Social media should be a major part of your marketing plan online and off, it can be used to drive traffic to the top of your funnel, promote content offers to help convert visitors into leads, nurture leads into customers and even delight customers into promoters for your business, but before you look at hiring a social media marketing agency, it’s important to manage expectation and understand what exactly the role of a social media marketing agency is and where it should fit into your marketing plan.

Here are 3 things to consider when hiring a social media marketing agency

1. Does social media align with your company goals?

You should not be doing social media just because your family and friends are telling you that you need to be on Facebook. You should go into it having a clear idea of where social media fits into your current goals. That said, the answer should be yes to this question, social should be fitting in to your goals, whether you are a B2B, B2C, B2E, B2G etc, simply put, social media has so many opportunities in creating brand awareness and driving traffic, but it’s important that your website is setup to guide that social traffic down your marketing funnel, if it’s not, then maybe instead of looking at a social media agency, you should be looking more at an inbound marketing agency like Frozen Lemon Media who can use social to drive traffic and increase brand awareness, but also setup your website with calls-to-action (CTA’s), landing pages, premium offers like eBooks and whitepapers and set up workflows and lead nurturing email drip campaigns   so the traffic generated from social media converts into leads and then nurtured down your marketing funnel into customers.

2. Is a social media marketing agency the right type of agency to help you reach your SMART Goals?

If you don’t have SMART Goals set up then do it now, here is a template you can download right now to help you plan out your smart goals. SMART Goals help you plan a realistic destination that you would like your company to reach with your marketing within a given timeframe.

3. Should you hire a social media marketing agency, an in-house social media community manager or an inbound marketing agency?

Social Media Marketing Agency

If your business is primarily B2C, your customers come in all shapes and sizes, your sales cycle is short, there is little to no risk in consumers purchasing your product, and maybe, if Kim Kardashian mentioned your product on her show your sales would skyrocket, then maybe a social media marketing agency is the way to go for your company to get your product off the ground, get you set up correctly, and ignite and grow the messaging of your brand.

In-House Community Manager

If social media is a major part of your marketing strategy (think RedBull, GoPro) then an in-house community manager is a great way to communicate with your customers directly, add value and provide support.

You may want to hire a social media marketing agency or inbound marketing agency to grow your presence first and then hand it off to an in-house community manager to monitor and manage your brand to an already established audience.

Growing your brand may take a few tactics and resources that an in-house person may not be equipped to handle, such as collaboration opportunities with online influencers, reviews, CPM and CPC campaigns, audience seeding, social listening, sentiment analysis tools, and so on, at some point it may even make sense to hire in-house for the management of the online community and company communications but keep the social media agency on retainer to generate continued growth, and in many cases when hiring in-house keeping an inbound marketing agency on retainer is necessary to continually drive leads as well as use social in conjunction with other inbound tactics to convert and nurture leads into customers and increase revenue for the company.

Inbound Marketing Agency

If you have a longer sales cycle, maybe B2B (business-to-business), you have a clear idea of what a lead is for your company and your customer lifetime value is over $500 then you should be looking more at hiring an inbound marketing agency like Frozen Lemon Media. This is not to say the inbound is not good for B2C or B2E and so on, it’s just that if you do fall within some of the criteria mentioned then it would make more sense to go with an inbound marketing agency. There’s a difference between social media prospecting and social media pop-culture (social media commercial publicity), they may be using the same platforms but very different techniques.

Where a social media agency and an inbound marketing agency differ in terms of social is typically their services and methodology.

Social media agencies are like online PR agencies for B2C brands, whereas inbound marketing agencies use social to position a company as a thought leader in their industry, find prospects and drive traffic back the company website. Because the work of a social media marketing agency is primarily consumer-based, the ROI (return on investment) is generally harder to measure because most sales from their efforts will lead to in-store sales, whereas an inbound marketing agency like Frozen Lemon Media, on the other hand, is able to provide closed-loop reporting from the first time a prospect interacts with your brand all the way to the prospect becoming a consumer.

Through a variety of tools such as HubSpot and SalesForce, we’re able to provide your sales team with valuable information that they would not have had otherwise. We will also always be looking at the bigger picture like how it fits in with your overall goals, will this strategy help drive traffic, generate leads, help your sales team close more leads, and how will this help you increase revenue for your company.

When you look at social try to remember that it’s not a popularity contest, it’s a strategy and uses correctly and in conjunction with other marketing assets, can be one of the most powerful tactics in your marketing plan. Whether you’re going with a social media marketing agency, an inbound marketing agency or hiring in-house it’s important to always keep these things in mind and ask yourself, how will this ultimately affect my business?

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