One of our Supercool Blog readers left the following comment on a recent post.
“I have been contacted by or contacted social media companies for 3 years. I have been a customer of 5 or 6 companies to help me with social media. I have yet to work with a social media marketing company who provides me with the results I am seeking. What questions should I ask of a social media company? The barriers to entry are easy to say, I am a social media company. How is a person to know the skill, knowledge, and competency of a social media company?”
So instead of a quick reply, here’s a full article to address his comments and questions. You’re welcome.
Yes, there are a lot of flakes and posers out there but at the same time, social media encompasses a million different things. Not every social media company is good at, or has experience in, everything.
- Most social media companies, and really most marketing companies in general, will tell you they can do anything, regardless of whether or not they have experience doing the specific things you need. The simple reason for this is that just like you, they’re in business to make money and it kills them to turn you away. To your comment…
“I have yet to work with a social media marketing company who provides me with the results I am seeking”
First, are you being super clear about the results you’re seeking? The best way to do this is to start with your goals. What are you trying to achieve with social media? Don’t say “more likes and followers” or I will slap you right through the internet. I mean, how will social media contribute to your overall marketing and sales?
Next, specifically what do you need a social media company to do to help you reach reach those goals? What are the tactics and measurable actions that will help you get there?
- Do you have clearly defined goals and objectives and need a social media company to develop the strategy, plan, tactics, measurable actions and manage the execution?
- Do you need help defining your your goals and objectives and laying out what social media can do to get you there?
- If you already have a strategy, do you need the company to do specific tasks like set up and manage your social media channels, make videos, blog, share content, run contests, reach out to blogs, publications and influencers?
Once you’ve got that figured out, match up what you need done to what each company does… not what they want to do or think they can do, but what they actually do, and have successfully done. The exception to this is if they’ve been successful in related areas, have a good track record and can show you a convincing plan that will get you where you need to go. On to your questions…
“What questions should I ask of a social media company?”
Here are the questions I think are most important:
- What’s your assessment methodology as you start with a new client to help me determine what I need and how you can help?What similar experiences have you had with what I’m trying to do, my demographic, similar industries, tactics, approaches, challenges?
- Do you have case studies you can show me?
- Will you be able to draw a line between the actions you take and the goals I have?
- Will I be able to see exactly what you plan to do each day?
- Will we have weekly status calls?
- Do you monitor activity and draw lines between the activity and the objectives?
- Will you provide analytics to show progress and areas that need improvement?
- Does your team work dynamically and make real time adjustments to the campaign or do you just set it and go?
- Do you like to work collaboratively with your clients or would you rather I leave you alone and let you do what you do?
“How is a person to know the skill, knowledge, and competency of a social media company?”
That’s a really tough one, and as with anything else like picking a construction company, car repair guy or the right investments, even if you do your due diligence, you’re gonna goof sometimes and pick the wrong one.
Look at the work they’ve done. Are they thought leaders. Do they publish articles on social media topics? Talk with them on the phone, not just by email. Do they seem to genuinely understand what you do, and need to achieve, or do they throw lots of buzzwords at you and speaking in generalities?
Here are 3 more ways you can mitigate your risk at the start:
- Pay the social media company to develop the overall strategy, plan, tactics and measurable results first, with the agreement that the fees will be credited toward the monthly execution if you’re pleased and decide to move forward
- Pay a lower monthly retainer against incentives for hitting certain objectives
- Sign up for a 3-month trial period to see if you like working with them and they’re getting the results you expect