Things to ask yourself before hiring a social media agency

1. Why are we ‘doing social’?
Think and think some more. The objective of your social media presence will determine all your activities on social media, so be clear about this.

E.g. Dell acts as a ‘thought leader’ in its various Facebook pages, Ching’s Secret dishes out yummy recipes & food tips. Gunpowder restaurant on Facebook even connects with its patrons for reservations & relevant announcements.

Your company could be getting into social media for any of the following reasons. Or could be something other than this list (let me know)

–          To talk to prospects/potential clients

–          To promote offers/activities/campaigns

–          For leads/sales

–          To deal with angry customers/ negative feedback

–          As an additional channel to talk to customers

–          Because everybody is doing it

–          To ‘get with the times’

2.  Do I really need to be everywhere?

So many social networking sites – Facebook, Google Plus (ahem..), Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Many more platforms proliferate as we speak. However, locate where your audience hangs out & figure out ways to connect with them.

3. What will the ‘Social media guys’ do?

Ideally, your agency will be your guide, apprentice, critic & friend all rolled into one. Any agency worth its salt will ask exhaustive questions about your brand, industry & business.  Then, you will be advised on ways to build your presence on social media (refer point 1)

Here comes the real litmus test. Shady agencies would then feed you a generic presentation offering a ‘strategy for communication to leverage your brand on social platforms’. However, people who know their SMO will give you a specific strategy with a content calendar –timelines, frequency of updates, estimated impact, etc.

4. How will I talk to my customers, especially the pissed off ones?

Remember, anything that you social media representative posts from your account can come back to bite you in the behind.  Talk to the agency and establish the tonality/language of all communication – decide whether you want to come off as cheeky, funny, serious, helpful, etc . Have a clear process set up for addressing irate clients – standard initial response, a specific person in the company to escalate the complaint to, follow-up responses and final closure.

5. How do I know if they’re doing their job right?

You know why you started out, now assign measurable outcomes to your objectives and monitor your social media ROI. For instance, you could check out the various metrics listed below for each business objective. Analyse periodically & suitably modify your approach on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, etc.

Engagement Leads/Sales Reputation Visibility
Likes No. of leads Tonality Search results
Post Sales cycle Views of post
Tags/Share Rate of conversion Traffic (directed to website/social platform)
Total fans

Got an interesting story/useful tips about your company on social media? Do share!

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