What do social media agencies do?
Although social media is fairly common in today’s age and day, I doubt that you’ve heard of a social media agency, or even the term social media marketing before.
In short, social media marketing agencies mostly focus on creating and organizing content specifically designed for social media. Then it’s time for social media management, which includes scheduling and publishing the content on various channels according to your digital strategy.
Doesn’t sound too interesting, right? But what about increased revenue and traffic for your website? Beginners may focus on metrics such as likes and followers, but a good social media marketing agency knows that those aren’t the focus. Instead, they’ll focus on reporting and analysis.
As a team, a lot of our time is spent just collecting and analyzing data. If you really wanted to, you could probably even call us a data analytics company, except for the fact that we utilize social media in many different aspects.
In the digital marketing world, we need to understand and interpret the data that comes in after a post goes up on social media. If we don’t pay attention to the data, or you choose a subpar social media marketing agency then growth will be a lot slower.
It’s important to regularly audit our accounts and use the data obtained to create internal reports that will guide our digital marketing strategy. However, it is common for social media marketing companies to disagree with their clients over future directions.
It’s completely normal, and considered a good practice for a social media marketing agency to collect data from social media advertising and then use this to flesh out a social media marketing strategy.
However, it’s also relatively common for clients to have a preconceived notion regarding a digital strategy, and they actually have no clue about what a successful marketing campaign should include, and how social media campaigns play into it. These internal reports are important for social media marketing companies if they want to optimize their social media strategy. It’s also important for a social media marketing company to work in conjunction with companies regarding their target audience, branding, content and social media channels.
If you run social media campaigns with the aid of a social media marketing agency, you should keep in mind that they as professional marketers have a better understanding of how to tailor a social media strategy to your audience.
External reports are designed in mind for our clients. In essence, a short summary of successes and failures are given and the reports are tailored specifically to display the value of our social media marketing agency from a full service digital marketing point of view. Additionally, this report will tie into their general marketing campaigns and e-commerce strategy as a whole.
Although the monthly reports are quite detailed, some details are omitted because they’re not especially important to clients. Generally clients are more focused on how the social media campaign is doing in terms of quantitative values such as likes, follows, or revenue rather than the specifics on content creation, video production, and web design. They don’t care how the web design is, nor necessarily which social media ads are the best and whether or not an influencer marketing agency was helpful so it doesn’t make sense to include these details as part of our reports, these are better put into internal reports.
In general, these reports are relatively tricky to make because social media services differ from general marketing campaigns in the sense that they’re not directly tied to ROI. Instead, they combine brand awareness and sales into one.
Social media platforms allow multiple micro-interactions for our clients and their target audience. Since social media marketing comes in many forms such as email marketing or influencer marketing, it also allows for the target audience to be slowly lured in through a variety of social media channels a little bit at a time. This allows for people to slowly become buyers, then repeat buyers, referrers and eventually big fans of your brand.
Now let’s discuss some services that a social media marketing agency may offer to a company in need of social media services.
What services does a social media marketing agency offer?
Different social media marketing agencies will offer slightly different services. For the most part, social media marketing agencies tend to focus on the paid side and not so much the organic side. However, at Rank by Focus we do both. Aside from the services offered, it’s also important that the content is creative, original and high-quality. Social media marketing services are only as effective as the original content itself, without good content digital marketing tends to fall flat.
At Rank by Focus, we use a variety of different digital marketing tactics in order to target and engage our clients’ target audience through various social media channels. Our core services can be sorted into the following categories:
- Account Management
- Customer Service
- Account growth
Of course, not every service we offer fit into these categories but those will be discussed later. First let’s focus on the main social media marketing services Rank by Focus offers.
Social media management is multi-faceted, it’s not a one step success story. You need to consider the actual content and publishing it, but you also need to keep in mind that engagement is one of the best social media marketing strategies too.
Content curation is an immense task. Not only do you have to find and create relevant content, but you have to promote it as well. Even then, your job isn’t done because you need to optimize your content, add and optimize images, as well as make sure that everything is appropriate for your company. So as you can see, this is definitely no small feat. In addition to that, gathering and interpreting the statistics of your recent social media requires a qualified individual to understand how to utilize your stats and optimize your posts. After all, what’s the point in knowing that your last post was your most popular post if you don’t know how to take advantage of it? And that’s where social media management experts come in, and Rank by Focus has a team of social media management experts that are ready to help your company optimize its social media management.
