Active social media users spend more than two hours a day on their favorite platforms. And since billions of people are using sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok, those sites have become ideal locations for businesses to connect with audiences. More than 70% of businesses that have used social media for marketing rate it somewhat or very effective. That's not surprising, as more than half of all social media users say they use the platforms regularly to browse products or find out about services.
Some businesses handle social media marketing on their own, utilizing internal marketing staff to handle daily posting, follower engagement and message response, and paid social media campaigns. However, the time internal staff spends on social platforms can take away from other marketing objectives and customer-facing tasks, and as your business grows, you may find that the time you can allocate to social media marketing each day isn't enough to generate a strong return. Conversely, the hours that are required to create, publish, analyze and respond to powerful social media marketing campaigns can quickly begin to create a drag on your company's internal marketing resources. For that reason, many companies turn to social media marketing agencies for everything from daily organic social media posting to comprehensive cross-platform social media marketing campaigns, to social media influencer efforts designed to market and sell product. Learn how to hire the right social media marketing company for your company's needs by following these essential steps.
Identify gaps in your digital marketing strategy.
Get an understanding of social media platforms, and which ones are most important to your target audience.
Research social media marketers and narrow down your search.
Interview potential marketers and ask these questions.
Partner with your social media marketer to communicate your brand and plan content.
Understand the cost of social media marketing and how to measure ROI.
Identify gaps in your digital marketing strategy.Along with content marketing and SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing is a major component of digital marketing strategy. The value of social media marketing to your company, and the outline of your social media strategy, both will depend on what you need to promote or sell, and the demographics and social media behaviors of your target audience. A good way to begin thinking about your social media marketing needs is to identify what's missing from your overall digital marketing approach, and consider how social media may fill those gaps.
Common deficits or challenges may include:
- Not understanding which social media platforms are best for your brand, or how to leverage those platforms to connect with your audience
- A lack of creative resources to come up with consistent, high-quality content
- Limited resources and time, which means you're not posting on social media consistently enough to foster trust and loyalty with your audience
- Weak social media engagement, including a deficit of likes and comments, that result in low sales conversions convert or weak brand reach
- Mistakes on social media that have led to connecting with the wrong audience, or damage to your brand's reputation that needs to be repaired
[resource-expertip content="Social media reputation management is a key part of social media marketing. Generally speaking, social media is used to post content, engage with users, and market brands, goods and services. But sometimes professional assistance is needed to help undo damage or correct misinformation related to a company's social media efforts. Because social media is designed to facilitate the voicing of opinions, and to encourage user communication with one another, a bad review or negative comment about a business or directed toward a business can quickly snowball into a major problem. A social media marketing agency can provide strategic guidance and expedite a reputation management campaign to respond to users, promote positive content, and position user-generated content to improve your social media reputation without deleting your account or silencing users."]
Get an understanding of social media platforms, and which ones are most important to your target audience.While some social media marketing agencies and consultants specialize in specific social media platforms, most agencies handle marketing across all platforms. But that doesn't mean that as a company you need to be marketing on every platform. Spreading yourself and your message too thinly can damage the performance of your social media marketing efforts. For optimal ROI, it's also important to target your marketing efforts to the specific platforms, and specific features within those platforms, where your target audience and customers engage with social media content and interact with each other. Generally speaking, younger audiences gravitate toward Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok. Older adults tend to use Facebook as their main platform. Here are additional user statistics that may be helpful to understand, as you think about your social media marketing strategy:
As of 2019...
- Users 65 and older are the fastest growing age demographic on Facebook.
- North American users comprise only 10% of Facebook users, while Asian-Pacific users account for 41% of active monthly Facebook users.
- Facebook's highest traffic occurs Wednesday and Thursday, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time.
- More than half of all Instagram users around the world are younger than 34.
- 90% of all Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform.
- After seeing a product or service on Instagram, nearly 80% of users seek more information, while nearly 50% make a purchase.
- More than 80% of U.S.-based Internet users between the ages of 15-25 actively use YouTube.
- YouTube users watch a combined total of more than one billion hours of video every day.
- Between 2017 and 2018 YouTube saw watch time double for “which product to buy” videos.
- Top Benefit: Super-specific targeting—the world's largest social media platform lets you select very specific demographic parameters for your ad targeting, including location, age, language, gender, relationship status, interests, occupation, income, net worth, and political affiliation.
- Top Benefit: Highly visual—this is an excellent platform for any marketing objective that needs to show customers not just the product or service being marketing, but how it's used and by whom.
