How to Work With a Social Media Marketing Agency: 3 Steps to Success

By Rhonda Bradley / 16 October 2018

Learn how to get the most from your social media marketing agency with this 3-step formula to success: prepare, hire for trust, and communicate.

A recent survey found that over one-quarter of businesses (28%) use social media marketing agencies to help their social media efforts.

Top 4 social media marketing resources for businesses

Social media marketing agencies can provide valuable expertise and manpower to boost your company’s efforts. 

How can you best maximize your partnership with an agency, though?

In this article, we’ll explain what a social media marketing agency does and walk you through the following 3 steps for partnership success:

  1. Get your paperwork in order.
  2. Hire an agency you trust.
  3. Create an efficient communications system.

What Does a Social Media Marketing Agency Do?

A social media marketing agency does much more than publish posts on your social networks. 

According to Derric Haynie, CEO of Vulpine Interactive, a social media marketing firm, is a digital marketing agency that specializes in social media.

In his video “What Services do Social Media Marketing Agencies Actually Offer?,” Haynie explains that social media marketing agencies “need to have a grasp on everything digital, and everything marketing.”

Social media marketing agencies need to gain an in-depth understanding of your social media, content, and digital marketing efforts. This helps them align goals, set key performance indicators, build on your successes, and learn from your failures. 

Some of the information your agency may request includes:

  • Goals
  • Strategies
  • Plans
  • Analytics
  • Reports

Organizing any related documents ahead of time, if you have them, can speed the on-boarding and research processes and help the agency more effectively launch new campaigns.

With proper information, an agency can drive your business forward and help you meet key performance indicators (KPIs).

The basic tasks of a social media marketing agency can be broken down into 4 categories.

  • Organize and Prepare Content for Social Media 

A social media marketing agency creates social media content out of existing content such as blog posts, videos, and events. 

They add captions, upload videos, add links, and determine how and what will get boosted through advertising or other methods.

  • Work with Analytics and Reports

A social media marketing agency typically spends a great deal of time with the reports and analytics of your social media channels. 

They use this information to adjust results and strategy according to what’s working or not working with your target audience. The agency also creates reports and custom dashboards for the client, so they can better monitor their progress.

  • Manage Social Media Activity

Another part of a social media marketing agency’s responsibilities includes maintaining an active presence on social media, on behalf of the brand.  These duties often include publishing posts, engaging with followers, responding to comments, and helping with customer service.

  • Manage Account Growth

A social media marketing agency takes ownership for your accounts’ growth. 

One of the ways an agency ensures client growth is by staying on top of the industry’s latest tools, updates, news, and strategies -- on a daily basis.

On the outside, social media marketing sounds like a simple job. Anyone can do it, right? 

That’s not actually the case.

While it may be true that someone with a flair for social media can garner a good amount of likes and shares, those actions often don’t translate into profits without intention.

A social media marketing agency ensures that your popularity across social networks is built with a foundation and monitoring that turns popularity into profits for your company.

Here are the 4 steps you can take to help ensure your success with a social media marketing agency when it’s time to hire.

1. Prepare to Work with a Social Media Marketing Agency

Before you begin looking for an agency, prepare properly to make the process smoother and more profitable for your company.

A. Get Your Marketing and Content Plans in Order

A professional social media marketing agency will often begin by conducting an audit, then preparing a written social media strategy and social media plan.

At every corner, they’ll seek to align their efforts with your company’s goals. In order to do this, they need full access to information such as:

  • Your brand’s social media goals
  • Your documented general marketing plan and strategy
  • Your documented content marketing plan and strategy
  • All analytics and reports related to your previous social media marketing
  • Links to all existing content, hopefully in an organized spreadsheet

If there are materials you don’t have, do your best to pull them together in the most organized way possible. It will help your future agency develop a strategy and plan quicker. 

This means you save time when it comes to enjoying the results of their work.

Your paperwork doesn’t have to be perfect. 

According to Pam Moore of Social Zoom Factor, it’s not uncommon for businesses to have documents that aren’t well organized, or even reports that they’re embarrassed to share with an agency. 

Don’t let this hold you up! Prepare your documents as best you can, but don’t slow down by trying to create perfectly organized materials.

B. Assign Team Members to Help 

The early part of your relationship with your new agency will include a heavy amount of research on their behalf. The agency needs to get to know things like:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Who is your company?
  • How have your previous marketing efforts failed or succeeded?
  • What is your brand’s personality, tone, and style?

This means there’s an initial period in which the agency will conduct interviews and request documents that help them learn as much as possible about your company.

Assign a team that can provide information as quickly as possible, or know who you’ll turn to support the company research phase.

2. Hire An Agency You Can Trust

The survey of over 300 social media marketers found that companies hire social media agencies based on price, referrals, and culture fit.

Factors marketers consider when hiring social media agencies

According to Pam Moore of Marketing Nutz agency, it’s crucial to hire a social media agency that you feel you can trust. 

The 2 most important reasons for this are:

  • 1) You’ll be sharing a large amount of company data and reports with them. 

In order to give them what they need without questioning their every move, you need to be working with an agency that you fully trust.

  • 2) You must be “all in” and fully committed to the process in order for it to work.

Social media marketing takes time, and you may wait as long as 6 - 12 months to see financial results. 

One of the best ways for you to hasten your success is to fully commit to and trust your agency.

For example, if the agency has to spend time defending every decision or working micro-managers, this causes delays in getting the work done.

How do you hire the “right” agency?

One way to be sure that you’re hiring the right agency is to look at their track record. 

Has the agency had past successes? What sort of clients have they worked with before?

Some agencies won’t be able to share all of their success or experiences with you. 

Many companies, especially Fortune 500’s, require agencies to sign strict non-disclosure contracts. This may mean that the agency is legally prohibited from discussing any client details with you – including strategy or success.

However, it’s fair to expect an example or two of how the agency has successfully elevated companies’ social media marketing efforts.

3. Create An Efficient Communications Process

Communications from your agency must be answered quickly. Any delay in returning an email or phone call could mean a delay in your social media plan. 

So, as you move forward with the agency, you’ll also want to create an efficient communication process for working together. 

In other words, which of your team members will be the liaison between your company and the agency if you’re not available? 

Will the agency contact you directly to discuss reports, adjustments, and budgeting? Who can make decisions quickly when they need an answer?

Putting team members in place ahead of time will make the process run smoother and avoid delays that might derail your social media strategy. 

Choose supporting team members early in the process so you can bring them in during the planning stages. This way, they’ll be better prepared manage later on.

Get Ready To Win on Social Media

Your social media marketing can find huge success when you choose the right social media marketing agency and commit to their process.

Prepare ahead of time, hire an agency you trust, and put a strong communications process in place. 

These 3 steps can save you thousands of dollars - and hours - when working with a social media agency.

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