You should make it a point to prioritize communication above a lot of the other aspects of dealing with a social media agency. Communication, after all, is key. If you have no definite idea of what exactly is going on in the gear works of your social media agency, then how are you supposed to gauge progress? Figure out how often they’ll communicate with you before you commit.
Of course, they’ll send you monthly progress reports and other important logistical data, but you’ll find that it’s mostly done through impersonal channels of communication, mainly via email. Your social media agency should make it a point to set up conference calls at least monthly in order to actually talk to you about your social media marketing needs.
And in that same vein, is it difficult to get in contact with them when you need to? Think back to when you first contacted the agency you were pondering about, how long did it take for them to get back to you? If the answer is anything other than “Promptly,” then you should probably start worrying, since this type of trend isn’t very well known for getting any better. Your social media agency should always be up for communication when you need it. You give them a call? They pick up shortly. You send them an email? They answer in a timely fashion. You ask for specific details or information that is vital to your business? It should be available within acceptable timing. Make it a point to see how well their reaction time is to your demands, it’s a reflection of their overall quality more often than not.
One of the more significant reasons why you’re even considering hiring a social media agency is your lack of in-house personnel. Your workers are already toiling away at their projects and tasks and simply cannot be bothered to learn the ins and outs of social media marketing. Although we stated before that it’s feasible to flip one of your hard-working employees into a social media manager of sorts, and it’s also a smart option for some to just hire a dedicated social media manager, one of the key draws to hiring a social media agency is the fact that they often have adequately-sized teams capable of tackling your social media marketing demands.
So, you should always make it a point to check how many employees they have working for them. Any social media agency worth its salt is going to have to manage multiple clients, so a team of four isn’t going to be able to do that in a timely manner. Think about it; you barely have time to run your own business, are you going to entrust your social media marketing and brand awareness to a social media agency that can barely juggle its own work? Making it a point to learn their employee to client ratio before signing on the dotted line can save you a lot of headaches further down the line.
How are you going to know what they’re doing is working?
When it comes to anything and everything relevant to online marketing, and in turn, social media marketing, metrics are a pretty big deal. You need to make sure your social media return on investment (ROI if you’re that kind of person) is in the clear green. Social media isn’t exactly a black and white affair, whatever entity you decide to hire to take care of your social media marketing needs is going to have to keep up with results analysis and use that data in real-time to optimize. A good step in an even better direction is to ask about the metrics they plan to use, in that sense; You’ll get an idea of how they gauge success and do your own research in the background to figure out whether or not their metrics truly matter when it comes to what you’re aiming for.
A good social media agency will know, based on their study of your business, what indicators to keep an eye on when it comes to performance. And in turn, you should be able to evaluate their efforts month by month on all the important metrics they’ve stated. Did your campaign reach enough people? Did it net you any new fans and followers? What about social media engagement? Did your website traffic go up? These are all significant metrics to keep tabs on. Don’t give into vanity metrics that social media agencies spout out at random, and always make sure their key performance indicators are what your business actually benefits from.
We’ve been going on this whole time about social media marketing and social media agencies, and it’s all pretty impactful information (would we lie to you?). But have you stopped to think about which social networks your business should be on? A common and glaring red flag when it comes to approaching a social media agency about recommended social networks is that they’ll often try to sell you everything. This “shotgun” approach to dealing with social media marketing not only wastes valuable time; It also wastes even more valuable revenue. It’s a good idea to do some research of your own about which social networks you think your brand awareness will grow the most on. Take Facebook for example; It has upwards of 1.3 billion people, most lie within the 25 to 55 range age and with a majority going to the female demographic.
The biggest draw to Facebook is the fact that it’s amazing at building and maintaining relationships, so it makes sense that it’s a great place to fortify your brand awareness and cultivate a strong sense of brand loyalty. What about Youtube? What better way to show off your business, your brand and all your services than by documenting it all in video form? With over 1 billion active users of all ages and backgrounds using Youtube to fill their audiovisual needs, it’s a prime spot to raise your brand awareness, especially if you’re in the service industry. Perhaps you’re more focused on B2B, you need a more professional environment to spread your brand and your company to other prospective businesses. What better place than LinkedIn? With around 600 million users all in the “professional” age range of 30 to 50. It’s a great place for news and relevant articles about various niches and industries you want to keep an eye out, and an even better environment to spark up a professional conversation.
It’s a lucrative playing field for all your business development needs. Information like this is what your social media agency of choice should make clear and put heavy emphasis on when approaching which social network you should invest in. If their advice aligns with your initial (stealthy) research, then you’ll know they at least have a semblance of an idea of what they’re talking about.
Got Anything Else?
Their focus will always primarily be what you’re looking for; In this case, social media marketing. But say you want to make sure your search engine optimization is up to snuff, SEO is what helps your business rise to the top of search engine results pages, which means more visibility and ultimately more traffic. Your social media agency in question can have an SEO consultancy service as well as dedicated personnel for the task. What about web design? Say you’re lacking in that department and need a helping hand.