- Top Benefit: Powerful B2B capability—this platform is a top choice for companies that need to generate business leads, form business partnerships and alliances, and hire high-quality employees.
Research social media marketers and narrow down your search.In addition to familiarizing yourself with different social media platforms, their user behaviors, and their benefits, you need to understand the different types of social media marketing experts, and teams of experts, that are available to you. These are the three main options:
- In-house social media managers or teams: These are full- or part-time employees who work for you and handle social media. Pros include ensuring complete control of your social brand and having employees who are likely more familiar with your brand. As for cons, it can be difficult to scale, and you may not have the resources to support this staff.
- Freelancers: You can hire freelancers to handle some of the components of your social media marketing. This includes writers to write posts, designers to create visuals, and virtual assistants to manage scheduling and posting. Pros include flexibility and affordability, as you can typically find freelancers to fit any budget. You can also pair freelancers with in-house resources who can manage the process for greater oversight. Cons include the need for in-house quality control to ensure freelancers are meeting brand needs and reliance on freelancers who may not be available when you need them.
- Social media marketing agency: Working with a company that provides comprehensive cross-platform social media marketing strategy and execution is often the choice of businesses that rely heavily or solely on social media for their marketing needs. Pros include expert guidance, individual platform expertise.com and certification, in-house production capabilities, high-level monitoring and analytics, and demonstrable KPIs (key performance indicators). Typically, cost is the only con when hiring a reputable agency, but you can find agencies with flexible fees to meet various business budgets.
Interview potential marketers and ask these questions.Once you identify what type and size social media marketing provider is the best fit for your objectives and budget, start your search with a defined list of vetted providers. Visit their websites to view case studies, client testimonials, and portfolios. Then, ask those agencies the following questions to help you decide which company is the right partner for you:
- Do you offer customized social media marketing services and platform-specific options that I can choose from?
- Does you specialize exclusively in social media marketing, or is social media just one part of your digital marketing services?
- Do any of your staff members hold social media marketing certifications (for example, Facebook Blueprint certification, Hubspot or Hootsuite certifications, Twitter Flight School certification), and will a certified marketer oversee my marketing campaign?
- What platforms do you specialize in, and can you show me examples of platform-specific marketing campaigns?
- Do you offer content creation as well as social media marketing strategy?
- Do you have in-house photography and/or videography production capabilities?
- If you outsource content creation and/or production, what quality control measures do you use?
- Can you work alongside our other digital marketing providers or consultants collaboratively?
- What is the cost, and how will you bill me?
Partner with your social media marketer to communicate your brand and plan content.In most cases, your social media marketing agency's performance is only as strong as the information you provide. Start by ensuring the agency understands your brand—including what it sounds like, who it speaks to, and what it shouldn't sound like.
Then, go over your business objectives. Set specific, measurable goals with a realistic timeline. Examples include, "increasing web traffic from social 10% by year's end" or "increasing email signups 2% per month."
Collaborate with your social media marketing agency proactively by following these tips:
- Create editorial calendars and posts, and publish them as planned. Ask your social media pro what publishing and calendar tools they use and whether you can be an active participant in the process.
- Establish regular check-ins. In the beginning, you may meet weekly to monitor how efforts are going, check to ensure the agency is sticking to your brand message, and learn what success was achieved. As you grow to trust a partner, you may be able to meet monthly.
- Determine who's responsible for each part of your strategy. Often, you need to follow up with comments on posts or like and share other people's content to become an organic part of a community. Decide if you want employees to handle this or if it's another activity for the social media agency.
- Respond to questions quickly to provide your partner with what they need for success.
Understand the cost of social media marketing and how to measure ROI.The costs of social media marketing vary, but campaigns can run between $400 and $5,000 per month, or more. How much you pay depends on what tasks you hire out, who you hire, and whether you include social media advertising in the budget.
- Content posts: Freelancers charge between $1 and $10, on average, to create text content for social posts. Visuals can cost $50 to $500, depending on the complexity of the design required.
- Social media management: Freelancers and agencies charge between $250 and $5,000 a month to manage social media marketing. The cost depends on the scale and what's included in the service.
- Social media advertising budget: You can start as low as $5 with many social media ad campaigns, and there's no upper limit. Average spending for businesses ranges from around $15 to $200 per day, with larger companies potentially spending much more during peak ad seasons.
- Direct messages
- Visits to your website
- Sales conversions
Ready to speak to an expert? Here is our list of the best social media marketing agencies near you.
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