You’re at the point when your business is gaining traction and you realize you need help marketing your brand on social media. Congratulations!
But there’s a problem…
You’re no marketing expert.
You have no experience in scheduling posts, tracking metrics, driving website traffic, and converting leads. The entire social media process feels so overwhelming that you’re not even sure where to start.
Plus, you’ve got countless other responsibilities in your business, such as finance and customer service. Who has the time to add social media on top of that?
So, you’ve settled on hiring and working with a social media marketing agency so that they can handle the brunt of the work. Social media agencies, as you may have known, are capable of scaling businesses at a reasonable cost as compared to hiring an in-house team (although that certainly has its benefits!).
As you do your due diligence in choosing the right social media marketing agency, you soon find yourself asking: “Who should I trust with such a crucial aspect of my business?”
This blog post will give you an in-depth checklist that’ll come in handy as you go through your vetting process. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to:
- Consider if the agency you’ll be hiring is capable of achieving your goals.
- Keep an eye out for red flags that could have an undesirable effect on your ideal relationship with your social media marketing agency.
6 Red Flags to Look Out for With a Social Media Marketing Agency
1. They Promise Overnight Fixes With Incredible Results
A good social media marketing agency knows that marketing campaigns require quality time and that every situation is unique. Building a brand on social isn’t an overnight fix that produces instant results. It takes weeks, months, and years of dedicated attention.
If, for example, an agency says that they can grow your account from 0 to 10,000 followers in 30 days, you might want to reconsider. Knowledgable experts in the marketing industry know that this is highly unlikely to happen without black hat techniques. And such techniques could cause you long-term (and even permanent) damage online.
An agency that promises quick fixes that produce insanely positive results will take shortcuts to get there, delivering you substandard outputs that could give you a major headache in the future. (Or, they just won’t deliver at all.)
A prospective vendor should first dig deep and get a good grasp of your business, your goals, and your vision. They should carefully evaluate your needs and requests and have the willingness to learn within a reasonable amount of time, before proposing a solution.
They need to show that they care and not just offer a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach. While there are definitely best practices in any agency’s toolbox, social media marketing should be customized to each individual business. Make sure that they recommend personalized strategies that can solve your social media’s pain points. You aren’t like other brands, and they’re not like you.
With the timeline, you have to be lenient yet realistic with your expectations. Why? Because the agency needs time to get up to speed with your brand voice and business knowledge. However, if it’s been a month or two and they still don’t get what your business is all about, then they’re probably missing the mark.
2. The Social Media Marketing Agency Hasn’t Worked With a Client in a Similar Industry as Yours
Some agencies have broad experience in various fields, while others are experts in specific niches.
If you’re establishing a small- or medium-sized business and not trying to launch a global brand, it makes sense to work with a social media partner who already has processes and practices in place for a business like yours, and who can get your social media campaign up and running efficiently and on a leaner budget.
Furthermore, at a minimum, the agency should at least have some experience working with companies in your industry. And, more importantly, they should be able to show that they have had satisfactory success with these clients.
Inquire about their clients’ platforms and other references that showcase their capabilities and past work, the years they’ve been servicing your industry, and the educational/professional background of their team members. If some details look sketchy, you might want to keep hunting for a social media marketing agency.
As an example, let’s say you’re a lawyer looking for someone to manage your law firm’s social media presence. An agency that has zero experience with the law and legal jargon might not be the best equipped.
Now, none of this is to say that an agency can’t learn your industry and become familiarized with it. But it certainly is something that you should at least consider.
3. Their Guiding Philosophy is the “Numbers Game”
As much as you might like to think that social media is just about the followers, it’s not. Followers aren’t a true sign of success. While a high number of followers might make you look popular online, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re seeing results (read: conversions).
Some social media marketing agencies may try to win you over with the promise of huge numbers. As you work with them, they might measure success in terms of how many new followers they got you that week across Facebook, Instagram, and your other profiles.
But this isn’t the end of the conversion—not nearly. How many conversions did they drive?
Real success comes when social media partners ignite results that make an impact on your business. We recommend that you look at how an agency delivers its value. When considering a potential social media marketing agency, ask them these questions:
- How do you plan to engage with followers and influence them to purchase our business’s products/services?
- How will you provide ROI-driven results?
- What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you highlight, and how does that support the goals of my business?
If the agency can’t offer you concrete answers to these questions, then it’s best that you keep shopping around.
4. Their Own Platforms Are Questionable
You need is a leader. It’s really off-putting when a social media marketing agency is trying to gain someone’s business but they can’t even manage their own social media well. So, if you’re considering an agency and see that they have no accounts, inactive accounts, or poorly managed accounts, it’s a red flag.
Their own social media presence and branding is part of their portfolio. If they’re not able to market themselves adequately, then how can you expect them to be able to do that for you?
This doesn’t mean that they need to be famous online. Most businesses aren’t. But it should be very obvious that they’re putting considerable time, effort, and resources into their social channels. What level of quality do you want in your social management? If you don’t see it on their pages, it’s a strike against them.
5. They Generally Sound Too Good to Be True
We don’t mean to sound negative. Here’s the thing, though: When your gut is telling you that something is too good to be true, it’s very likely that it is. Your intuition is there to do a job. Listen to it.
There are a number of big social media firms, “experts,” and “gurus” that profess to be a jack-of-all-trades in social media. But when it comes to execution, they just can’t do it. As they say, “A master of everything is a master of nothing.”
Plus, there’s no silver bullet in social media marketing. It takes time, effort, and integration to grow a large and engaged group of followers who will one day do business with you. Social media is constantly changing, and a quality social media marketing agency will tell you that they’re always learning, upgrading, and testing.
We touched on this earlier when talking about agencies that offer quick fixes to your problems. Other things to look out for are:
- Agencies who make guarantees. In the world of social media marketing, there are very few guarantees.
- Any agency that claims they can do it all.
- Agencies who promise to make you go viral. Again, they can’t really guarantee this, and yet we see it all the time.
6. They Don’t Use Quality Tools
The quality of tools and software a social media marketing agency invests in indicates how dedicated they are to producing successful results. For instance, what do they use to edit and optimize their images? How do they track analytics and insights? What’s their process for researching the best hashtags to use?
These tools, while an additional cost to the agency, are an investment. They save time and therefore money and allow them to do a far better job than they could without them.
Importantly, they should be using a top-quality social media management tool like e-clincher—a one-stop-shop for social tasks. Agencies manage accounts for multiple clients. They should have an efficient and productive way to streamline this management. Handling social media manually is out of the question, with such a large number of profiles to deal with.
A tool like e-clincher puts everything under one roof—scheduling posts, finding images, managing inboxes, measuring and tracking analytics, finding powerful hashtags, determining the best times to post, and so on and so on.
Ask about the tools the agency uses to ensure that they’re on top of their game.
The Bottom Line About Working With a Social Media Marketing Agency
This blog focused on the red flags, but we want to be very clear: There are plenty of reputable, successful social media marketing agencies out there. Our point is that you must do your research and due diligence when looking for an agency. Not all will be qualified, and even among the qualified ones, not all of them will be the right fit for you. And that’s okay!
Take the time to find the social media marketing agency that fits your needs and your brand values. Work collaboratively with them and give them the support they need. Stay in communication to ensure you’re always on the same page. If you do these things, you’ll steadily work toward your marketing goals and reach them in no time.
Ready to take the next step? Sign up for a free trial of e-clincher today. Social management has never been this fast or easy.