Social Media Management: Are You Getting What You Paid For?
In today’s Web-dependent world, the public perception of your company is largely shaped by your social media presence. For this reason, the decision to outsource your social media management activity is nothing to take lightly. Some of the worst corporate PR blunders in recent history have come at the hands of paid social media managers who either did not take the time to fully learn the specific public relations protocol for their client company, or were just plain careless with what they posted on their clients’ social media accounts. As Warren Buffet has famously stated, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” In order to maintain a sterling reputation in your field, it’s critical for you to carefully monitor the activity of any social media management agency that you hire.
Not only is careful consideration needed for the sake of protecting your company’s image, but also for protecting the company’s financial health as well. The average social media manager’s salary in the U.S. ranges anywhere from $25,000 to six figures per year, and if they’re not offering your company any equivalent value in return, you’re basically throwing your money away. So how can you be sure that you’re getting what you paid for when you hire a social media management firm? How can their activities and your best interests remain in alignment? Below are some tips to help you determine if you’re getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to outsourcing and paying for social media management.
1. Check their social media activity and participation level on behalf of your company thus far. Do they take their job seriously enough to regularly post engaging and relevant updates to your social media accounts? Are they consistently posting updates, or have they allowed the virtual dust to collect on your social media pages? Check your various accounts for the date of the last published tweet or status update. If they’ve gone more than three or four days without any posting activity, that should be a red flag.
2. Have they demonstrated a proficiency with the various nuances of each social media platform? For example, are they well-versed in Twitter’s different functions so that they know how to retweet, how to mark tweets as favorites, how to respond or communicate with other Twitter users within the system, how to post videos and links, etc.? On Facebook, do they know how to create a professional looking profile page with a properly-sized background photo and thumbnail picture? Can they properly pin, repin and organize photos in Pinterest? A skilled social media manager should not only be able to craft engaging messages, but they should also be technically proficient with the actual usage of each different social media platform.
3. Do they regularly interact with prospects and customers? A good social media manager will respond to comments and inquiries in a courteous and timely fashion. If you need to, create a dummy customer account and ask questions on one of your own social media platforms just to gauge the efficiency of your social media manager’s response. If you want to take it a step further, pose as a disgruntled customer and see how they handle the complaint. These small acts of quality control will go a long way toward ensuring that you chose the right social media management firm to handle your accounts.
4. Do they regularly consult with you to confirm the appropriate strategy and direction for your social media efforts? A good social media manager will have the “heart” of the company, and will not insist on serving his/her own interests above yours. Clear and consistent communication with clients is one of the hallmarks of a solid social media management agency.
5. Is your social media manager well-versed in your current product or service offerings? They should be well-acquainted with what you are selling, including any events or promotional campaigns that you may be running. This will ensure that they always publish tweets and updates that fall in line with your overall marketing strategy, and will help to prevent any missed opportunities. If you find that your social media manager’s posts seem to be irrelevant or unrelated to the current happenings of your business, that is a sure sign that they are out of touch with what you’re offering.
6. Is your total number of monthly leads increasing? There’s only one acceptable direction for this number to go, and that’s up. If you find that your total monthly lead count is steadily trending lower (or falling off a cliff), it may be time to reevaluate whether you should keep the current social media management company you’re working with. Savvy social media managers should be able to leverage their efforts to consistently acquire a steady stream of new leads for your business every month.
Again, the importance of thoroughly monitoring and assessing the current activities of your social media manager cannot be overstated. Not only will it help you to determine if you’re getting enough return on your money invested, but it will also ensure that the integrity of your brand stays intact.