Actually posting your content is also quite hard, it’s not as easy as just clicking the post button and forgetting about it. It’s important that you define a regular posting schedule that is manageable for either your team, or the social media marketing agency you hire. For example, it’s inefficient to post multiple times a day if you’re unable to make conversions, interact with your customer base and generate sales from each post. You would be wasting time and manpower by having someone create and post on social media platforms multiple times a day if your posts aren’t generating enough traffic to justify the amount of time and money you spend on it. Especially if you’re a smaller company, you want to slowly build up that level of trust and responsiveness with your customers, and you can do this by posting regularly on your various social media channels. Just make sure you choose a social media marketing strategy that is feasible for your company’s social media marketing team.
The other part to consider is engagement. As mentioned before, this is one of the best social media marketing strategies. Not only does it build brand awareness, but interactions with your customers make them feel valued and also give them a positive view of your company. Other forms of engagement could be responding to a business hashtag you made, or using influencer marketing to expand your target audience. As mentioned before, this ties into content creation and posting. Social media management is extremely hard, and requires a knowledgeable social media marketing team to handle it. Especially if you’re a small business that’s just starting out, it can be incredibly challenging to juggle both content creation/posting with engagement. This is especially the case for people or businesses who go viral overnight, and expect to be able to handle their social media campaign the same way they always have. A digital marketing agency will be able to work in conjunction with your social media marketing to ensure that your engagement levels remain high and are optimized along with your content creation and posting schedule.
All of the factors mentioned increase brand awareness by leaving a good impression on the people who view your social media ads. However, we cannot stress how important it is that social media engagement is properly handled as that’s where you can turn casual viewers into high-quality customers that not only return but will refer your products and services to other people.
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Social Media Advertising (Paid Social Media)
Traditionally, the main social media channel used to advertise was Facebook, but other social media channels such as Instagram and YouTube are becoming a lot more common. Choosing the social media channel is also largely dependent on the target audience as well as your product/service.
PPC social media is quite different from organic social media, since you need to constantly monitor your progress and money spent. Compared to regular social media marketing efforts, you don’t spend anything so instead you can focus only on optimizing your content.
PPC social media is also closer to display advertising rather than search advertising. Either you or the social media marketing company will be able to determine who sees the ad at what time. This can generate quick leads to your e-commerce website or company. Unlike traditional search advertising, social media advertising has the ability to create a deeper connection with the user for every interaction they have with your company. Although you may be used to just looking for a conversion or a click, marketing through social media platforms will also generate thing such as likes, follow, shares and more. Social media advertising is also a great method to increase brand awareness as well. It’s important that you don’t disregard these other metrics as well just because it doesn’t directly lead into revenue. These other interactions will increase your brand awareness across social media channels, resulting in more people knowing about your company. In addition to this, any positive interactions will result in more positive feelings about your company.
That said, it’s important to pick and choose which social media marketing strategies you choose to employ. Examples of some paid marketing efforts are influencer marketing, B2B social media, content marketing, and more. It’s important to know when to use one strategy over another. For example, you might focus on influencer marketing if your target audience is a younger demographic or you might choose to focus on content marketing more if your target audience is slightly older.
In our professional experience, the best social media marketing strategy happens when it’s combined as part of a larger marketing strategy. This should not be your only source of marketing, especially if you’re relying only on paid social media marketing services and not just paid marketing in general.
Social media advertising is also especially important for building personal interactions with the customer. Since so much of the world is online these days, it’s common for social media ads to be the first interaction with the user. An example of how social media advertising could work as part of a larger marketing campaign would be to entice them to do research on your product after being exposed to your social media ads, and your organic search strategy should be in place to further draw them in. Additionally, if you combine this with a general full service digital marketing company you should be able to utilize the increased amount of leads you generate from paid search effectively enough to increase the total amount of conversions. It’s important that you utilize all facets of social media marketing to target your customers wherever they are. The main focus of paid marketing strategies are to place the ad where a potential customer is most likely to see it.
