Having a strong social presence can really help your brand, and though anyone can go online and create a Facebook page or post a few Tweets, that’s not the best way to grow a loyal customer base.
So when vetting a social media agency, what should you look for? What traits and skills are needed to ensure your success? We asked 11 founders what competencies they in particular looked for when hiring a social media agency.
Make sure that the social media agency is actually getting engagement in things they are doing. Anyone can manage a social media account, but few can manage it and get a lot of engagement. Make sure that they can prove results and show you from their experience that they can do the same for you and your business.
Any agency can handle the mechanics around social media. I look for companies that demonstrate a huge amount of heart and care for the work they do. I want deep thinkers who are only working with organizations with whom they are aligned. I look for companies that know what they stand for, are bold with their ideas and are dynamic with their execution. All of that is heart -- they've got to have it.
Social media agencies are almost always more expensive than hiring top global talent to work remotely and only paying the hours they bill. The one thing a social media agency could have on remote talent is client relationship management. That means being responsive, managing the relationship in a way that shows that the client is important and always following through on promises.
The difference between an effective social media agency and an ineffective one comes down to their use of numbers to track actual business impact. A lot of social media workers get lost in the likes, fans and comments and lose sight of the actual business goals that these actions should be driving. If a clear path can be shown to drive business, the agency can move needles in a big way.
One of the biggest challenges when hiring a social media agency is finding an agency that understands your niche and your target audience. There is a synergy that happens when the social media team understands the nuance of your niche, and those who do will be able to craft effective messages and ultimately get the best results.
Your social media agency should understand and take ownership of your brand as much as you would. They should care about your success, your customers and your employees, and how all of these play a role in your social media presence. The social media role should not be given to a vendor, but rather, to a trusted partner of your business.
Data-driven decisions are the gold standard in management today. You want a social media agency that is able to take advantage of cutting-edge technology and techniques while also keeping track of data and other metrics. That way, you can easily see what is working and what is not in your marketing plan and be able to cut or expand on certain strategies.
If you are going to run our social media campaigns and daily updates, I want to see some creativity -- something to set us apart. I want to see new and exciting activities that will create an online community surrounding our brand, something that will make us recognizable. However, this creativity must be carried out with respect to what our brand's values are and what we have already become.
Social media demands a faster pace than websites, banners, print, TV, or billboards. Great social campaigns run at the speed of conversation. So a social agency must be built to iterate and deliver creative quickly. Full disclosure: I lead a social media agency, so I hope my clients hold us to this standard.
These answers were provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Originally published Mar 16, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017