What Should I Look For in a Social Media Agency

What Should I Look For in a Social Media Agency

There has been a social media storm in the marketing field, and many companies have sought to get their skin in the game by either forming a vibrant social media team or taking advantage of an already-existing social media agency in Singapore.

Creating a social media team in the company is a brave move, but the results from such a move take a lot of time to manifest. The growth of a company is quickly seen when you hire a social media agency in Singapore.

The reason for this is simple: the company’s social media team will do a lot of trial-and-error until they arrive at a working formula while a social media agency already has a method worked out. They only need to tweak a few details to make the social media campaign effective.

A company’s social media team may also have other roles aside from handling social platforms that prevent them from being a highly effective team. For example, it is common to find a company’s social media team handling calls. This takes away a considerable chunk of time that would have been spent studying social trends and coming up with unique content that the people enjoy.

Therefore, hiring a social media agency is a vital marketing strategy. The reason many companies in Singapore choose to ignore this step is that they are unsure of the return on investment. However, there are statistics that companies should be aware of before shutting the door on such a move.

One, the social media penetration rate in Singapore is 85%. Two, seven in ten Singaporean are active social media users. Three, one in ten people learn of a new product via online advertising. Lastly, Singaporean mobile owners spend an average of 45 hours on the internet in a week.

An excellent social media agency in Singapore can help you take advantage of the above statistics; 62% of Singaporeans already view technology as more helpful than risky.  However, not all agencies will give you the results you want. Fortunately, there are certain qualities you can look for in an agency to gauge their ability.

Qualities a Great Social Media Agency in Singapore Should Have

  1. Pro-Level Research Skills

Research is the first step in producing remarkable results. The social media marketing agency should be able to present cases of research that it did before. To find out what they did, you can ask questions such as:

    • How much information did the company give the agency?
    • What type of information did the agency find out by themselves?
    • Has the agency worked with a company in your niche before?
    • How long did the research take?
    • Did the marketing results indicate that the research was accurate?

You can add other questions relevant to your business industry. There are several reasons why you should ask the agency about their previous research. First, your products/services target a specific demographic. This demographic has different interests and pain points from other members of society. A well-crafted message will pique their interest and lead to engagement which will ultimately lead to sales.

Second, research will enable the agency to find out more about your competitors, how they position their brands and the content gaps that are yet to be filled. The last part is the main reason companies do competitor research; filling the gaps enables you to become a dominant player in an industry.

Lastly, the social media agency needs to research to understand your company’s products/services better than anyone else. It is only then that they will be able to consistently craft content that resonates with the target audience and invites other interested parties to engage with your brand.

social media agency in Singapore

  1. Impressive Copywriting

Copywriting is the process of coming up with words intended for marketing or advertising. Companies that have a superb copywriting team rarely have to aggressively market their products as the written copy addresses the needs of the clients and sells the products.

You can determine the copywriting skills of a social media agency in Singapore by asking for the details of the social media handles that they handle. You should look at a couple of things once you get the handles.

Firstly, are they using images in their posts? According to TreDigital, social media posts with images get 7-10 more clicks than posts with no photos. You should also look at the quality of the image; high-quality content should also use high-grade images.

Secondly, are they using short posts? Social media users want short and interesting content that quickly passes the message. The only exception to this rule is LinkedIn where users regularly post blog-style posts to showcase their expertise. Keenly check out the various platforms to see if the agency is following this rule.

Thirdly, are they using video content? Singapore has the highest fixed broadband speed in the world, and users watch an average of 2 hours of video every day. Posting video content on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube is an excellent way of marketing.

Lastly, how are they using hashtags? Hashtags have the unique ability to bring more attention to the content created, especially on Twitter and Instagram. However, the hashtag has to match the content. Your content is considered spam if it does not.

  1. Use of the Right Tools

The days of using social media applications to publish content are long gone. Companies are increasingly embracing new technology that offers more efficiency. There are social media tools for analytics, scheduling, and publishing posts, discovering trends, and curating content.

