It seems like every marketing and PR shop out there is “doing” social media – everything from influencer outreach and managing your social media presence to “getting you (insert number here) more followers – guaranteed!”. And yes, Tuvel is also a digital communications shop that offers social media services (and we do some great work, too). But the task of choosing a social media agency to help you out should not be taken lightly.
Before even starting to look at potential social media agencies, there are 4 important steps you need to take (by the way, this will help you tremendously when it comes time to writing up that RFP for agencies to bid on):
Do your research. Just as you would research the online and offline publications your audience is reading, you should also do some preliminary research into their social media habits. Are your customers/members/attendees using social media? If so, where are they? What are they talking about? This is certainly something a social media agency can help you do, but this cursory research will help you gain valuable insights and establish goals. Which is the next thing you should do…
Establish goals. This is where you need to ask yourself WHY your brand should be using social media. Use the insights from your preliminary research, in conjunction with your high-level business goals, to determine specific, trackable and realistic goals for your social media marketing efforts. Examples might be:
- Increase awareness of your brand or product.
- Establish a customer service channel through social media.
- Establish your brand as a thought-leader.
- Increase new leads and sales.
- Increase traffic.
Evaluate resources. You may have already determined that you need to hire a social media agency to provide your organization with the additional knowledge and people-power to run a successful social media program; however, you should still evaluate the resources you already have in-house who will be assisting with program implementation, or even carrying on the effort after the agency has laid the groundwork.
Set expectations. Make sure that your internal team and management are clear on what to expect from social media. Everyone needs to understand that it will take time to build traction. Social media is also so much more than a set of tools – a well-defined social media strategy will have content, email, PR, sales and customer service elements woven into it – and everyone will need to pitch in time and effort to make it work, in tandem with the agency.
What steps do you take before hiring an outside marketing or communications agency, social media or otherwise?