Social media marketing (SMM) can accelerate business growth by improving brand awareness, reputation, traffic, engagement and many other aspects of an online presence.

To experience social media marketing benefits, you’ll need to set realistic goals and expectations and get a tailored strategy that suits your business needs.

As a business owner, you may have insights about different marketing strategies; although helpful, that won’t be enough. A solid SMM strategy requires various digital specialists’ expertise, and that’s what social media marketing agencies provide.

We know it’s hard to decide on how to choose a social media marketing agency when so many of them are available. How do you know which is the right one?

This article will explain how to select the best SMM agency for your business.

Why Are Social Media Marketing Agency Services Important?

Let’s look at some interesting statistics about users’ engagement with brands on social media:

  • More than 3.5 billion people actively use social media networks in 2022.
  • 42% of Internet users discover brands on social media.
  • 71% of users with a positive experience with a brand recommend it to others.

People use social media for various purposes; discovering brands is one of the primaries. Businesses have recognized social media’s potential and its advantages, so they increasingly use them as a part of their marketing efforts:

  • 90% of marketers confirm that SMM increased brand exposure.
  • 77.6% of small businesses use SMM, – prioritizing the Facebook platform.
  • 80% of marketers state their primary marketing strategy is to improve social media engagement.

However, having social media accounts where you occasionally post something is not a good strategy. Actually, that’s not a strategy at all.

If you don’t know…

  • What kind of content and when to publish
  • Which social media platform is right for your business
  • How social media advertising works
  • How to target the right audience
  • How to use social media tools and measure the results of your efforts

… then hiring an experienced SMM agency will bring you closer to your goals.

But before choosing social media marketing agency, the first step is to set your expectations.

Identify Your Goals Before Choosing a Social Media Marketing Agency

The outcome you want to achieve will determine your social media marketing strategy. Here are some of the most common goals businesses can reach via SMM:

1. Increasing Brand Awareness

Increasing your brand’s exposure and introducing it to as many people as possible is also known as building brand awareness. You want to get people to interact with your brand and spread the word about it; that is why you should increase the number of people you’re following and engaging with.

2. Improving Brand Reputation

Establishing a good brand reputation is one of the most important objectives for your business growth. Reputation tells about the users’ attitude and sentiment toward your brand. It is directly related to a brand’s credibility since customers purchase and stay loyal to brands they trust.

3. Increasing Engagement

Many SMM objectives are interconnected. For example, getting more people to interact with your brand will raise engagement, which contributes to customer loyalty and brand sentiment. To improve your engagement rate, interact with your customers and encourage them to leave comments and share your posts.

4. Attracting More Traffic to Your Website

SMM goals aren’t limited just to social media platforms — they can also increase the traffic on your website. Traffic increase is also a priority since it is vital for lead generation and further conversions.

5. Generating More Leads

Not all people attracted by your SMM will become paying customers; some will enter your sales funnel and remain interested parties for a while. They are the leads. If you perform lead-generating campaigns, you can gather all information that helps you follow up with social media users, such as names, email addresses, occupations, etc.

6. Boosting Conversions

Conversions are the holy grail of all marketing attempts. Users convert when they follow your instructions and perform the desired actions on your landing page. That action can be a purchase, subscription or webinar registration. You can use social media insights to gather information about users and offer them relevant products.

7. Creating a Community

A brand’s community, where users actively participate in discussions about your products or services, can boost engagement and loyalty. You can create a Facebook group or use Instagram/Twitter hashtags to encourage customers to join conversations.

8. Providing Efficient Customer Service

Your social media doesn’t serve just to attract new customers but also to keep existing ones. People often contact a brand’s social media accounts for customer support. Considering the user experience’s importance, try to stay on top of those messages — for example, use chatbots to answer frequently asked questions.

9. Performing Social Listening to Meet Market Requirements

Social listening allows you to monitor brand mentions across social media platforms and reveals how users perceive your brand. These insights can help you understand what the audience wants from your brand so that you can improve your services.

What To Look For in a Social Marketing Agency

The current number of marketing agencies in the U.S. is 87,712, which grows daily.

You might wonder how to choose a social media marketing agency from such a vast offer. It’s a challenging task, especially if you don’t know what to look for.

These nine pieces of advice will help you narrow the choices down.

1. Look For an Agency With an Expert Team

There are better solutions than a one-man band.

If the agency has only one know-it-all specialist, usually an account manager, you should reconsider choosing them.

Account managers have a brief knowledge of social media marketing 101, which is excellent when they collect client data or supervise project progress. Still, it is not enough to run the entire campaign.

A team of experts, including content and copywriters, SEO experts, graphic designers, developers, technical IT support, and specialists who monitor analytics and campaign results, should make up the SMM agency.

