Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Social Media Marketing Agency
Venturing into the vast land of social media marketing can be a little overwhelming. Where do you begin? Where is the best place to “land?” Who should you work with? How much will it cost, and what’s the ROI going to look like? These are all valid questions that can keep entrepreneurs from signing up with a social media marketing agency.
It’s not uncommon for business owners to feel apprehensive about handing over the reins to their social profiles and digital marketing strategy. The problem is, they can’t do it all themselves, and sometimes hiring a firm dedicated specifically to helping you meet your goals is the best option.
Reasons to Hire a Social Media Marketing Agency
The following are key reasons why entrepreneurs should consider working with an agency:
Let’s dive into each of these points, so you can decide whether or not hiring an agency is the right option for your business.
1. You Don’t Have the Time
Social media marketing is hard work. Setting up accounts, updating them regularly, and engaging with followers is a time-consuming process. Even more so if you’re juggling multiple accounts for your business that include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and some other platforms you might have heard of.
If you already have a full workload on your plate, it’s understandable how adding one more thing to the daily routine can be way too overwhelming.
When you hire an agency, it will take care of creating Facebook posts and Twitter updates and everyday tasks like responding to user queries and comments in a timely and professional manner. They can also monitor your digital presence, so you don’t have to worry about the ups and downs of social media — unless, of course, you want to stay up to date with it.
2. You Don’t Have the Skills
Some entrepreneurs are tempted to set up accounts on different social media platforms, have their friends and families rubber stamp them as official profiles, then call it a day. Or worse, they’ll rely solely on their digital marketing team to handle it all for them — a huge mistake, if you may ask.
Social media marketing requires specialized skills and knowledge to navigate the ever-changing landscape of what’s popular, what works and how to use social media as a rewarding tool that gives back to your business. If you’re unfamiliar with all things social, you’re not going to be able to produce effective campaigns that generate results.
3. You Need a New Perspective
Setting up a Facebook page, creating a Twitter handle, and figuring out how to schedule posts on Instagram is half the battle. Figuring out the ROI for your efforts takes trial and error. In addition, your business might not be ready for some of the more advanced features social media has to offer, like paid advertising.
Getting a professional perspective on your social media marketing campaign will help you determine the right goals for your campaigns and how to give each platform its unique voice. In addition, it will keep you from wasting time with strategies that aren’t going to move the needle for your business.
4. You Have No Idea How to Measure ROI
Social media marketing is all about numbers: the number of followers you have, how many times they’ve liked or commented on your posts, how many new people visit your website, and so on.
There’s a lot to keep track of when monitoring the ROI to your social media campaigns, and if you aren’t prepared with the right tools for tracking, it’s going to be tough to determine if your efforts are giving you the results you need.
5. You’re Not Using Multimedia
Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine are popular social media sites that focus on multimedia content like photos, videos, and GIFs. Considering more than half of people over age 45 would rather watch a video about a product rather than read about it, it’s important to recognize that your brand needs a visual presence across all the different social media platforms.
6. You’re Not Using Social Listening
Social listening is just what it sounds like: monitoring social media channels to determine the sentiments being expressed in conversations around your business, products, or industry. By identifying which topics are trending, you can join in on relevant discussions that could potentially turn into partnerships or joint ventures while turning away from any negative feedback about your business.
7. You’re Unsure of What Tools to Use
Conversely, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of social media tools available to help you craft the perfect posts, analyse their effectiveness and reach new people who are interested in your business. You might not know which tools are worth investing in and which ones aren’t worth your time.
In such a dynamic industry, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with social media marketing. By enlisting the help of a professional, you can rest assured that your efforts will be practical enough and leave you with enough time to work on other parts of your business.
10 Social Media Statistics You Should Know in 2021
Before we go any further, let’s explore ten social media statistics to consider before hiring a social media marketing agency.
Before we go any further, let’s explore ten social media statistics to consider before hiring a social media marketing agency:
- There are over 4.48 billion social media users at the time of writing this. That’s a 5% increase from last year’s count.
- The number has also doubled from 2.07 billion in 2015 (source: backlinko).
An average social media user engages with about 6.6 social media platforms, spending an average of 145 minutes (2 hours 24 minutes) per day on these platforms (source: Statista).
How Much Time Have People Been Spending on social media Daily Over the Years (from 2012 to date)?
- The social media growth rate from 2015 was 12.5%. However, it would decline in 2019 to 9.2%. That’s because a majority of internet users are already on social media.
- By region, Asia has the highest social media growth rate (at 16.98%). It’s closely followed by Africa (at 13.92%) and South America (8%). Coming up next is North America (at 6.96%), then Australia (4.9%) and lastly Europe (4.32%).
