The power of social media as a marketing and advertising channel is hard to deny.
42% of all Internet users use social networks to find more information about brands. Plus, 27% of UK and US users say they discovered new brands via social media ads this year. (It shared the top spot for brand discovery with TV ads).
With this much potential, you need to know that you’re doing it right. You might want to work with a social media agency if you:
have a budget but aren’t sure how to get the most from it
are struggling to increase performance
don’t know how to measure the results of your social media efforts etc.
Once you know that you’d like to work with a social media agency, the next step is, of course, figuring out how to choose the right one. So, here are some mighty useful tips for you:
Know Your Goals and Desired Outcomes
The first thing you must establish is what you hope to achieve through social media. Your goals will inform your social media strategy and how you measure success, which can only benefit your business…
Research shows that companies with a defined content strategy achieve 27.1% higher win rates and 18.1% higher quota attainment rates.
Having goals will also help you to allocate your budget and resources. When you know what’s most important to your business you can delegate wisely and get more bang for your buck.
Here are some fundamental social media goals you may wish to strive for:
1. Increase Brand Awareness
Your goal is to reach a bunch of new people on social media. You want to increase your online presence and to get people talking about your brand or content. So, you might work on upping your following, mentions and share count.
2. Generate Leads
You want to use social media to plant the seeds of interest and encourage potential customers to enter your sales funnel. For example, you can gather email subscribers from social media by posting your best gated content as ads.
3. Boost Sales
You aim to use social media in a way that directly impacts revenue. You might, for instance, use audience insights to advertise relevant products to the right people.
4. Increase Engagement
Your goal is to get people to interact with your social media posts. This boosts customer loyalty and makes people feel more of an affinity with your brand. Thus, you’ll work on getting more likes, comments and so on.
5. Create a Community
You may wish to boost engagement even further by building a dedicated community around your brand. For example, you might focus on creating an active Facebook group or use a branded hashtag to encourage regular conversations about your brand or products.
6. Provide Great Customer Service
It’s now common practice for people to reach out to brands for help (or to complain) on social media. Therefore, your goal might be to stay on top of those communications in order to keep customers satisfied.
Once you know what your goals are, you can share them with a social media agency and create milestones to reach together.
3 Characteristics that Make a Great Social Media Agency
Bear in mind that there are a few key elements you need to look for when choosing a social media agency:
1. They Offer a Customized Service
Some agencies use the same social media strategies for all of their clients. This simply doesn’t work.
Each client has a unique target audience and their own business objectives. So, social media strategy can’t be a one-size-fits-all thing. You need to find an agency that offers a personalized experience catered to your needs and goals.
2. They Have a High Level of Expertise
There are thousands of digital agencies in the US alone. Many offer a broad range of similar services. It’s no wonder then that it’s difficult to choose between them when they all offer the same thing.
Thus, the differentiating factor has to be a refined level of expertise. At Neil Patel Digital, for example, we know what we do well and we know what’s going to perform. That’s why we’ve perfected our specialism: creating impactful paid social campaigns.
3. They’re Proven to Get Results
A great social media agency can prove they create high-performing campaigns. Hence, you should look for case studies, testimonials and reviews that show the agency is capable.
All in all, you must seek out an agency that has credibility, expertise and offers a service catered to your needs.
How to Work with a Social Media Agency
Working with a social media agency is a two-way street. Here’s what you need to do to get the most out of your collaboration:
1. Be Clear and Realistic About Your Goals and Expectations
The social media agency you work with can for sure help you with goal-setting if you don’t know where to start.
However, if you do have goals and expectations in mind you need to communicate them clearly. Because otherwise, they won’t be able to meet all of your expectations… unless they have somebody with the psychic powers of Professor X working at their agency.
The simplest way to make sure your goals are clear and realistic is to have SMART goals. They should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
2. Share the Right Info
A social media agency will be able to achieve more on your behalf if you share relevant documentation, guides, plans and reports with them.
For instance, you might have a documented content strategy across multiple channels, including your blog, email newsletter and so on. The social media agency will need to align what they do with your overarching strategy.
Or, perhaps, you have a strict brand style guide. Share the guide and the agency will be able to choose the right tone and design elements for any creative that they produce.
The purpose of sharing the right information is to make sure the agency gets on the same page as you as quickly as possible.
3. Communicate Well
It’s not only important that you communicate your goals and the right information at the beginning of your working relationship, but also that you keep up communications throughout campaigns or projects.
