At this point most businesses have figured out that social media needs to be a part of their marketing mix. Those who keep their heads in the sand aren’t just missing out on new business, they’re losing what they already have/had. This brings me to the topic at hand.
Every company needs someone who understands social media to represent them in the digital space. Your current marketing team might understand the basics, but they don’t have the time or experience to handle it in a way that will help your business. That gives you two options: Hire someone in-house or Hire an agency to manage it for you. Either way, you’re about to make a very big decision and you need to think long and hard about several things before you pull the trigger.
Here’s the reality of the situation. There are millions of recent graduates who think they know enough about social media to handle it for your company. There are also a million self-proclaimed social media gurus (ninjas, experts, consultants, specialists, etc.) who think they know enough about social media to handle it for your company.
The gap that most businesses don’t realize, until after they’ve spend significant amounts of resources on it, is that these people don’t know how to apply social media to business. There’s always going to be people who believe that the success of social media should only be measured by social media metrics.
“Things are going really well, we picked up 1000 new likes on Facebook last month and 2000 new followers on Twitter. We got set up on Pinterest and Instagram as well and we’re getting a really good response and plenty of engagement. We’re going to be moving towards a more visual content strategy and for that we’ll be investing 50% of our budget into original content creation.”
There’s nothing wrong with hearing the above statement from your social media manager… unless that’s all you hear. Your ego is really the only “person” concerned with your follower count, likes, retweets, pins, +1′s, etc. What you really need to know is that these efforts are bringing in more money than they cost you, the basic question of good business.
“We coordinated with sales to create two new funnels last month. One was focused on generating leads for X service and one is focussed entirely on driving sales for Y product. We made a slight shift in our content strategy across all social channels to help prime our audience for the new offers and we created several unique pieces of content to help drive a larger targeted audience into our funnels. We generated over three hundred leads for X product with a 23% conversion rate resulting in an increased revenue of $XXXXX. Direct sale from social media increased by 10% resulting in an additional $XXXX in revenue.”
That kind of report would make you happy, am I right? So, how do you know which of these you’re going to get before spending a decent chunk of money on hiring/paying for management long enough to see the results. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Here are a few good questions to ask anyone who thinks they can handle your social media efforts.
note: The red flag isn’t a bad answer but, as I said earlier, it shouldn’t be the only answer.
1. How do you think social media can help our business?
Good Answer: I know that you’re already using your website to drive sales and sales leads. Social media will amplify our ability to drive traffic to the website, thus increasing both sales and leads.
Red Flag: I think it will help to build a better relationship with you and your customers and it can serve as a tool to tell a better brand story. These will lead to a larger following and higher brand recognition.
2. How will you measure the success of your efforts?
Good Answer: I’ll be coordinating with the marketing and the sales teams to place social media into our current process so that we can trace sales leads and/or purchases directly back to my work.
Red Flag: I’ll make sure to grow our social following by at least X followers every month and our engagement will go up X% monthly as well.
3. Which channels do you think we should use and why?
Good Answer: I’ll want to take a closer look at the information you have on your current customers before making any decisions, but from what I know about your business and your customers right now I think we would start with X, Y, and Z because of the high level of users in the target industry and in our demographic.
Red Flag: We’ll definitely want to start with Facebook because EVERYONE uses Facebook. I think we should also hop on Instagram because it’s a good way to show people the brand instead of just telling them about it, it’s also one of the most popular social networks right now.
Moral of The Blog Post: Don’t hand over your social media to someone who isn’t going to help your business. Even social media efforts focused purely on PR should have a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) outside of “likes”.