Social Media Customer Service
Social media customer service is essentially an extension of marketing and social media management. The best social media marketing agencies should be able to execute this without any issues at all, but this requires close communication between the client and us. It’s important that we choose a marketing strategy that works for both us and our client’s customer service team. Sometimes this means answering inquiries on websites or just solving the problem for the customer as fast as possible, sometimes even before the company themselves gets to it. It’s important that interactions on social media are handled carefully, as a customer reaching out on social media with an issue could just as easily make a social media post detailing their issue because your interaction with them was not positive.
Our goal is to work together with our clients and follow the best social media practices and handle these customer service requests regardless the social media channel they use in order to provide the best user experience. Not only is it important that all inquiries are answered on social media, it’s important to address good, neutral and bad interactions as well. In order to keep public relations well, online reputation management needs to be on the forefront of both our clients and our company. A good online reputation management strategy would mean that there are no unanswered inquiries for any company, regardless if it’s for a larger company or for smaller businesses. Remember that these interactions may seem very small to you, but your marketing efforts will pay off in the long-term with an established social media presence and great community management.
Social Media Account growth
Although proper community management, content marketing, social media presence and paid social media management will eventually increase the growth of your social media account, you want to think about growth as a separate component. Social media agencies will have specific digital marketing strategies that they have to specifically increase the growth of your business.
Depending on your overall digital marketing strategy, if you incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) or not, as well as a ton of other factors you may or may not want to focus on growth. Even then, different social media marketing agencies will approach it differently for different social media channels. A comprehensive social media marketing strategy should factor in various social media platforms, search engine optimization as well as how it plays into your other marketing campaigns.
It’s important that you tailor your digital marketing strategy in accordance with the social media you’re using. For example, if you’re using something like Twitter, you want to make sure you’re targeting follows and unfollows not only in the right demographic so you reach your target audience, but also in the right industry and that the social media platform you’re using is likely to be used by the user you want. Other ways to encourage growth are active engagement and content marketing and creation. On the other hand, if you’re running marketing campaigns on Facebook or Instagram, you would want to focus on not only targeted follows and unfollows, but also likes. It’s also important to realize that each social media has its own target demographic and you need to choose the best social media platform for your purposes.
The top social media marketing companies tend to use a combination of social media platforms, rather than restricting themselves to just one or the other. Full service digital marketing agencies will ensure that your social media interactions and marketing campaigns are handled accordingly in conjunction with each other. For example, if we were looking at creative small businesses, it would be better for a social media marketing company to redirect sales and use social media to refer to an e-commerce website or shop, rather than just use social media as a means of selling. It’s important to recognize that digital marketing should be used in conjunction with sales, but although you can sell items on Facebook and Instagram it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Instead, think of a digital marketing agency as a highway to cleaning up your social media marketing so that you can focus more on other aspects of marketing campaigns such as web design.
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Other Social Media Services and Competencies
As mentioned before, there are other services that full service digital marketing agencies have, but they’re harder to sort under the main categories. Instead, they can be considered as add-ons or additional elements that can take the previous services one step further.
These are very important as they explain how we, and some of the top social media marketing companies operate and deliver only the best results for our clients.
Chatbots can technically be thought of as either engagement or customer service tools depending on how they’re incorporated.
For example you can choose to integrate a Facebook chatbot that is linked to your Facebook ads, so you don’t have to wait for a real person on Facebook to reply to someone’s inquiry. This decreases the amount of time that clients have to wait, which results in an increased likelihood of them walking away with a positive interaction with your company. This also leads to less complaints regarding the company’s social media channels. This is an example of how you can use chatbots as an extension of your customer service team.
However, you can also use chatbots to create engagement. For example, you can have automated bots on your social media pages. If our client’s page is getting a lot of interactions on their social media channels, we want to make sure that potential customers have an engaging experience. You can set up chatbots that walk customers through customer reviews, blog or any other type of content, all without actually expending human resources.
However, you need to make sure that something like a chatbot would work for both the marketing firm you hire and your social media management team. The main appeal of a chatbot is that it creates messages that people are more likely to actually read, whereas in strategies like email marketing it’s common for consumers to just delete it without even clicking into it. It’s also easy to draw potential customers in through this format, as it mimics in-person shopping but through social media. When clients’ potential customers comment or message a company through something like a Facebook Ad, they can now get a real-time response without you having to expend additional human resources.