The account manager should be an intermediary between you and the mentioned specialists, who ensure that the project develops as planned.

2. Agency Should Understand Your Industry
Ideally, the agency you work with should possess in-depth knowledge about your industry to create relevant content and target the right prospects.

While searching for the right partner, don’t just look at the number of clients and niches they’ve worked with. Take a close look at clients within your industry and their campaigns’ success — this should speak of their flexibility and capability to tailor their approach within brand guidelines.

This doesn’t mean you have to find an agency that works strictly within your niche. Willingness to learn is much more important than previous experience.

3. Agency Should Have Advanced SMM Tools

Each social media platform has built-in analytics that provides information about sponsored campaign results.

However, agencies should have professional SMM tools to create catching ads, schedule posts, monitor essential metrics, perform social listening, etc.

Social media analytics tools facilitate understanding users’ reactions to a brand’s activities, providing an opportunity to outperform the competition and make customers return to the brand.

4. Agency Should Have a Proactive Approach

Mistakes are inevitable, but the agency should take all the steps to prevent them.

For example, they should be prepared for algorithm updates, industry changes, new trends and seasons vital for your business, etc.

The agency’s approach to a problem determines its professionalism.

Damage control includes the following steps:

  • Informing a client about the issue.
  • Acknowledging mistakes.
  • Suggesting solutions to resolve the situation.

5. Review the Agency’s Strategy Proposal

Once the agency gets to know your industry, your brand’s positioning, goals and pain points, it should be able to suggest a strategy to make you progress.

How will they increase engagement? Generate more leads? Encourage conversions?

What improvement ratio do they expect? In which period?

What key performance indicator (KPI) will they measure?

If you find the right agency, you’ll have answers to all of these questions.

6. Check Agency’s Social Media Channels

Before hiring an SMM agency, check its social media channels.

If they rarely publish new content, have few post likes, small user engagement and a modest follower number, reconsider your choice.

How the agency maintains their social media accounts is a good indication of how they’re going to take care of yours. So, look for one with active and well-maintained social profiles.

7. Ask for Previous Clients’ References

Experienced SMM agencies should be able to show you more than clients’ social media pages and numbers of followers. Ask for references: clients’ testimonials, reviews and case studies.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions:

  • What results did they achieve?
  • How long did it take?
  • How did SMM reflect on the website?
  • What was the cost of their engagement?

You could contact previous clients to hear their feedback or check agency reviews in online directories, such as DesignRush.

8. Consider Agency’s Prices and Your Budget

The price is important when choosing a social media marketing agency, but it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. Remember, the most expensive doesn’t necessarily mean the best.

The SMM agency’s price will depend on their expertise, experience, location, clientele, required services and contract length.

Select the agency whose prices fit your budget, but primarily the one that shows genuine interest in your business goals, brand’s style and industry specifics.

9. Check Communication Policies and Compatibility

SMM trends are prone to changes; the agency should answer your concerns and consult you on their implementation. You shouldn’t be waiting for days on their response. Even if they are in a rush, the contact person should send you a “We’ll be with you ASAP” email.

Does the agency share your goals? Does it have similar business views? Compatibility is another factor you should pay attention to; take some time and conclude how close your approaches are.

3 Steps for Successful Collaboration with an SMM Agency

Every collaboration is a two-way street; the outcome depends on both parties involved., Follow these three steps to maximize the possibility for success:

1. Set Realistic Expectations

In previous sections, we talked about the importance of identifying business goals.

Even if you don’t have a specific goal, that is OK. After gaining insight into your social media presence, the marketing agency can suggest the first milestone.

However, if you precisely know your objectives, communicate them clearly and you’ll receive an estimation from the agency on whether they can achieve them.

2. Share All Relevant Information

Share as much information as possible about previous marketing campaigns and their results and existing ones (if any). Provide all relevant documentation that helps understand your brand — guidelines, plans, audit results and similar.

If there is a unique guide about the brand’s style, share it so the agency can understand the tone and the style your brand nurtures.

3. Communicate All the Way Through

Transparent communication is the key to every successful collaboration.

Discussing previous marketing attempts, the brand’s style and future objectives are necessary, but so is the communication all the way through.

If you find a way to communicate openly and efficiently, your social media strategy will be on point and on time. For example, inform the SMM agency on time about all the information you want to include in new posts so they can adjust promptly.

How To Choose a Social Media Marketing Agency: Final Thoughts

Choosing a social media marketing agency that complements your business objectives can be overwhelming, especially since there is a vast number to choose from.

Follow our nine suggestions on what to look for in a social marketing agency to narrow down the choices. Ask a lot of questions and be prepared that you’ll have to interview more than one agency until you find the right one.

This approach will help you find the right partner for social media success.

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