Ten years ago, social media marketing companies were just starting to emerge. At that time, platforms like LinkedIn and YouTube were growing in popularity with adult viewers, Twitter had just launched, and Myspace (there’s a “blast from the past”) was the most popular of the social networks. Fast-forward to 2017, and it’s amazing just how much has changed and developed!
Whether you own your business, are a freelancer in the “gig economy” or employed by a business or organization, chances are you could benefit from the expertise of a social media marketing company to improve and enhance the visibility of your brand by leveraging the power, and eyeballs, that social media provides.
So, what makes for a great social media marketing company? What are the skills you need to look for when you’re seriously considering contracting with an outside agency to provide this critical service?
8 Critical Social Media Marketing Skills
We believe these skills are essential, if a social media marketing company is going to help you meet your business goals. The next time you’re speaking with a vendor who claims they can provide social media marketing for your business, ask them about the following points listed below. If their representative can provide high-quality examples from current and past clients, you might just want to sign a contract. If a company can’t, or won’t, produce examples of prior work, you might be better off moving on to someone else – fast!
Social Media Marketing Company Skill #1 –
Copywriting and Content Creation
To draw attention and drive engagement on social media, you not only need to create a captivating story but also strong copywriting skills that can tell that story via text, photo, images, video, and live presentations. Copywriting is a must-have skill and creating exciting and appealing social media content is what your customers want. When you’re meeting with a company representative, take a close look at the various examples they show – can you picture your business being a part of the marketing company’s roster of clients? How would they tell the story of your business?
Social Media Marketing Company Skill #2 –
Creating Compelling Visuals & Videos
Social media has become very visually-oriented, so if you want to draw customers to your message, you’ll need some attractive “eye candy.” Infographics, illustrations, cartoons, photographs, and short instructional videos can be used for social media, on your business’ website, and in more traditional communication methods such as e-newsletters, online and printed advertisements, and printed materials such as brochures, pamphlets, postcards, and catalogs. As with copywriting, look at the examples shown to you. Do you see design styles that resonate with your business’ mission? If you’re looking for a social media marketing company to help you re-brand your visual identity, ask to see “before and after” examples from other clients. A case study that describes the strategy utilized to achieve a client’s new “look” and what the outcomes were, can provide you with insight on how the company operates.
Social Media Marketing Company Skill #3 –
Confident Communication & Customer Service
When you hire a social media marketing company, you’re making the decision to delegate the role of social media communication. You want to ensure that the individuals responsible for monitoring comments, messages, and responses you receive on your social account and website will exhibit a professional and courteous manner that aligns with the mission of your business. Are they conversational, friendly, and helpful when questions are asked, or problems arise? How would they manage a negative comment or complaint that gets posted by an unhappy customer? Getting answers to these questions, and more, are essential when it comes to hiring the right company for the job.
Also, if the company you contract with will be producing videos, you’ll want to make sure the “talent” meets your standards and reflects well upon your business. Almost anyone with a smart phone can shoot a short video, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end product will be good for promoting your brand!
Social Media Marketing Company Skill #4 –
Effective Strategic Planning
The social media marketing company your hire needs to work with you in developing and executing your business’ strategic plan. If one of your business goals is to open two new locations within the next five years, your online marketing tactics need to align with those outcomes. Ideally, the company you choose to work with will be one that can play an active role in positioning your business in the best possible light for your target audience.
Social Media Marketing Company Skill #5 –
Business Intelligence & Marketing Analytics
When you schedule a meeting with a potential candidate or company to handle your social media marketing, be sure to request samples of the performance reports they give to clients. For example, if one of your business goals is to drive traffic from social media to your e-commerce website, a report attributing traffic and conversions will help everyone understand what content is strongest in facilitating sales and attracting new customers.
The term, ‘analytics,’ can refer to different kinds of metrics (e.g. likes, comments, shares, etc.) as well as business metrics (e.g. conversions, leads, revenue, traffic, etc.). An experienced social media marketing company will know how to interpret both types and then work with you to measure social media performance against business goals.
Social Media Marketing Company Skill #6 –
While business intelligence and marketing analytics will help you to understand which social media messages perform the best, having some knowledge of behavioral psychology will allow you to understand WHO your key customers are, WHY they connect with certain messaging, and WHAT makes them feel strongly about your business or brand.
Behavioral psychology can assist in the creation of “market personas” that illustrate the various customer types that align with your business. A detailed persona includes demographic, economic, and emotional characteristics of your ideal customers. When you focus your social media content on the correct personas, you can see improved performance from your online and social media marketing efforts.
For example, your marketing analytics data might indicate that Facebook posts with images perform the best. You could simply assume that your customers want to see more images (which may or may not be correct), or you could dig deeper and determine if there’s a stronger motivation at work. For example, posts about upcoming family-friendly events that also have a photo perform the best, followed by posts about future sales that feature a coupon image, followed by posts about community news that use a specific animated gif.
Social Media Marketing Company Skill #7 –
Managing the Budget
When you contract with an outside social media marketing company, your business will be paying monthly, quarterly, or through a flat-sum (“we have 10k to spend on social media and online advertising for the next fiscal year”). That said, you’re expecting the vendor you’ve hired to manage your money well, find the best possible prices for any services they need to out-source and ensure your marketing and advertising dollars are being used effectively. If you’re going to be purchasing online and social media advertising, you’ll want to see and approve all ads before they run, and you’ll also want the representative handling your account to alert you to special advertising, PR, or outreach opportunity that might be a good fit for your business.
Social Media Marketing Company Skill #8 –
Being Flexible and Adaptable
If there’s one thing you can count on when it comes to social media, it’s that the road ahead will be filled with changes, changes, and more changes! As the social landscape is always shifting, it’s important that you stay aware of emerging platforms and the new features that are being added to pre-existing ones. Does that mean you have to be an early adopter of every new platform, trend, and feature? Unless your business is centered on emerging technologies, probably not, but you want to make sure that the company you’re using for social media marketing is flexible and adaptable when it comes to using new technologies. Working with a company that is up-to-date with the latest developments means they can advise you which emerging opportunities could benefit your brand and which ones you might want to “wait and see” what the future brings.
Find a Social Media Marketing Company
It’s certainly an ego boost when your social media account generates lots of likes and shares, but if your business’ social strategy isn’t bringing more customers through your online or bricks-and-mortar store, then you need to step back and analyze what’s happening. When you work with a reputable social media marketing company, you’ll have a trusted business ally to make sure you’re getting the right messages out to the right audience using the right platforms at the right time. The marketing plan you’ll create together may start on a social platform, but it has the power to influence every aspect of your business in a very positive way.
At Road Warrior Creative, we offer a variety of digital marketing services including mobile marketing, website development, search engine optimization, social media communication, e-commerce support, and corporate identity creation. Whether your business needs market research for strategic planning or a comprehensive mobile marketing plan to connect with target customers, start a conversation with us to learn more about how we can help you stay on top of the latest digital marketing trends.