An effective social media agency in Singapore should use some of the following tools:

This is a free tool for discovering trending topics online. The agency can then use the information to craft witty posts that will drive engagement with your company.

Google Trends can also be used to monitor keyword usage over particular months or years. This is valuable information that can also be used to inform the content organization of your website.

Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to create a content calendar, schedule posts, manage social profiles in one place, and has analytics tools that can be used to help you tweak your content.

Hootsuite has a free and premium version, but the latter has more functionality than the former. This is one tool that every agency needs to have.

Influencer marketing is slowly becoming popular in Singapore. BuzzSumo is a tool that will enable you to find these influencers as well as the content that was shared the most across the various social media platforms.

Finding this content performs well in every topic will enable the agency to craft your content better. They can even use influencers to push the content further. BuzzSumo also has analytics features.

This social media management tool enables agencies to find the best times to publish content, publish the content on time every day, and has a free tool you can use to create images for the various social media platforms.

Images are especially crucial to Singaporeans as they summarize long posts.

There are many other social media tools in the market. The above tools are some of the best and indicate that an agency can deliver on all its promises.

  1. Sales and Customer Service

A study by J. D Power found that social media has become the first line for customer service for many companies. This is because 72% of social media users who ask a query on social media channels expect a response within 1 hour. An untimely response will see them move to another company providing the same product/service without hesitation.

The stakes are very high. It is, therefore, crucial that you hire a social media agency that is capable of delivering this. You can quickly determine this by going through the social media handles of clients the agency has handled.

It is also important to look at the language used when handling irate customers. Was the agency able to diffuse the situation fast? Did the client seem satisfied at the end of the interaction? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself.

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Trolls and negative feedback are other customer service aspects that you should check. Social media platforms are nowadays filled with emboldened individuals who are not afraid of trolling even the mightiest of companies.

An exceptional social media agency in Singapore is one that responds to trolls with light-hearted humor. Turning the joke back on the culprit will lead to more awareness and engagement from other social users who will probably be complementing the company’s sense of humor. This will ultimately lead to more sales.

  1. Creativity

Things in the online world move very quickly. A lot of users jump on hashtags to express their creativity when something funny and interesting happens. Companies have recently started jumping on the same hashtags to show their creativity.

Although the message comes off as banter, the underlying message is meant to promote the company’s brand image. This is not always easy, and some companies that have tried this have ended up doing a lot of public relations activities to calm the online storm created by a post.

Therefore, creativity in an agency matters a lot. You can gauge this quality in an agency by looking at some of their posts with hashtags. Check the comments below the post to see what the online community was saying about the post. Check also if the company responded to the comments; engagement should not end after making a creative post.

  1. Analytics and Reporting

You will want to know how your brand is faring after investing top dollar in a social media agency in Singapore. Daily reports will most likely interfere with your other business responsibilities and can distract you from your goals.

However, monthly, quarterly, or yearly reports are necessary for you to know the standing of your business in the online world. An agency should have the tools to collect data and report it in a manner that will be easy for you to understand.

Ask the agency if they provide reports to their clients and the time it takes them to compile a report. This will give you a better understanding of the agency.

  1. Efficient and Organized

Having all the above-mentioned qualities will not be of any significance if the agency is disorganized and inefficient. Content creation is a continuous process that requires focused individuals to create, schedule, publish, and analyse the statistics after posting.

Finding out how organized a social media agency is in Singapore should be very easy. Checking out the dates and times they posted for a previous client is the first step. The time is especially critical as there are certain times when engagement is high.

The best times are usually early in the morning and late in the evening. However, Instagram is changing this perception. Taking photos of visually appealing foods and posting them during lunchtime has become common among millennials. As such, it is generally advisable to post on Instagram between noon and 2 pm.

An organized agency is one that consistently posted content every day at the right time.

  1. Adaptability

Companies in different niches should not have the same social media strategy. They should also not carry the same message. This is because there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to social media.

For example, a catering business will need more presence on Instagram while a vehicle-servicing company will need more presence on Facebook and Twitter where they can easily explain to clients the problem with their vehicles.