Well you’ll be glad to know that website design is a common part of a social media agency and can work to your benefit. But just because a social media agency has a long grocery list of services on offer doesn’t mean you should skip right to the contract. You need to factor in the size of the agency as well as its reputation in your niche. Small, lesser known agencies will tout their multitude of services to charm you into biting their bait, but the odds of any of these services being up to your par are probably shallow if they’re not experts in the field. So make sure to see what other services they have available, and if you’re still unsure, you can simply find other services to handle it for you.
Now these are all just some of the questions you have to ask before you sign. You should always make a habit of grilling a social media marketing agency or any digital agency in general for whatever answers you need to rest easy. This is your businesses after all; You want its online marketing and social media marketing to be in professional hands. So take these few humble points into consideration and figure out what else you need to know before you hand over the reins of your social media marketing to a social media agency.
What Budget Will I Need
With all this hard-hitting and bulletproof information running straight towards you at the speed of sales, we’re going to take an educated bet that you’re thinking about the expenses of it all. Like we said before; Cost-effectiveness can be the defining line between a thriving business and another that’s one and a half feet in the metaphorical grave. Managing your budget is something you’ll find is crucial to your continued progress in the business world.
But any industrious business owner knows that you have to spend money to make money. So any motion towards outsourcing a specific part of your business, namely marketing, is an investment in your company’s continued growth. But seeing as how not every social media agency out there is going to be on the same scale of quality, you’re going to get exactly what you pay for with social media marketing at least, and much the same can be said for SEO and other facets of online marketing. So if you think that hiring a cheap social media agency is going to be cost-effective, do keep in mind that you’ll get cheap results, which can spell doom for your online marketing.
We thought it helpful to give you somewhat of an idea of what some of your average services from a social media agency could cost. Bearing in mind that these are 2017 price estimates so prices may have increased since these were reported but should be used as a guideline of social media marketing pricing.
Say you’re looking for some design work, or maybe template creation? These kinds of things can drastically improve your chances of attracting potential leads. And in this day and age, it’ll cost you somewhere in the range of £800 to £4,000. Although you’ll find that most agencies won’t charge you much over £2,000.
What’s a blog without quality content? Suffice it to say that producing quality content on a regular basis is a time and resource-intensive process, especially given how it’s on a continuous basis. Lucky for you, social media agencies can write and edit content for your blog and handle training requirements. It’ll set you back between £400 and £3,000 a month for a modest rate of 1 to 2 posts a week, though you’ll find that it rarely exceeds the £2,500 mark for these kinds of services.
You also have the option of taking on ghostwriters to write content for your blog at a modest rate of between £40 and £400 per post, though you’ll quickly find that most charge you something like £60 to £160, so in all cases, you don’t break the bank, and at the same time, you get to keep your blog alive and well.
Not too surprisingly, services for Twitter aren’t as financially devastating as you’d assume in this trying time of ours. Something as basic as account setups is most likely to cost you £400 to £1600, while most won’t nickel and dime you past £800. Say you’re looking for continuous and ongoing account management as well as some training on the side, the range for these kinds of services rightfully lies within the £400 to £2,500 a month range, with the price usually going up further the more content you want to be provided for your account. But fret not; Most companies won’t charge you over £1,200 a month.
It’s from this point on that you’ll notice the price ranges kind of take a dramatic leap.
For Facebook, the ranges tend to be a bit more on the steep side. And that’s not much of a surprise, given the kind of return on investment you can get from marketing on Facebook. With initial page setup setting you back something in the range of £400 to £2,000 and continuous monthly content management and curation setting you back about £400 to £2,400 a month. Not bad at all considering the kind of return on investment you get.
Now when it comes to Facebook promotion creation, it really depends on the length of the “contest” you have in mind. These are pricier options typically geared towards establishing your brand and spreading brand awareness on as wide a scale as you see fit. With short-term affairs lasting between 1 and 3 months, you’re looking at £1,200 and £16,000. This, of course, includes branding, and somewhat limited promotion on other networks such as Twitter.
Bearing in mind that this fee doesn’t take into account prizes as well as Facebook Ads aimed at promotion. Whereas a longer campaign lasting between 3 and 6 months can include everything the short-term arrangement entails in addition to more elaborate promotion, tailored to your requirements. This will set you back somewhere in the ballpark of £20,000 and £60,000.
Given how time-consuming and resource-heavy creating video content inherently is, the pricing all depends on the level of complexity, the desired length and the overall quality of the video you have in mind. This can go anywhere from £400 to £24,000, which, again, is an investment in your brand, which isn’t exactly a wasted expense when you think about it. The more creative you want your video to be (custom animations, scenes, longer length) It’s going to set you back a lot more than just making a simplistic one-on-one video. Sometimes, you’ll find the rate per minute going up to £800 or more. So be advised.