If successful, then you can send them information regarding your products and services to their phone via social media.
In general, it’s considered best practice to communicate regularly between a digital marketing company and their client. It’s important that the goals and directions are delivered clearly to social media agencies, so that they can carry out your marketing campaigns seamlessly.
It’s important that regular meetings are made between the social media agencies’ and their clients to discuss the progress of current campaigns, as well as new content and upcoming plans. It’s important that these regular meetings continue as the digital marketing agency progresses through the marketing campaign so that clients are receiving real-time progress and feedback from their search engine optimization strategy.
To Rank by Focus, working with our clients is a partnership, and that means equal contributions of opinions and feedback to make e-commerce marketing work.
Content Marketing consulting
We don’t always create our client’s content by ourselves, and if we don’t then it’s important that we find a full service digital marketing agency that understands the strategy and knows what needs to be made.
Because we as a full service digital marketing agency understand social media advertising, as well as the audience and what they like in terms of things like web design and video production; we have valuable insight that needs to be considered when creating content.
As a digital agency, we have a wide range of industry knowledge that includes digital marketing as a whole and not just social media marketing. We are able to use our vast area of knowledge to also consult on things such as video production, web design, e-commerce marketing, email marketing, marketing automation and others. It’s important that your social media marketing efforts have the best impact when combined with your other marketing campaigns too.
As mentioned before, we consider ourselves to be one of the most knowledgeable marketing firms out there, comparable to Social Media 55 or Thrive internet marketing agency. Although we don’t actually offer education courses to our clients, we do take the time required to make sure that our experts are up to date with the newest digital marketing strategies there are. Especially with a marketing channel like social media that changes every day, we need to constantly attend conferences and interact with other full service digital marketing agencies to discuss all the latest tools and technology available to us as a full service digital marketing agency.
Although we admit that this does take time away from our clients, a social media agency that doesn’t spend any time on educating themselves and staying up to date is not an agency that you want to work with. You deserve the best, and that means the newest marketing strategies too.
How to find the best Digital Marketing company
A lot of brands are successful without the help of a digital marketing agency, or a social media agency. However, not all brands are able to do it on their own without agencies, consultants and marketing strategists.
If a digital marketing agency is a partner you’ve thought about trying, then we think you’ll find this article super helpful with plenty of tips for agency advice, social media marketing, and just marketing in general. Or if you already have a social media marketing team on board, then hopefully this article will help your next meeting or consultation run a lot smoother.
Keep reading to decide if you really need a social media marketing agency, which factors to keep an eye out for and avoid, and of course some examples of what a successful social media marketing partnership looks like. Read on to find some advice!
The Landscape of a Social Media Agency
Have you had any experience with a digital marketing agency? Or have you done all your digital marketing in-house like us? It’s easy to get used to relying on your own social media marketing team and not want to find an external digital marketing agency. After all, it can be hard to find someone that you trust with your company, which we completely understand!
Even then, you have to realize that a lot of the most successful and effective brands on social media are actually able to pull of their social media marketing strategy with a one-person social media team or a small group of individuals that may or may not be experts. Especially if you have a limited budget, this might be what you’ve had to do with digital marketing. However, a choice that you can consider if you have an extremely tight budget and can’t afford to hire a full service digital marketing agency is to only hire one expert. This one expert can then either be given the resources to make things happen under the management of your company, or they can be used as a fountain of knowledge to progress your personal digital marketing team.
This actually fits with how the social media marketing landscape as well. It’s becoming increasingly common for agencies or select people to be hired only for a social media touch-up or as part of a marketing campaign. This also allows you to test out if the social media company is compatible with your vision and your marketing team.
Going back to doing marketing in-house, although it is important that your company has enough to be able to stand on its own in the digital marketing world, it’s also important that you consider outside opinions too, which is where a social media agency comes in.
If you’re still unsure about how to to look into agencies or if they might be suitable for you, we hope to provide some tips that will allow you to make informed decisions when deciding if you want a full service digital marketing agency or not. Even if you’re a seasoned pro, we’re hoping that our tips will prove helpful and might even encourage you to reach out to us for any of your social media needs.
