For the last four years, I have written an article outlining the essential criteria you should/must consider when choosing a social media agency.
The foundation principles have not changed dramatically from 2014 to 2021. However social media certainly has!
The acquired knowledge gained since starting this agency back in 2013 enables us to move clients from zero to 100 in a relatively short period.
But having said this, let’s move straight to the question initially asked. How to choose a social media agency in 2021?
There are seven key areas you should focus on when selecting a social media agency. These seven key areas are also what a social media agency should be focusing on continuously for their existing and new clients alike.
To some extent, I will list them in order of importance, but their interdependence on each other cannot be ignored.
1. The Right Social Media Audience
Building the right audience. An audience that is interested in your industry, product, services, business is critical to success.
Targeting the wrong audience with the best creative will not yield any results.
One of the key metrics Facebook uses to measure audience effectiveness is a relevance score.
Facebook provides a score from 1 to 10 on how relevant your ad is to the audience you are targeting. If your ad is scoring below a five then simply put, your ad is being targeted to an audience that is not interested in your message.
Now the interesting thing about a relevance score for the advertiser and agency alike. Is sometimes your ad is being targeted to the right audience, but your ad is not right. As in the message you are using is just not resonating with your audience and this will also push down your relevance score.
For the other social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat that do not have a relevance score. Your click-through rate, CTR becomes a very strong indicator of relevance. If it is below your industry standard, you can reasonably assume your adverting or audience targeting is wrong. This leads me on to the next key factor to consider when choosing a social media agency.
Data is your single source of the truth. A client we onboarded close to 12 months ago, was not measuring anything. They had a very basic understanding of Google Analytics. They did not know where most of their traffic was coming from, and they did not know how to influence the growth of their brand by analysing the data.
When we launched our first two campaigns, the clients Managing Director asked how they were performing. We politely advised them that while we could offer an opinion, the data would give us a definitive answer.
All of the above metrics were critical in understanding the performance of his campaigns. This is also true for any client we work with or any agency you work with.
The transparency these metrics provide you when working with an agency is the very foundation for a good relationship.
It is not subjective; they are performance-based and clear. Data is the barometer to use when measuring your relationship with any social media agency.
With social advertising providing so many options for creativity. It is important to not only create the right advertising but to also use the right delivery model of that creative on the platform.
Should you use video, static images, canvas ads, carousels, bots, or cinema graphs? Should your video be longer than 7 seconds? Should your copy include emojis? Should your copy on your images be the dominant factor or should the image itself be the focus?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right creative and the right delivery vehicle.
And none of the above discounts the fact that your messaging to your target audience/persona needs to be right on the money.
Are you solving their issue?
Are you helping them:
1. Make money 2. Save money 3. Save time 4. Reduce effort 5. Improve their health 6. Increase pleasure 7. Eliminate pain
It does not matter how much you like it, or we like it. If it does not perform, it is not creative.
However, it is important to make sure as I highlighted in point 1 that you will not know if your creative is good if you are targeting the wrong audience.
The best creative in front of the wrong audience simply will not perform.
Or to think about this a different way. Imagine putting a superannuation ad in front of Year 12 students. Of course, they know it is important to them, but they believe they have more than enough time to save money, and they have no pain yet.
Although if you were to place an ad for how to write an effective job application or CV, then you would certainly have their interest.
A creative ad is an effective ad. No matter the medium this principle holds true.
The fundamental difference with social media advertising, when your targeting is accurate you can test your creative quickly and effectively. You can also do so at a moderate expense, and iterate and improve until you find the most effective method.
It is the only media platform that makes this possible.
You want them to engage emotionally and intellectually and create a bias for action.
The media assets available in social make it possible to engage the consumer meaningfully.
Once you have their attention, you have then earned the right to keep communicating with them.
If only 3 in 100 are ready to buy at any given point, there are 97 people left in your target market that you can influence over a period of time.
If done successfully on social you can leverage this 97 to influence another X. As social media advertising has an inherent feature that no other form of media has. The consumer can “share” your ad! Think about that.
Move fast and break things used to be Facebook’s motto. Social media is like a tidal wave of innovation. The changes that have occurred over the last five years of running this agency are nothing short of staggering.
We have gone from static images to full-blown multi-media delivery assets. This includes 360 videos, AI bots, audience collaboration, Instagram and Pinterest shopping. And the most sophisticated audience targeting on the planet.
Today’s social media agency stays ahead of the curve. We understand what is coming down the pipeline and enable our clients to take advantage early.
Whether it is targeting a native Chinese speaking audience in Australia with ad written in their local language. Sharing multiple bands audiences with a Festival promoter to aggregate benefit. Or targeting B2B customers on Facebook and delivering our client C level leads across the Asia Pacific.
The opportunity to innovate away from traditional, fixed models is endless.
All of the above counts for very little if you can not execute quickly, and effectively.
Speed is a key advantage when it comes to social media. If you move fast, if you move first, you win. It is as simple as that.
When the beta availability to advertise to one target market in 5 different native languages become available, our clients who could use this medium had access and executed quickly.
When the beta availability to advertise on Facebook marketplace become available our clients had access.
When Instagram shopping became available our clients had access.
Knowing how social media is evolving, preparing clients for the opportunity, and executing quickly is a key advantage.
Think about this for a second. If you know anything about social media advertising, you will know that the algorithm plays a major factor in who and who does not see your content. This is both from an organic and paid perspective.
So when the social platforms release new media assets, there is a strong likelihood that they want other brands also to use those media assets. The only way other brands, can see them is if they perform well in the algorithm.
Time after time when we have executed early for our clients with new media assets, they have outperformed all other forms of advertising.
If a social media’s platform goal is to increase users and increase user time. Any form of media that does this will perform well, whether it is paid or organic. Did you know if your ad is performing well on social the cost of delivery goes down?
Your reach goes up and in all likelihood so does your conversions.
We have never had a client who is building brand awareness. Every single client we have worked with ultimately cares about one thing only. A lift in the bottom line.
Because when it is all said and done, revenue minus cost = profit. And without a profit, a business does not grow.
Now while some may argue that companies like Uber or Amazon are not profitable, this is merely a choice as opposed to their position.
A 2020 social media agency not only knows this is critical to business success but also reports on attribution. Because attribution justifies the expenditure. And when the investment is justified, it is never questioned.