Wondering if the social media agency you’re considering hiring (or have hired) can be trusted with your brand? Obviously you need to grill them on why they are qualified, how often you can expect them to be posting, review samples of their work and check references. However, if you still feel like they’re missing something, check out our insider questions that you definitely need to be asking.
1. Do your employees actually write the social media postings and blog content?
One of the biggest loopholes in the industry is for a media agency to hire someone cheaper to write content for them. They will then resell this content to you, the client, at a higher price. This practice is called “white labeling” and it is responsible for vast amounts of content on blogs, video channels and media of all kinds. There are arguments for and against white labeling. We prefer original content generated by someone close to the business and plugged in to the relevant audiences, rather than an unknown content generator. We also believe that readers/viewers can sense the difference. If you are considering hiring an agency that provides white label content, be sure they also have good insights into your business and customers, and that you’re generally okay with the practice.
2. Do you track analytics?
A company that is posting across social media platforms but not analyzing the success of each and every post is only doing half the job. Each and every post needs to be under a microscope so that the strategy can be tailored to what is working. You should expect quarterly (if not monthly, as provided by Buzzly Media) analytics reports detailing the success of the agency’s efforts.
3. Are you using scheduling tools to schedule out all the content posted? If so, how far out do you schedule?
While scheduling posts is not necessarily a bad idea, it does have a couple downfalls. First, if an agency is scheduling weeks and months of content out in advance, that means they cannot be using analytics on previous posts to improve each one that comes after. The furthest out day to day posts should be scheduled is about a week. You want your agency to be constantly adapting and reanalyzing their strategies online. Additionally, we have pretty good evidence to indicate that scheduling on certain platforms (we’re looking at you, Twitter) is punished by the platform itself. Of course, social media platforms prefer unique, off the cuff content. They know that’s not what they’re getting when content is scheduled. While it’s fine to have a separate bank of approved content ready to go, it’s advisable to have a real, live human post it at the time you want it to go out. Another advantage to this is that a real live person can be watching various platforms for things that are “trending,” and can post something relevant on your profiles that may surge if it’s in line with what’s going on at that moment.
4. Is this your full time job?
Okay, okay, a little personal. But important. You want the agency you hire to be at the ready at all times to post fresh content, respond to people who comment on things, and monitor what’s going on. If you’re hiring an agency with a bunch of part-time staffers, things can get lost in the shuffle and you know they’ll be leaning heavily on things like scheduling content way out in advance. This is a question closely tied to the amount of work each employee is responsible for. No one person should be managing more than five clients at a time. It just won’t be good, believe us.
5. Where do you get the images/graphics you will be posting on our profiles?
If you want to post something about dogs and just google “dogs” you will get an abundance of adorable pictures. But you can’t just download the first one you find most adorable because copyrights exist! Even if a picture is on the internet, it can still be protected under copyright, and you can get in huge trouble for using someone else’s picture to promote your brand. Agencies should have a few solid sites or resources at their disposal for quality photos and should ideally be creating their own graphics. Our favorite source for license free photos is Unsplash!
EMMA TOTTEN is co-owner of Buzzly Media.
Not getting the answers you want from any of the agencies you’re thinking of hiring? Buzzly Media is a social media marketing agency with an expertise in nonprofit branding. Drop us an email; we’ll respond with surprising speed.