I speak to a lot of my clients about social media. Should they be on it, what platform, how often should they post, and the answer is always the same - let's take a look at your audience first.
However, I've recently seen an absolute deluge of 'social media managers' who, while I am sure are great at building random followings, posting very pretty pictures on Instagram and making great graphics, don't see the full picture - you don't necessarily need twenty thousand followers (unless of course you're in the market for some influencer freebies), but you would rather like one thousand buyers!
So what should you look out for in a social media manager to boost sales, visits or awareness?
A good social media manager will start with what you want to achieve
Social media management is all about planning and goals. Are you looking to increase your brand awareness, or perhaps you are looking to use social as a platform to interact with existing customers? A good social media manager will talk through what your goals are, who you want to reach out to, and what the purpose of the campaign is.
Setting out realistic and achievable goals at the outset is the only way you can really test your social agency. Yes things can change, goalposts may have to move, but unless you have made some agreement on what you are looking to achieve, you are not going to get a good return on your investment.
A Bad Social Media Manager Will Suggest Too Much too soon
Have you ever had those social media proposals that sound like this - we will post 10 times a day to Facebook, add 100 new positive reviews, and add at least 200 likes to your pages in a week? Well, as exciting as that sounds, it's not good practice. These type of offers use bad automation techniques, purchase of Facebook reviews and likes. Do you really think that Facebook users won't notice that most of your positive reviews are badly written and come from somewhere outside of your location? They will, and social media (and branding in general), is all about trust.
Also, posting too often on any platform (though particularly Facebook and LinkedIn is a sure-fire way to reduce your reach; Facebook won't show your posts in people's feeds, and people will start to hide you too. It's a bit like expecting to stand somewhere shouting randomly about your product and expect people to say 'Oh how interesting, tell me more''. A good social media planner will help to manage organic growth and push out content that is quality over quantity.
The amount of time that a post has an impact for varies by platform - take a look at this infographic.
While this doesn't mean that you should be posting on Twitter every 18 minutes, it does give you an insight into the different requirements of different platforms. Ask your social media manager what and most importantly where they intend to post! Which leads me to..
The best social media manager will ask about your full marketing plan
Your social media strategy must fit with your entire marketing plan. It's a huge red flag if your social media manger is not asking what else you are doing outside of your social plan. For example, are you attending an event - what are the hashtags? Are you running a TV or magazine advertising campaign? If so, you should be shaping your posting strategy to fit with this. Even on a more basic level, your social media agency should understand your buyer pattern behaviour such as seasonal trends in buying, or a particular product or service that is popular or less so.
Any social media manager worth their salt should be asking these questions the very first time you meet, and consistently thereafter.
A Bad social media manager Will only measure 'vanity metrics'
Ok let's talk 'vanity metrics'. I'm not going to lie - I too have jumped up and down when my Twitter account reached the first 500 followers. I also do get a bit excited when my impression count goes way up. However, the reality is that, those numbers, well to a degree, they don't mean diddly squat! But why you ask! Well, if those followers/page likers whatevers are not actually engaging with your content, then all it really means is that your social media agency know how to follow in large numbers and use a trending hashtag. Engagement is the key - not numbers.
So what are the metrics you should be on the lookout for.
These are the engagement metrics. You want your social media following to be actively engaging with your content.
If your social media manager is fobbing you off with 'followers and impressions' make sure to ask about the nitty gritty of engagement!
A Good social media manager will look beyond your page
There are so many ways to engage with your followers that go way beyond just making a business page, posting lots, and hoping for the best!
A good social media manager will suggest other options to really get involved with your community and potential clients.
Both Facebook and LinkedIn have a multitude of specialist groups that you can get involved in. For example, if you sell pet products, why not offer advice in a Facebook pet group. The aim here is not to hard sell, but to offer advice and support to people who are looking for your exact set of skills.
LinkedIn is one of the best forums for B2B - show off your skills! For example, if you run an accountancy consultancy, you have a plethora of groups you can get involved in. Offer your advice to business owners and individuals struggling to understand the complexities of filing tax returns (het hem - not me honest!)
Twitter has some great networking opportunities, particularly for local businesses. Get involved in #Bizhours to chat and offer your services.
There are so many additional ideas other than just posting that can really help you to engage your customers, and if your social media manager isn't offering this, you should ask yourself why not!
The Best Social media manager will feel like part of your team
This should hold true for anyone providing you an outsourced service. If your social media manager doesn't feel like an extended version of your team, they are not right for you!
When you are engaging the services of a social media agency, you must remember that they are going to be your 'voice' to the masses. If your social account manager doesn't seem to understand your product or service, or for that matter, you as a person, move on!
Also (and yes this does happen), if you don't gel personality-wise, bear in mind that you are going to have a fairly close working relationship with this person. If they are rude, dismissive or any of these things, or talk jargon at you in an attempt to dazzle you into following their ideas rather than yours, think carefully.
The rule of thumb is to decide whether you would employ them directly. If the answer is no, even if then carry on looking!
If you are looking for some help with your social media marketing, get in touch for a no obligation chat!