Social Media Growth Rate by Region
Annual Social Media Growth in % (2021
- 4 93.33% of internet users are now on social media. In a similar token, 85% of mobile internet users are active on social media. Meaning, your business can still thrive with social media alone.
- Facebook is the leading social media network (with 2.9 billion monthly active users. YouTube comes next (with 2.3 billion monthly active users) and then WhatsApp (2 billion active monthly users).
- Of the total social media users, 54.4% are female, while 46.6% are men. While most adults say they use Facebook and YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram are especially common among young adults (30 years and below).
- Social media has now overtaken TV as an advertising vehicle. With this, 80% of businesses now have a presence on social media. The only problem is, they’re not sure what to do with it.
How to Shortlist a Social Media Marketing Agency
Not all social media marketing agencies are the same. Some know their game better than others. Some are more adept at handling various tasks, while some focus solely on the task at hand.
To help you with your search for one, here are ten points to consider before hiring a social media marketing agency:
The first step is to do your homework on the available social media marketing agencies.
By knowing what to look for, you can save time and effort in your search. We recommend searching on Google Questions like “social media marketing agency near me” or “Hiring a social media marketing company.”
Next, you want to consider the experience of each company in social media marketing. Knowing what they’ve handled in the past will give you an idea of how well they can handle your needs.
Another important factor is your budget. How much are you willing to spend on their services? That will help narrow down your list when looking for social media marketing agencies to hire.
As for their rates, know that there is a correlation between experience and cost. That is to say, the more experienced the agency is (and the bigger they are), the higher their prices tend to be.
5. Flexibility and Communication
For businesses with many moving parts, you might want to look for an agency that’s flexible in terms of communication. They’re not limited to only one particular way of communicating. They can adjust and meet the needs of your business.
6. Agency Culture
If you can, try to look for an agency with a culture that suits your company’s culture. It may not be appropriate for you to work with an agency where employees make memes all day or say “dope” in official communications. It all boils down to who you are as an organization.
In line with agency culture, you might also want to consider the reputation of a social media marketing agency. Look for one that’s been around long enough and has a good track record in their field of expertise.
A social media marketing agency should also be able to show you its portfolio. It’s one thing to see what they can do; it’s another to be shown exactly how they do it. Look for an agency with a good mix of case studies in different types of businesses—from small companies to big corporations to celebrities.
9. People Skills
You’re hiring a social media marketing agency for their people skills at the end of the day. After all, they are the ones who are going to be communicating with your customers online. Make sure they have strong written and verbal communication skills (including grammar!). They should also be able to understand and adapt to your brand and its voice.
10. Free Consultation
Finally, consider a company that offers a free consultation with no strings attached. That way, they can show you what they can do without spending on their services right off the bat. You’ll be able to see how well it goes before deciding if you want to move forward with them or not.
Social media marketing is something you want to leave in the hands of experts–those who know the ins and outs and how to use it well. With these points, you’ll lessen your chances of hiring an agency that isn’t a good fit for you.
What Tools is Your Agency Using?
A social media marketing agency should have a few tools at its disposal, most notably scheduling tools. Many businesses do not have the time to maintain their online presence on their own.
What tools are they using, exactly?
Buffer is one of the most popular tools social media marketers use for scheduling posts because it’s free to use (with some caveats). It can be integrated with other apps, especially Hootsuite, LeadPages, Meet Edgar, MailChimp, etc. It has a user-friendly interface that makes publishing to multiple social media accounts a breeze. Posts are displayed in the order that they will be published, and this can be rearranged simply by dragging and dropping them to a new position.
Another top-rated scheduling tool for social media marketing is HootSuite. As its name suggests, it specializes in managing social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It has a free version, only that it’s a bit more limited than the full-featured paid version.
Buffer also has an app that can be used on mobile devices (Android and iOS). Mobile phones are fast becoming the tool of choice for accessing social media accounts. BufferApp enables users to access these accounts more conveniently on their mobile phones. It’s free and can be downloaded from either the Play Store or Apple App Store (iOS).
If This Then That (IFTTT) is a platform that connects online tools and devices so you can perform specific tasks when certain conditions are met. You can use it to set up automatic posting on your blog or create emails based on the hashtags you’re using in your social media marketing campaigns.
RiteTag is a Twitter-specific tool for hashtag analysis. It analyses tweets to determine which hashtags are trending, calculates the reach of each hashtag, and helps you choose which hashtags to use based on your target audience.