You should immediately see a red flag if an agency tells you that they will repeat the same strategy they used for a different company, even if the company is in the same niche as yours. What worked a few years ago may not work today as the social media platform continually shifts.

This only goes to underscore the importance of research. Ask the agency how they plan to make your social strategy unique to gauge their ability to deliver on adaptability as well as social media management capability.

  1. Who are your previous clients?

A good number of agencies have worked with some of the best companies in Singapore and are proud of the results they achieved. Many are more than willing to share this information with potential clients as they understand the hesitancy of businesses when it comes to social media marketing.

In fact, many agencies regularly use the words of previous clients on their websites as testimonials. They post this information either as a case study or feature a guest post from the client on their blog. Going through these posts will enable you to get more specific questions to ask the agency.

You can ask questions such as: What was the agency most proud of in their previous campaign? Did they achieve all the goals and objectives they set in the beginning? Was the client satisfied?

However, it is vital to note that not all agencies will disclose this information to you. Some companies do not want the public to know that they are working with an agency. They thus sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to prevent the agencies from sharing such information. Agencies might also be unwilling to share information about their current clients.

  1. What are your thoughts on our current social media efforts?

The best agencies are always prepared for meetings with potential clients. They use this opportunity to wow the business owner with their research skills. Your business most likely caters to a specific demographic, and these research skills are proof that the agency will be able to craft compelling messages.

hiring a social media agency

The agency should, therefore, have thoroughly gone through all your social media handles. They should be able to tell you what they think you are doing well and what can be improved. The icing on the cake is if they can give you a brief take of the strategy they intend to use to ensure your social media goals align with your overall business goals.

  1. What social platforms do you suggest for my company?

Singapore has a social media penetration rate of 85%; it is one of the countries with the biggest percentage of social media users. However, certain social media platforms are more popular than others.

WhatsApp leads the way with 73% and is closely followed by YouTube and Facebook at 71 and 70% respectively. Instagram is a distant fourth with 44%. These are crucial statistics that you should know before hiring a social media agency.

Agencies regularly use these statistics when deciding which platforms they should prioritise. The normal process of building an online presence is first choosing one or two platforms to start with and then gradually branching out.

The nature of the business also determines the social media platforms that will be used. For example, an agency will put more effort into marketing on Instagram for a company that sells visually appealing products while Facebook will be the choice of a platform if the business sells services that require clients to first explain the issue.

Ask the agency and social media influencers which platforms will be best for your business. This will give you sufficient information on whether to greenlight the project.

  1. How much of my time will go into the project?

You are hiring a social media agency because you do not have enough time to worry about your online presence constantly. Nevertheless, you will still be required to spend a small part of your time with the social media agency.

For example, you will need to paste a Facebook pixel code on your website if you want to run advertisements on the platform. The code will enable you to collect data, track all the conversions from the ad, build the audience you want to target in the future, and remarket to people when they visit your website.

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The agency will need explicit consent from you to do this and may also involve you in the crafting of the message in the first ad. You can also suggest that they do this from your office so that you can better monitor the situation.

There are several other things that they may also require your attention. It is vital to ask this question during the presentation so that you can be on the same page with the agency every step of the way.

  1. Who will be my contact person in the agency?

Agencies typically do the groundwork as a team and then assign a particular company’s social media handles to an expert. The expert monitors the progress of each platform and produces reports for the agency’s leadership. The title of the expert is usually ‘account manager.’

The agency might decide that the account manager is your contact person as they are in the best position to answer your questions. This can also be the person who sends you progress reports. This should not alarm you as it is common practice with many agencies.

However, you need to know how available the account manager will be to you and what forms of communication to use in case you need to make contact. Excellent agencies give their clients the Skype, phone number, and email address of the account manager. That way, you can be sure that you will be able to get a hold of the person quickly.

