Social media continues to evolve and so do the agencies that manage this mainstream media. So how do you choose a social media agency?
Now you also might be wondering why I have called social media “mainstream media?” When you have known TV, Radio and Print to fall into these categories traditionally. Although as you go through your daily routine you will notice, the mobile phone has probably become the new 1st screen, and traditional media as we know it is changing.
The principal reason is that advertising across those mediums is declining in all categories. Television advertising is an exception at this stage.
Conversely, social media advertising is growing at a considerable rate. It is demonstrably cheaper than the less effective and older alternatives.
Regardless of costs, there is no point in advertising somewhere your audience is not.
I refer to social media as “mainstream media” because 52% of all online adults now use two or more social media platforms, and this is growing quarterly and yearly.
Any agency you deal with will know where your audience is. More specifically how you and your brand can access your audience and target market.
Here is the checklist of the key questions you should ask any media agency in 2015 when deciding if they are a fit. This checklist is not a complete list, but certainly sets up the foundation for an effective discovery meeting.
Are they a social media agency?
Trick question I know. However, there are many PR agencies attempting to bolt social to their existing services. The danger in this is that traditional PR is not the same as social. In fact, it is fundamentally different.
The disciplines, skill, and even campaigns work differently to traditional marketing. It is why so many brands are still not performing when it comes to advertising on social.
Do they know where your audience resides?
The answer to this question will always be that it depends on the client. However, in the first meeting, your agency should be able to tell you where your ideal market is and how you access them. Remembering every platform is different.
Of course, provided you know your target market.
However, if you are a start-up or business who is not sure of your ideal target market. Then a strong social media agency will be able to guide you around testing. The focus moving to determine product/service fit placement.
Although prior to executing a number of persona's should be created (3 is ideal).
How do they create and distribute content for each platform?
All social media platforms are different. Or to think about this another way. Every country is different, each city has a distinct culture, and subcultures within them. Social media is no different.
Creating content that works on social media requires an understanding of what content you use and where. Also knowing the best way to leverage the channel or subgroup.
What has their advertising performance been on social?
Unlike any other media medium, the advertising performance on social is backed up by real data. These metrics are performance indicators that your agency can achieve your goals.
Performance is measurable and demonstrable. You should seek to understand what metrics they have achieved on social platforms.
What is platform psychology, and how does this link to social architecture?
As mentioned above every platform is different, and the psychology of the user is different.
For example as a user, I may use LinkedIn and Instagram. But I will expect different content from your brand on each of these platforms.
However, I will also want to see consistency across the social media landscape when I come across your brand.
Fundamentally this is about setting up your social architecture correctly and having a content strategy.
What do they see coming down the road in social media and social advertising? What advantages does this offer your brand?
Simply put, social is changing every day. A good agency will be able to talk to you about today's capabilities and how to maximise your investment. A great agency will be aware of, the future roadmap and how your brand can leverage it.
For example, they will discuss dynamic re-targeting, life-time value audiences, social commerce, and messaged based advertising.
We have already begun developing a range for clients for when this advertising option is available in Australia.
Of course, there are many other questions to ask when interviewing a social media agency.
But it is critical to ask them given the level of sophistication required to run social advertising these days, you do not want to be investing your money poorly.
As an educated buyer, always makes a better buying decision.