Tweetdeck is a free social media tool that runs on Mac and Windows computers. You can track hashtags and keywords in your tweets, mentions, and DMs. It also has a feature called Smart Inbox, which sorts your incoming DMs based on priority. You can also filter your incoming messages based on keywords and hashtags.
SocialFlow is used by big brands like Macy’s and HP. It also has a Chrome extension that you can install in about 10 seconds or less. Its focus is on optimizing social media content for better reach and engagement rate. It specializes in processing large amounts of data, so if your business needs to process, filter, and post massive amounts of social media data, then this tool can help.
Hootsuite Pro is a premium version of Hootsuite with more features compared to its free counterpart. It’s only compatible with the Chrome browser but works seamlessly with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Analytics. It has a better user interface, too, which makes it much easier to use.
The Edgar platform for social media marketing serves as your content hub. It can be programmed to post content at the optimal time when people are most likely to see it and share it. You’ll also save time and effort because you won’t constantly create new content for your marketing efforts.
BuzzSumo is a great tool for tracking how much exposure your social media marketing campaigns generate. It can be used to find influencers who share the same audience as you, and it displays reports about their outreach efforts (and yours). You can even use it to find trending stories in your industry.
Social Media Marketing KPIs
As you can see, there are many social media marketing analytics tools available to help you determine whether or not your marketing efforts are working. But these tools can’t provide concrete numbers.
What they do is estimate the reach and engagement rate of your content. They do this by using hashtag rankings, keyword rankings, and influencer rankings. They also use social media analytics to provide you with a massive amount of often confusing and difficult-to-understand data.
You need to combine the data provided by these tools with other metrics to prioritize your efforts and measure their impact on your bottom line. Here are some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be measuring:
Brand awareness – How many people know about your brand? Have you reached a point where your fans can easily identify your company and its products or services, even without an official logo or slogan? Are you consistently reaching a critical mass of new customers?
Just how big is your customer base now compared to last year? Did you gain more followers this year? What about fans of your page?
Business development – Have you been able to generate leads from social media marketing efforts? How many sales have been made from customers who first learned about your company on a particular social platform?
Note: You can also track conversions with Google Analytics. This way, you’ll know exactly where the traffic is coming from and what actions they’ve taken.
Customer retention – It’s important to know how many of your followers are still with you now compared to last year. Are you losing more customers than gaining? Are most of your new fans coming from inactive accounts? If so, it may be time for a rebranding campaign.
Customer relationships – How many customers are engaging in conversations with you on social media? Do they have suggestions, complaints, or compliments that you need to address? Are there specific topics that are being discussed at a high volume compared to others? All these elements could provide valuable insight into what your customers want.
Customer service – How long does it take for your team to respond to social media messages? Are they getting resolved on time? If your customer satisfaction rate isn’t very high, you need to take steps to improve it.
Follower Count – a large number of followers can help you gain increased exposure. But are they all real people? Most social media analytics tools estimate the number of real followers you have.
Engagement – How often are your followers interacting with you on social media? Which posts do they interact with the most? What type of content seems to resonate best with them?
Audience demographics – Are certain age groups or genders interacting with your content on social media more often than others? What is the ratio of male to female followers? Is it consistent across all of your social media networks?
Hashtags – Which hashtags are being used most often in association with your brand name or the specific topics you post? Are there particular keywords that people who want to learn more about you or your products and services are actively searching for online?
Retweets – Have any of your posts been shared a high number of times? Which ones get retweeted the most often? What types of content seem to elicit the strongest responses overall from your followers?
Likes – Likes can drive traffic from social media platforms. It would help if you tracked how many likes each of your posts received. This data can help you determine which types of photos or videos may be most engaging to your followers.
Citations – How often are people mentioning your business name in their social media posts? Do they tend to use a specific tag on Twitter or include a link back to your site? Are the majority of these on Facebook or another social networking site?
A quick search will give you an idea of what the market currently looks like and the type of solutions that are available to cater to your business needs. Depending on your budget, expertise, and preferences, you can choose from enterprise-grade solutions to free tools.
As you can see, there are lots of ways for companies to measure how successful their social marketing campaigns are. It all depends on what business goals they want to achieve through these campaigns.
Social Commerce: What’s It:
Social commerce is exactly what it sounds like: shopping via social media. Consumers don’t just want to see ads and promotional messages; they want genuine engagement and real-time interactions with their favourite brands and influencers.
This concept isn’t new, but it’s picking up speed fast, and it could be where the industry is headed.
How Social Commerce Works
Online shopping is already a huge trend.
Online retailers are generating more revenue than ever before, thanks to increased consumer demand. However, a new trend could change the way brands engage with their audiences on social media forever: social commerce.