On Social Media Strategy
As previously mentioned; a proper social media strategy and social media monitoring can dramatically fortify your brand awareness and overall efforts when it comes to social media marketing.
You should bear in mind that the more the number of keywords or phrases goes up, the heavier the toll on your fees it’s going to take. But overall, you get what you pay for. Let’s say that initial setup is going to set you back about £400 to £4,000, with most charging you between £800 and £1,600. Add to this ongoing reporting and consultancy/advisory services costing you £400 to £6,000 a month, with most offering you a ceiling of £1,600.
It’s never a bad idea to spring for a social media strategy audit, either. You’ll want detailed info about your current social media strategy, as well as even more detailed recommendations on how to move forward with your current strategy, or whether or not you need an entirely new one, as well as instructions on how to achieve both and also gauge results. Typically, an auditing service can run you anywhere from £1,600 to £20,000, with most charging you something like £3,200 to £8,100.
Often you’ll find that most agencies will require that you pair social media strategy audits with creation and integration services with existing marketing efforts. This will facilitate the creation of a new strategy (as previously mentioned) and provide more consistent results. This kind of add-on can cost anywhere between £8,000 and £24,300, with the sweet spot being somewhere between £8,000 and £12,000 for most agencies.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to set up and maintain a functional and effective social media strategy. So if you’re going for a big investment, this should be farther up on your checklist when it comes to social media marketing.
On Social Media Training and Consultancy
You’ll always need a guiding hand to help you out with something you’re not particularly well versed in. And you’ll find that a lot of agencies have services where they’ll train you and your personnel in social media marketing, for a nominal fee. If you’re wondering about hourly training and/or consultancy, you’re likely looking at £40 to £400 an hour, while most will charge you between £80 and £200 an hour. Bear in mind though that if you sign on for more than just an hour of service, a lot of agencies and consultants will be glad to give you a discount, almost always.
When it comes to the social media training workshop, you’re looking at about £400 to £6,000 for half a day, which is usually somewhere around 4 hours of training. Although you’ll find that most charge about £1,600 to £2,500, while full days will set you back anywhere between £800 and £12,000, usually for 6 to 8 hours and the most it will set you back between is £3,200 and £4,800. However, please bear in mind that these fees do not include travel and that these sessions are all on-site, not online.
Although these rates can sound humungous to the uninformed, they generally represent a tremendous amount of training. So try not to feel outraged when you have to pay something like £3,200 above for a day-long workshop; Whoever it is that’s responsible for it probably spent upwards of 30 hours creating the whole thing and making sure it’s up to par. You need to factor in preparations as well as the actual time it took to deliver the workshop.
Social Media Marketing: Summary
Social media marketing isn’t just a fad. It is a tried and true strategy that should never be scoffed at by any business, big or small. And the more your understanding of its inner workings (along with online marketing as a whole) grows, the bigger the rewards you stand to reap. With all of this information in mind, your pick of whichever social media agency should be well-informed and accurate. Always be careful of any red flags that they may slip up and reveal. Always pay attention to what they say and what they actually present. And always make sure that your time and money aren’t wasted on services you don’t need, or worse, an agency with limited experience.
We here at Profiletree hope that we could impart even the slightest hint of wisdom when it comes to traversing the online marketing world.
We Are ProfileTree
Established in 2010, we started out as a directory website for small businesses, industrious self-employed individuals and anyone looking to grow their business online.
We have been promoting brands online since and have been successful in growing new brands from launch to 10 million annual website visitors. We work with clients globally to help grow their brands from ideas to fully-fledged, growing businesses. We serve clients across every type of industry, specialising in tourism, education and local enterprise sector. Our clients come to us because we know the digital world, and can provide insights, advice and services to help them survive and thrive in such a competitive marketplace.
As well as working hard for our clients, we run our own internal brand websites and social channels online. We always go the extra mile or two to aid our clients in whatever way we can. If there’s a brand you want taken care of, you can always count on Profiletree.
Interested in search engine optimization? Take your mind off the tiny details and let our team of consultants and highly-skilled SEO nerds handle all your SEO need. From improving search engine visibility to generating traffic towards your sites, to optimizing your online presence for mobile devices and performing full-scale website audits, we guarantee your SEO will stay in top shape.
By now, you’ll know how effective a tool it can be to boost your brand awareness. To that end, we’ll gladly care for your social media presence and help you set up a healthy social media marketing strategy and follow up with competitive analysis reports on the go. Not to mention our expertise with social profile creation, design, implementation guidelines and best practices. We’re rooted in social media, ever since the baby years of Facebook and other emerging social media platforms, we’re well immersed in the social media world and would provide only the best of social media marketing and consultancy for your business.
All the core services we can offer you to improve your business’ online presence are;
- Video Production & Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Web Design & Development
- Artificial Intelligence
- Digital Strategy
- Digital Training
- Personal Branding
Ready to grow your business through social media marketing? Let us help!