Do you need a social media agency?
It can be quite the challenge to recognize when you need outside help. Especially when you consider that you’re limited by your marketing budget as well as time and people. In addition to that, you may be used to overcoming marketing challenges by yourself or in a team that you’re familiar and comfortable with.
If you’re unsure, here are some questions that can help you decide:
- Are you unsure as to how to get more followers?
- Is your engagement rate still increasing? Do you know how to increase it?
- Do you want an objective perspective and expertise for your social media marketing strategy and goals?
- Unsure about how to measure and track ROI for your social media marketing efforts?
- Do you feel that your social media goals are unachievable because you feel constrained by time and resources?
- Do you have extra remaining marketing budget at the end of each month and unsure about how to get the best use out of it?
If you answered yes to any of these questions that should be a sign that you should take a closer look at what a social media agency could offer you and your company.
It’s also very helpful to get a sense of what exactly a social media agency offers that you can’t do yourself. After all, if you’ve been able to get by with your own marketing team then what else could they offer that you don’t already do? You want to keep in mind that there’s a lot that goes behind social media marketing other than just content creation and the other typical marketing strategies.
Take a look at some of the services that a social media agency could offer your company:
- Agencies can help you build up the basics of social media management — that means going back to just basic planning and scheduling, as well as replying and engagement. They may also suggest using third-party tools
- They can come up with a new social media strategy that is custom-tailored for your company and your goals
- They can help with executing your strategy and actually putting it into the real world
- They can help undertake paid social media work
- Content development
- Your community management
- Analytics and ROI analysis
The most common solutions that agencies provide are with social media management and paid social. But truly, whatever you can dream up for social media, an agency can help make it happen.
We also briefly mentioned the budget just a little bit above, but we also wanted to give you a rough estimate on some costs that you can expect to spend when hiring a social media agency.
The numbers of course vary widely, depending on what you’re looking for, where you’re located and depending on if it’s a long-term job or just for one campaign. However, according to a recent article from HubSpot, this is a rough estimate of what you can expect when hiring an expert or a whole social media agency:
- $15-$50 per hour for an employee that has zero-three years of experience
- $50-$100 per hour for three years or more of experience
- $120+ per hour for experts with impressive portfolios and case studies
Now that you have a better sense about whether or not you need a social media marketing agency, or if it fits within your budget we can finally talk about how to find the best one for your purposes. There are actually two separate parts to this decision: First you want to just find a basic list of the best social media agencies to work with, and secondly you need to make sure that you know exactly what services you need and want for your company.
Step one: How to find the best social media agencies
When you’re thinking about finding the perfect agency to work with for your project, you want to have a list of some sorts to quickly cross-reference with an agency that you find.
- Do they specialize in the skills you need?
- Do they have sufficient experience in your field?
- Do they have strong case studies or a list of successful clients?
Obviously, there’s a lot more that you can ask than just this, but this is a quick checklist that will let you weed out the ones that obviously won’t work for you.
First, you’ll want to understand what the agency specializes in. Are they a full service digital marketing company, a regular digital marketing company, a media company? There’s quite a few types out there, and especially if you’re looking for a very niche service you want to make sure that the agency you choose will be able to fit your needs.
In this case, let’s assume that you’re looking specifically for social media results, and you don’t want anything else at all, in that case you should be wary of broader categorized agencies that describe themselves as “digital marketing” or “content marketing.” Instead, you want to look for an agency that mention they have a particular focus on social media — and even then there’s a lot of different ones such as a social media marketing agency vs a social content team. Depending on your needs, you’ll have to dig into these individually to see which one will fit with you.
Additionally, as we mentioned before you should also see if they specialize within your industry. For example, some agencies might be more experienced and comfortable working with brick-and-mortar stores, whereas others are more likely to work with technology companies. Depending on your company you might also have to cross some agencies out based on this.
Generally you should first try to look on their website to see if they say what they specialize in, and if not you can always take a look at past clients or ask for work examples/case studies. If they refuse to offer this information then you definitely want to look elsewhere for a digital marketing agency.
