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20 April 2020

How to find the best social media marketing agency for your brand

Followers social media marketing

Before setting out to find the perfect social media agency partner, it’s critical to know exactly what you want. If you don’t have a good understanding of the services that your company needs, then you risk partnering with an agency that is providing services that aren’t directly beneficial to your bottom line.

Understand your company goals, needs, and budget

Before setting out to find the perfect social media agency partner, it’s critical to know exactly what you want.

If you don’t have a good understanding of the services that your company needs, then you risk partnering with an agency that is providing services that aren’t directly beneficial to your bottom line.

Here are some good questions to ask yourself in order to get a clear understanding of what marketing needs are required:

1. What kind of goals are you trying to achieve?

– This could be follower growth, direct sales, site traffic, awareness, etc.

2. Does your company have any special requirements?

– Some companies have special legal regulations or requirements about how their social media can be managed, i.e. financial and medical industries.

3. What’s your budget?

– Are you on a shoestring budget? You may need to work with a freelancer before you can scale to the level of hiring an agency that specialises in social media.

– Do you have a healthy budget? With healthy budgets come great responsibility. How are you going to ensure that you can utilize the budget in a way that will produce results that will bring a noticeable impact on your business?

4. Do you like traditional or modern teams?

– Every marketing firm is different in the sense that some are more traditional or old-fashioned, while others are extremely creative and innovative. Decide what agency type is a better fit for your brand.

Work with a local or national marketing firm?

Marketing agencies tend to fall into two categories – National, or Local. Which type of agency would fit your brand better?

National firms tend to be more expensive, traditional, and reliable to fulfill the exact scope of work for every project. However, they are so large that they may not value your business enough, leaving you feeling undervalued and under-serviced.

Meanwhile, local agencies tend to be more cost-effective and innovative, but it can be difficult to find one that you can trust. At the same time, local agencies can tend to be more invested in your business and value the client relationship, driving them to work harder to keep you happy as the client.

If you are part of a large brand with 7-digit marketing budgets, then national firms could be your best option. However, if your brand is working with 6-digit budgets or below, a local agency may give you the most value for your dollar in services.

How to search for top agencies

Finding the right agency that will deliver the results you want can be like finding a needle in a haystack – that is, if you don’t know about tools that are available to help you.

There are several companies that provide online platforms where clients can review agencies that they have worked with. Clutch.co is a leading agency-ranking site which uses data insights to show you agencies with the highest reviews and best client results.

Another similar website that does agency ranking is called UpCity. You can utilize UpCity to find agencies both locally and nationally that are ranked based on the quality of their work.

Another way to find great agencies is to search on Google for local companies with great reviews. Google reviews are a great way to verify if an agency does quality work and has a trail of happy customers.

Explore their online presence and credentials

Any good marketing agency should have a significant online presence. If you can’t find a social media agency active on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, then that could be a red flag.

Look for agencies that are present across multiple social media platforms, producing quality content every week.

You can also explore their credentials on sites like BBB.org. Any agency that has been around for more than a couple of years should have various awards and accolades throughout the internet.

Always do your research on an agency’s owners and their backgrounds to ensure they have the level of experience that you require for your marketing needs.

Get a proposal and clear scope of work documentation

During the vetting process for an agency partner, a big way to tell if you are going to like an agency or not is how well they handle the proposal process.

1. Do you feel like they took the time to truly get into your shoes and understand your marketing needs?

2. Were they quick to communicate and get things done?

3. How well did they do at presenting their proposal to you?

4. Did the proposal make sense or was it just a cookie-cutter template?

Make sure that before you move forward with a decision that you get a clear Scope Of Work (SOW) from the agency. This document outlines all the details and deliverables that can be expected from the agency partnership.

Without a clear SOW, you may be hiring the agency for an unknown scope of work which may not align with what you were expecting to get. This can cause major issues down the road including loss of money, lawsuits, etc.

Make sure that the SOW clearly states every service you are seeking, and the different deliverables of each service along with budgets and timelines.

Make a final decision

You’ve worked your way through multiple proposals and presentations and you finally reached your top 2-3 agencies. How can you decide which social media agency to go with?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you and your team decide who the best partner will be:

1. Did they handle the sales process smoothly?

2. Do you feel like they have truly taken the time to learn about your company and your specific needs?

3. Did you feel good about talking to them and did you get along with them?

4. Does their agency have good online presence, reviews and accolades?

5. Do they have great case studies to back up their work?

6. Did they give you a clear proposal that not only makes sense but “feels good” to your gut?

7. Are they going to lock you into a contract that will hold you hostage even if you aren’t happy with the work?

8. Have you spoken with agency references or other people who have worked with the agency?

9. Do the employees at the agency seem happy?

These are some great questions to ask yourself as you make your final decision.

Once you have decided, let the agency know that they are your top pick, and move forward with the contract and onboarding process.

If you get into a partnership with an agency that is not working – make sure you communicate with them clearly about your feelings and needs. Sometimes communication can help to solve relationships that may seem doomed.

Never pay an agency more than one month up-front for work, unless the agency is very renowned and well known.

In the end, you never know if the agency partnership will work out until you jump in and give it a try. Most agencies seek to do good work, while others are just out to make a quick buck. Use online tools, and trust your gut!

Happy social media agency hunting!

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