Recently, I met with a potential client. We chatted a lot about what their goals are, how social media and digital marketing can help them reach those goals; as well as the results that other clients of Alyssa Gay Consulting have experienced. Of course, budget came up, too. I quickly learned that their budget had previously been spent on a different agency who over-promised and under-delivered. Now the client has a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to social media and digital marketing “professionals.”
This experience is *far* to common. It’s not the first time I’ve experienced it and I’m certain it won’t be the last. Choosing a marketing professional for your business shouldn’t be taken lightly and not everyone will be the perfect fit for each other (even though I wish we could be!). So, how do you determine who to hire as your social media and digital marketing agency? Here are 6 tips to help you navigate the ins and outs of hiring a social media and digital marketing agency.
1. Do your homework before you meet.
Just like you would research a potential new hire for your business before an interview, do the same for each agency you’re considering. Look at their website and see if they have an active presence on their blog and social media. They may not have a high follower count (and watch out for ones that are exorbitantly high as they may be buying followers), but ask about their engagement rate on their own social media platforms. Read their social media content to see if it makes sense and is relevant. These are good indicators of their knowledge of not only the platforms, but of marketing in general.
2. Speaking of writing…how is their writing?
A good social media and digital marketing professional knows that it takes more than just a pretty picture. It also takes copy that converts. This will take some digging on your end (be sure to look at their list of clients and research their presence, too), but a poor writer with spelling and grammatical errors will not reflect well for your business.
3. Can they manage multiple channels?
Today, there are a lot of professionals who specialize in one particular channel. There are others who claim the know-how to run every channel. If your business should be on multiple channels, then be sure that the professional truly understands each of them; including how to optimize the content for each channel to get maximum return for you.
A bonus tip from Entrepreneur: “Make sure your first social media manager hire is well-versed in a social media management software like Buffer or Sprout Social. Using one of these tools will demonstrate that this person is organized to a “T” and capable of stepping up your social media game on not just one platform, but many.”
4. Do they understand both social marketing and social customer service?
Here’s the difference: social marketing is pre-sale and social customer service is post-sale. Social marketing calls for conversation, building trust and familiarity with the potential customer and your brand. Social service calls for empathy, patience, and conflict resolution. They should be able to recognize a problem before it escalates and quickly address it. Remember that everything they are posting/communicating online is there for not just that single customer, but for all customers (past, present, & future) to see.
5. Have they ever had to handle a social media or digital marketing crisis and how did they handle it?
Ask them to define what constitutes a social media crisis (or provide an example). Then, have them the steps they would take to resolve it. They should have a social media policy in place and follow best practices. They should be able to handle it how your company would in a similar situation.
6. Are they as analytical as they are creative?
Effective social media and digital marketing professionals don’t just handle content creation and daily management of your pages. It’s important that they also have an analytical mind so that they are on the lookout for platform algorithm changes, best practices, and new strategies. It’s also important that they provide you with detailed, easy-to-understand reports. This allows you to see what strategies are being implemented, what goals are being met, and how it’s affecting your business’ ROI.
Hiring a digital marketing agency shouldn’t be taken lightly as they will be speaking on behalf of your brand to an infinite amount of customers – both new, old, and returning. Your social media presence isn’t there just for looks and when managed properly, will grow your business. Use these tips when interviewing a social media and digital marketing professional, or for when we meet for coffee to discuss working together!