  1. Is social customer service part of the deal?

Social media is increasingly becoming the go-to place for clients whenever they have an issue. According to SocialMediaToday, nearly 70% of people have tried to solve an issue through a company’s social media at least once. Sprinklr, on the other hand, states that 80% of people use social media to engage with brands.

It is not only crucial to have a strong presence on these platforms but also to respond quickly to queries raised by people. Studies have shown that online consumers expect a quick response and that it leads to customer loyalty.

The best news about social customer service is that it costs six times less to solve an issue via socials than via a call center. An agency may charge you more because they offer this service, but the cost is worth it as you can discard or reduce the size of your call center.

Asking about social customer service will enable you to plan and develop an efficient workforce.

  1. Have you handled a crisis before?

Mistakes happen however much company endeavors to maintain a solid online reputation. A client may get the wrong order, they may receive terrible service at the company’s physical shop, or a new product may spark outrage online. Some of the best companies have been victims of the latter.

A press release can help in cooling the online outrage, but the statement that will be delivered by the company will not be timely; the announcement will reach the intended target audience at least 10 hours later. The statement may not even contain the right accountability language that online users want.

An agency that has worked through a crisis before will help you craft the right message and deliver it on your social platforms promptly. You will be able to move on to other business activities and avoid a costly public relations nightmare.

  1. What is your social strategy?

You need to know the type of content you need before hiring a social media agency. The most popular types of content in Singapore are text, graphics, and videos.

The text on the various social media platforms should not be long, and graphics should be included in it to increase the chances of engagement. Studies have shown that the use of graphics on social posts increases chances of engagement by 7-10 times. Users also like to see content summarized in visually appealing graphics.

Video content is also very popular in Singapore; there are 4 million YouTube users in Singapore. Video content created by the agency, therefore, has a very high chance of being consumed.

The social strategy of an agency can be the use of text-only, text and images only, or text, images, and video. Agencies that use video are generally more expensive than agencies that use text and images only. Knowing this will enable you to make an informed choice.

  1. What kind of data analytics tools do you use?

Data analytics has become so intertwined with social media marketing that it is almost impossible to separate the two. Every single decision taken on social media is informed by statistics collected over time.

As such, several companies have gone out of their way to developing good data analytics tools for social media marketing. Google created Google Trends – a free tool – to help in monitoring the use of a particular keyword on various socials. This allows agencies to come up with better content as they understand the terms people are using.

BuzzSumo was created to help users find the most shared content across multiple social platforms, and Hootsuite has analytics that can help you find out how your content is performing online.

Before hiring an agency, you should ask if they use some of the tools mentioned above. Several companies may try to convince you that using the free in-built analytics of social platforms is enough, but a good agency is one that uses both.

  1. How do you measure the return on investment (ROI) on your social media efforts?

Knowing that the time and effort put in developing social media presence is one of the top questions business owners ask before hiring a social media agency. The process of measuring the ROI on social media is relatively simple.

The first step is calculating the total amount of money you have spent on your social media efforts. You can do this by calculating the money spent on online ads and the amounts paid to influencers who help you reach more people.

The second step is signing up for a web traffic analysis tool such as Google Analytics. Such tools enable you to track conversions on your website. For example, when a client clicks on a social media link and buys a product on your site, the credit will go to the specific social channel for enabling that buy.

The last step is to subtract the amount of money generated by social media from the amount of money spent.

A top agency should be able to guide you through this process by explaining how positive the numbers of their previous clients were. They may not be able to give you the exact figures, but they can give you the percentage which is just as good.

  1. How long will it take for me to see results and what should I expect?

Agencies can estimate the time it will take to see results based on the previous campaigns they have managed. However, they may only give you a slight idea of what to expect as no two campaigns are similar.

You can ask this question to gauge the sincerity of the agency. The right agency will not promise you the moon right away.

Final Word

Hiring a social media agency in Singapore enables you to be laser-focused on other business goals that need your expertise. The combined effort eventually leads to growth that places your business in a firm position in your niche.  However, the social media agency needs to have the above qualities for you to realize this growth.

Get in touch with us for the best social media marketing services in Singapore. 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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