No company can make do today without an active social media platform. Without a doubt, it’s a useful tool for brand awareness and customer engagement and even product sales and business development. But all social media management strategy aren’t equally effective and neither are all social media management agencies.

That’s why it’s essential to work with an agency that shares your philosophy on how social media should be utilised for the brand. Besides that, they need to come with the right expertise and a finger on the pulse of social media trends. All on board so far? Great. Now the thing is, finding the right social media agency for you is a tricky business.

Before you bring your new agency onboard, use this handy set of questions to find out as much as you can about the way they operate.

Question #1: Which social media platforms should my brand be on?

There is no one single right answer to this question, but the short answer would be: Wherever your audience is. Your social media agency, if it’s the right one for you, would have already done their research to understand your business and your audience, in addition to their existing social media acumen should give them a pretty good idea about the right platforms for your business.

If you’ve not bought into the suggestions they make, then you can ask them to take you through their rationale or encourage them to ask you questions that can help them come up with more appropriate recommendations.

Question #2: What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should we track to see if we’re on the right track?

Why is this question important? Tracking the right KPIs will let you know how your brand is performing on multiple fronts that are relevant to you. The keyword here is relevant. While there might be a standard set of responses to this question, a social media agency that truly gets your brand will highlight KPIs that are relevant to your brands current needs and goals.

For instance, for a nascent brand, awareness might be a key goal. However, for a more established brand, there might be specific campaign goals such as attracting x number of candidates or generating x number of leads for the sales team. Of course, your agency cannot guess these, but they should be asking you the right questions so that they can arrive at the right KPIs for you

Question #3: How do you decide which social media platforms to allocate the advertising budget to?

Ideally your social media agency should already have in-house research that indicates which platform gives the best return on investment. This information should be matched with your budget and the nature of your business before they recommend the ideal ad platform mix for you.

Recommended Read: What Exactly Happens in a Brand Creation Process

Question #4: How can we integrate social media with our other marketing efforts?

Social media agencies should not work in isolation. They should work with your sales, marketing and product function in order to help you achieve your business goals.

For instance, social media teams and SEO teams both have to work together to develop content that get both people and search algorithms interested in what you have to say. Similarly, they should be content cohesiveness between your sales materials and your social media posts.

While both may serve different purposes, they cannot be giving drastically different messages that confuse your audience. An agency that keeps this in mind and integrates their social media strategy with the rest of your marketing strategy is the ideal agency for you.

Better still, if they are able to handle other parts of your marketing requirements for you — it means that there will be greater cohesion between all your different marketing activities

Question #5: How much do you know about our industry?

We know many agencies that carve a niche for themselves within specific industries. They often bring their tried and tested methods, tips and best practices to your project that can help you hit the road running.

On the other hand, if the agency that you are talking to does not have expertise in your field, that isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Ask them about transferrable best practices that they can bring to the table — they might surprise you with their fresh take and resourcefulness.

Question #6: Can you explain your content creation process?

A good agency will help you visualise the process of creating content. So when you ask them this question, they should not only be able to give you project management based timelines on what to expect based on your constraints and your campaign go live deadlines.

They should be able to show you what the end product would look like at different milestones — either in the form of screenshots or samples — so that you know what to expect.

Question #7: What social media tools do you work with?

Especially if you have a lean team or if you are looking to scale up your social media activities or analytics, you make need social media tools to take on some of the grunt work.

Have a conversation with them on this — ask them what tools they are familiar with, what they regularly use, what tools to their knowledge is popular in the market and why. Have a discussion with them on your objectives with regard to operations and analytics and ask them for recommendations.

This is a good opportunity to understand how comfortable they are with the various tools and it also gives you an understanding of their consultation mindset.

Question #8: Who from your side will be working on my brand?

Getting to know the team you’ll be working with is vital to a successful partnership. Make it a point to understand the skill sets of your new partner team, so that you can leverage them to build the brand in new and exciting directions.

For instance, if there is a stand-up comedy enthusiast in the team, it could be the opportunity to inject wit into your content.

Question #9: How often will we be posting?

Ask this question to understand how much content is ideal for your business and also whether your potential agency has the capacity to deliver this work. For instance, your agency might recommend that you post 16 times a month on social media and share stories every other day.

This conversation will indicate their strategic approach. Then discuss delivery recommendations and capacity. Depending on what is ideal for your brand and your budget, you might want to take them up on all deliverables or keep some of the content creation to yourself.

Question #10: What are your expectations in terms of fees?

You are running a business and so is your agency. Therefore, it is best to be clear and upfront about your budget and their expectations right from the start. Share the ballpark budget from your side if you can and ask about their rate card and bundles so that you can make an optimal decision based on the budget that you have.

Ten questions may not help you cover everything you may want to know about your potential agency before signing them on, but it’s a start. And most importantly, it will help you start the relationship on a frank and transparent note.

Conversely, if the answers to these questions set off alarm bells in your head, courteously disengage as soon as possible. This is also the best way to deal with any shifty or flaky answers, as any pretence will fall apart a few weeks into the project.

If you are looking to ask us some of these things, don’t be shy. Set up a call today to discuss them with us, along with your upcoming projects or any other question on your mind.

We Think North
We Think North

This piece was collaboratively written by multiple members of the We Think North team, bringing you perspectives from across the branding, marketing, content and tech verticals.