You’ll also want to see what results they’ve achieved through working with past clients, ideally you want to be able to find a past project that is similar your current project.
Additionally, you should also take a look at how successfully they promote themselves on their own social media. This is extremely helpful when you’re trying to assess a social media consultant for your company. Chances are, if they can’t even successfully market themselves on their own social media, they probably won’t be able to for you either.
If you need some help putting together interview questions for your agency search, here are some sample questions that you should include:
- What would you consider to be your core competencies?
- Do you have some examples of success that you’ve had with clients in my industry?
- Can you introduce me to one of your previous clients?
- How do you research and analyze in my industry?
- What are some examples of you adjusting a strategy mid-campaign?
- How do you measure reach? Growth? Engagement?
- What is your reporting process like?
- Do you outsource your work?
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask around in your network for referrals! This is actually the main way that businesses find social media agencies, not through organic search but through referrals. It’s actually quite a lot more popular to go this route instead of searching Google or searching the web for content or really any other way that you can to find agencies.
Step two: Know what your project needs
In most cases, you’ll likely already have this done as part of your regular marketing campaign. In any case, if you haven’t here are some questions that you should be able to answer for your company:
- What specific work do you need done? This includes things such as the scope, timeline, and budget.
- How will you measure the success the project? This could be through a certain projected increase in revenue or something else
- How do you want your communication to look like?
Earlier, we discussed a list of all the different things that digital marketing agencies can help you with. Since they can offer such diverse skills, it’s important that you know exactly what you need prior to looking for an agency so that you don’t end up choosing something you’re not sure you need.
One of the most important things to consider is whether you require help with the strategy or execution of your marketing campaign.
This can drastically alter the path you take, so even if you don’t know the answers to the other questions you should at the very least know this. If you’re looking for help with strategy, then a consulting agency would be a good fit for you. If you’re looking for someone that can help with content creation or executing a plan, then a studio or content creation agency would be a better choice.
We mentioned it previously, and we’ll mention it again, you need to consider scope, timeline, and budget because these factors might automatically exclude some agency partners right away if their services don’t line up with your goals or if they’re too far out of budget.
As for the specifics of your project, you’ll also need to know how to measure success. As you know with social media marketing, there’s quite a few metrics that you can choose from. It’s generally considered good practice to want good results across all the metrics from the agency that you’re partnering with. Therefore you should focus on things that will help determine your overall social media health such as the following:
- Social Media Reach/Brand awareness
- Follower Growth
- Website Traffic
- Lead Generation from Social Media Marketing
Lastly as we mentioned before, you also want to think about how you want to communicate with your chosen agency. You want to consider things such as:
- Point of contact – will they be contacting one member of your team, or will they be working with your entire team?
- Timing – how often do you want to meet? This could vary from a weekly basis to monthly.
- Tools and Software – Are there any apps you want to use such as Slack or Asana to communicate?
As a company that is based in various places around the world, from New York to Malaysia and Singapore, we’re quite comfortable with a variety of online tools. However, not all agencies are okay communicating through these platforms. Regardless of your personal preference, you have to make sure that the digital marketing agency is comfortable with the same method.
Examples of great digital marketing agency work
This example comes from an award winner for being one of the best digital agencies in the world.
One of the top campaigns was from an agency called No Fixed Address. They worked on a campaign with a Canadian whiskey brand called J.P. Wiser. To begin with, they invested time into the website design to create an experience that would allow people could come and write personal toasts to people that they know. The company would then take these personalized toasts from their customers and put them onto ads that were displayed on billboards, subways, and even the radio. They then targeted these ads so that the people who created the toasts would be able to see the ads during their regular commutes.
What was stellar about this campaign was that it not only was a very original and customer-tailored ad, but it included a very natural and organic social media component that resulted in their ad generating more and more interest. For example, a lot of people ended up sharing pictures of themselves with their ads on social media with a hashtag or tagging the company.
In general, there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a digital marketing agency, and just googling a list of the top digital marketing agency and choosing the first one isn’t really an effective way to go about it. Hopefully we helped you out and you’ll be able to make a more informed choice as to what digital marketing agency you’re in the market for, and remember that if you ever want to contact us we’re always here for you!
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