How to pick a social media agency

A social media agency’s main function is to manage and maintain the online campaigns of a business across the complete social media portfolio.

With the rise and rise of the social media agency, how do you ensure you pick the best fit for your brand?

We've come up with our top 5 questions to help you assess whether or not a specific social media agency is right for you.

1. What is your approach to using social media?

Each social media agency will have a different approach to using social media.

For brands, the pragmatic approach is often best as this will help focus only on the things that will bring you the greatest return. You should look for an agency that recognises this approach, but at the same time challenges your business aims and objectives.

You want a social media agency that makes realistic, practical suggestions that contribute to your main business aims and that are the correct use of your time, money and resource.

2. Why do you use social media?

A social media agency should use social media. Most will have a blog, use Twitter and may make use of Facebook,YouTube or other social networks or social media tools. This is to be expected.

What you should be asking them is not if they are using these tools, but why they are using it.

You want a social media agency that can develop a strategy that is based on core strategic aims.If a social media agency can’t describe why they use social media (and the business objectives this use supports) then this tells you a lot about how strategic (or not as the case may be) their thinking is.

3. How do you use social media to get real engagement?

This question will give you an insight into how the function of the social media agency. Social media, and how you use it for brands, is not really about technology or tools at all. It’s about people. How you work with people and online communities is much more important than the technology you use.

Make sure you probe about the actual techniques agencies will use and the experience they have of building and growing communities online.

4. How do you measure social media ROI for your clients?

This is another question that will really give you an insight into how the social media agency thinks and their approach to social media in general.

What you are interested in is their answer. A lot is said about social media ROI and the truth is that it depends very much on what you are looking to achieve and what your aims are in your use of social media.

If you are looking to acquire new customer data, for example, you should be measuring one set of things; if you are looking to increase the basket size of orders you should be measuring something else. There is no simple answer to measuring social media ROI and an agency should be advising you of that fact, as well as suggesting the metrics that you should be monitoring and measuring for your particular needs and aims.

5. What’s new; what’s next?

Any social media agency you work with should give you thought-leadership. They should be the ones leading your thinking and challenging you with new ideas and inspiration from other industries and other brands. You have a day job and any social media agency’s day job should be social media. Expect thought-leadership and expect to be challenged. This is a good thing.