“Okay, that’s it. I don’t have time for this social media stuff. I need social media marketing services… Stat!”
I get the frustration. I do. But don’t waste your money on Joe Social Media Marketer. Hiring a social media marketer can either end up a strategic marketing investment… Or it can end up a big fat fail.
Why? Because now anyone with 1,000 followers or more seems to be able to call themselves a social media marketer. Yet it’s also because many business owners aren’t asking the right questions before hiring… Perhaps because they don’t know what those questions are.
Before we dive into the questions to ask, let’s clarify what social media marketing includes.
What’s social media marketing?
Courtesy of Whatis.com: Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of Internet marketing that uses social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.
Basically, social media is where “word of mouth” is on steroids. Social media has made it easier and faster than ever to share, discuss, and dissect things. And not by just a small group of people, but by the entire world. The goal of the social media marketer, any social media marketer, is to get the content of a brand shared and discussed as much as possible. This builds brand awareness, recognition, reputation, and supports sales.
Social media marketing is another type of marketing. Don’t forget that. Often the sexiness of social media clouds our judgement of the reality: it’s still marketing. Therefore when hiring social media marketing services, approach it as you would when hiring for other marketing services.
Before searching for the social media marketing services that fit you and your organization, there are 5 questions to be asked. Yes, before searching:
1. What are my marketing goals?
Not just your social media marketing goals, but your overall marketing goals. Any time you pursue marketing, online and offline, the goals will inform the decisions you make. Don’t just do social media marketing because everyone else is doing it. Figure out what you want to accomplish. Is it increase traffic to your website? Is it increase traffic and maintain a low bounce rate? Is it generate more leads? Is it increase brand awareness? Choose your measurable goal so whoever you hire sticks to that goal.
2. How am I measuring success?
One of the biggest failures we see is that companies didn’t decide beforehand what success looks like and how they’re measuring for it. With your goals in place you know what success looks like. So now how do you measure for it? Sometimes this is easier to determine than at other times. For example, it’s much easier to measure increased traffic to your website than it is to measure brand awareness. But those measurements are key to finding social media marketing services that fit. You wouldn’t start a business without a measurement for success… So why would you treat social media marketing differently?
3. How does social media marketing fit into my other marketing?
Another big misstep we see too often … social media marketing is fun. It’s exciting. It’s hip. But leaping in without considering how it fits into your current marketing strategy will lead you to waste good marketing dollars. Your social media marketing must fit into your current marketing efforts. For example, if your goal is to generate traffic to your website, consider the quality and usability of your website before starting up those social media accounts. Or if your goal is to build brand awareness, do you already have a consistent brand presence everywhere else? Do you need to get your brand aligned first, before expanding your marketing efforts?
4. What do I know about social media marketing and what don’t I know?
There are really only two reasons to hire someone else to do your social media marketing: You don’t have time or you don’t know how to do it effectively. Either way, when hiring, be very aware of what you know and what you don’t know. It might even help to write down what you clearly don’t know.
Clarifying what you don’t know will help you get the right answers to questions. You’ll know if it’s a good answer, a bad answer, or an avoidance answer. An example: How do I decide which mechanic to hire based on how they diagnose what’s wrong with my car when I know nothing about mechanics? If three different mechanics give me three different diagnoses I don’t understand, what will my decision be reduced to? Price. That can be a poor decision.
Don’t ask social media marketers about things you don’t know. Ask them about what you do know. Ask them about how they’ll help you reach your marketing goals, how they plan to meet your measurements for success, and what examples they have of results for previous clients. You’ll have a better idea of who’s a good fit rather than just the best price.
5. What is the personality of my business?
Personality for social media marketing is very important. Social media marketing is social. It’s not just about posts to different social networks. It’s about having conversations with others about topics that pertain to what you do. To have a conversation, a brand must take on a personality… Before engaging in any conversation, anyone using the company social media account needs to know the company personality and be able to channel it.
It doesn’t have to be an extreme personality. For example, I don’t expect you to be Old Spice, which definitely takes on a personality in social media that matches their commercials. You don’t have to be them. In fact, if you aren’t Old Spice, oozing awesome hilarity, then don’t try to be. If your brand is known for trustworthy insight, then stick with that. If you’re known for being the hip, new kid on the block then use words like FOMO and on fleek. Whatever your personality may be, it’s important when the brand communicates, it communicates consistently within character. So whoever you hire for social media marketing services has to understand and project that personality.
One last thing…
Watch out for social media marketers who try to sell you on a social media platform before they understand your business, your audience, and your goals. I’m not saying don’t hire a social media platform specialist (for example a Pinterest expert or Facebook expert)… I’m saying don’t hire them if you don’t already have a social media strategy in place that calls for a specialist.