If you’re able to communicate effectively and efficiently, all of your social media ads and content will go out on time and meet your requirements. This means you have to do the necessary work on your end, too, for example, sharing new company information you want to post in advance or approving content as scheduled.
Above all, communication is key throughout the entire process. A social media agency will want to help you achieve your desired outcomes, but you have to empower them to do so.
How to Find the Right Social Media Agency for You
Research and compare social media agencies before you make a decision. There are a number of places you can find relevant information, aside from a company’s website.
Seek out credible reviews from sites, such as Clutch, G2 and FeaturedCustomers. A Google search will also pull up mentions of the agency around the web.
You can take a deeper dive into an agency by looking them up on LinkedIn. Check out the company’s top brass and see if they have been endorsed and recommended by clients and peers.
Researching these sources isn’t just about seeing how many stars a company has to their name, however. You will also get an idea of what size clients they work with, what kind of projects they work on and the average budget of their clients. This will help you see if, generally, you’re a good fit.
Similarly, you need to know if the agency specializes in the social media services you’re looking for. For this, you may need to do some groundwork. Consider the goals you’d like to achieve and what methods or tactics will help you achieve them.
To help you along in your research, I’ve put together a shortlist of the top social media agencies for different specialisms:
The 8 Top Social Media Agencies
#1 Neil Patel Digital — Best for Social Media Advertising
The expert team at Neil Patel Digital creates winning paid social media campaigns using thorough customer research and data-driven analysis.
Thanks to our extensive skill sets and experience, we’ve been able to work with some mega brands, such as eBay, Google and Intuit.
We’ll help you realize your business objectives through effective audience targeting, powerful messaging and exceptional creative.
#2 Viral Nation — Best for Influencer-Driven Marketing
Viral Nation is best-in-class for influencer marketing campaigns. They work with a wide range of influencers, from nano-influencers to macro-influencers and celebrities.
As per their name the agency aims to create viral campaigns that produce a high return on your investment. Furthermore, Viral Nation can help you grow on both established and emerging social channels, such as TikTok and Twitch.
#3 Pan Up Productions — Best for Video
Pan Up has created unique and creative social video campaigns for a number of big-name brands, such as Netflix and Apple. For instance, they recently co-produced a pop-up wedding in NYC based on the Netflix show The Umbrella Academy.
Note that they also work with up-and-comers in a number of spaces, such as e-commerce.
#4 Joseph Studios — Best for Organic Growth
Joseph Studios focuses on non-paid social media promo for B2B and B2C clients, which includes activities, such as customer engagement and community building.
The agency has a solid reputation online and has proven its ability to drive more impressions, engagement and social media actions organically.
#5 Social Media 55 — Best for Industry-Specific Marketing
What’s interesting about Social Media 55 is that they have expertise in a number of specific niches, such as bridal, political and real estate. As such, they’re able to hone in on niche-specific tactics and strategies.
They also offer a range of general services, such as influencer marketing and social media management for SMBs.
#6 Sculpt — Best for SaaS and B2B
Sculpt works with B2B and SaaS companies who hope to acquire leads and customers through social media. The agency has a number of case studies that showcase high-performing social media campaigns.
Also worth noting is that Sculpt doesn’t work solely with B2B brands, they also handle social for charities and nonprofits.
#7 Sociallyin — Best for Reputation Management
Sociallyin specializes in community and reputation management. As such, activities include customer support and engagement, along with analytics and brand monitoring.
They work with brands of varying sizes and on an international level, as they also offer multilingual social media services.
Some notable clients include Toyota and TGI Fridays.
#8 Brafton — Best for Custom Extras
What makes Brafton stand out is the unique add-ons they offer alongside their social media packages. For instance, you can add live blogging or live Tweeting for events or news coverage.
Despite being a large agency, clients have praised the quality of their work and their communication skills.
As you can see, these agencies have different specialisms and tend to work on different kinds of projects. So, it really does pay to have an understanding of what you hope to achieve from the get-go.
With more people using social media to research brands and purchases, it’d be crazy not to take advantage of it as a marketing or advertising channel.
But, there may be areas where your knowledge or resources are lacking. So, it’s natural that you’d consider working with a social media agency.
The first step in choosing an agency is to know your goals and desired outcomes. The reason being, your goals will inform the strategies you want an agency to pursue for you and help you seek out experts that are the right fit for you.
What are the business objectives you’d like to achieve through social media?