Social commerce refers to the ability of social platforms and shopping sites to function seamlessly together so that consumers can buy products directly through their favourite social media platforms.
Why Social Commerce?
While social media is usually a platform for engagement and customer service, it’s become much more than that. Customers want to do everything on the same page, including buying products directly through their favourite digital networks.
Social commerce allows customers to share product recommendations with friends and family, plus they can use social media to earn loyalty points and discounts.
The main goal of social commerce is to allow customers to shop seamlessly on one platform, no matter where they are or what device they’re using.
Understanding Social Commerce
There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to social commerce.
First, social media platforms apply a lot of restrictions on what you can and cannot do. For example, while Twitter allows the use of hashtags, Instagram does not.
Second, each platform has its own set of rules and regulations that could get you into trouble if you don’t pay attention. Third, many social media sites have their own internal ad services.
You will not be able to use your regular ads on these platforms unless the site explicitly allows you to do so. You may want to check with the social media sites themselves to find out what you can and cannot do on each platform.
How Social Commerce Affects the Industry
Naturally, this is a game-changer for online retailers. With so much demand for social commerce, it’s now more important than ever to integrate your e-commerce site with key social platforms.
As customers become increasingly familiar with shopping via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other platforms, they’ll expect retailers to follow suit. Retailers who don’t figure out how to sell products directly on social networks will miss a huge opportunity.
As more customers turn to social media as a source for inspiration and product recommendations, brands that don’t offer the ability to shop directly on social platforms will lose out.
There are many different ways to go about it, but the best solution is usually a combination of social media posts and paid ads (or free posts).
The Future of Social Commerce
It’s hard to say exactly where this trend will go in the future.
Many experts believe that giant companies like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay will step in with their own solutions, while smaller retailers will lack the resources to keep up.
That means customers will gravitate toward larger brands rather than smaller businesses with direct access to their audiences.
On the other hand, major online retailers currently have a leg up on social commerce. If smaller companies adapt fast enough and offer a simple, compelling product that consumers want, they could have a fighting chance.
In the end, social commerce is still a new industry. It’s definitely not going away anytime soon, but it could be radically different in just a few years from now.
The Future of Social Media Marketing: 7 Trends to Expect in 2022
Social commerce isn’t the only social media marketing trend shaping up or more likely to take root in the coming months or years. Here are seven trends to expect as social media becomes more entrenched as a marketing platform and a means of engagement:
Social media users are becoming savvier about what they share—and how they share it
It’s no longer enough to slap up a blog post or upload a photo of your latest whirlwind vacation. Consumers expect brands to offer insightful content that demonstrates an understanding of the issues important to them: fashion, food, family, friends, or fun.
Social media users are sharing more than ever, but they’re also expecting more from the brands they follow
That’s not to say that it’s time to blow up your social presence and start over. Instead, you should look at your interactions with followers through a new lens: Is it possible that I’m simply posting too much? If so, you might be better served by a more strategic approach to your posts, rather than simply trying to post as often as possible.
Social media users are looking for brands to get involved in real-time conversations
Brands that were once hesitant about responding too quickly or engaging with customers via social media are now responding more frequently—and they’re learning fast.
Last year, Burger King was criticized after it tried to hijack a Twitter conversation with its own brand message under the guise of being an ordinary customer. This year, the fast-food giant is at it again—and this time around, it’s getting results for its efforts. Brands are now expected to be part of online conversations, and that means they need to up their social-listening game—and learn how to respond fast and effectively.
Social media marketing must be measurable, not just brand-building
It’s no longer enough for brands to simply create content and push it out via social networks without truly understanding what the content is achieving or which platforms are driving the most traffic or leads.
Today, social media marketers are expected to be able to demonstrate what they’ve done for their brands—and prove that it’s working. Thanks, in part, to new social networks like Outbrain and content discovery sites like Poptent; there are more ways than ever to measure the success of your social media campaigns.
Social media marketing is now social customer service
Brands that meet customers online need to understand that those users can and will complain if they’re unhappy about something—and they’ll blame the brand. That means brands must have a plan in place for dealing with social media complaints.
Social media users are becoming increasingly hard to reach
Brands shouldn’t assume that even their most loyal fans will see every piece of social content they push out. With the rise of ad-blocking technology, marketers are finding it harder than ever to be heard—and it’s proving to be an even bigger challenge to reach target audiences.
Social media is just another marketing platform—and it needs to be treated that way
Although social networks are fantastic for brand building, they’re still just one piece of the ever-growing marketing pie.