So, you’re on the hunt for a social media agency.
Perhaps you’re dipping your toes into social media, or your last agency wasn’t a good fit. Regardless, you want strong returns on your investment and a headache-free relationship.
But who do you pick?
There are so many agencies out there. How do you know which one is right for you? Can they achieve what you need them to? Or are they blowing smoke?
There isn’t a one size fits all approach for this either. To get the best results, you have to track down your perfect match.
In this blog, we’ll show you exactly how to do that.
To get the most out of your partnership, you want to find the agency that is the best fit for achieving your specific goals.
To do that, there a few key areas to focus on:
When an agency ticks all these boxes, you’re onto a winner. Here’s how you can vet agencies to see if they’ll match your criteria.
1. What do their case studies show?
Case studies act as an agency’s portfolio. They show past successes and how they achieved them - and an agency is more than happy to show them off.
Aside from seeing the agency’s quality, you’ll see the metrics they prioritise. If they’re getting great results for the metrics you care about, you’re likely going to get on well.
At the Social Shepherd, we’re a results-driven social media agency, so most of our case studies focus on return on ad spend and an increase in revenue. If you’re purely interested in metrics like “reach” then you’d probably want to go elsewhere.
2. Who are they working with?
Their existing customer base can tell you a lot about what they can do for you. Let’s say you’re a bakery selling cakes and all of the agency’s clients are bodybuilding brands. They’re probably not going to be a good fit. However, If an agency has worked with clients in your industry, they will have a deeper knowledge of your customer’s pain points and desires - making them more likely to achieve your goals.
That isn’t to say agencies that don’t focus on your industry aren’t a good fit for you. Many agencies focus on getting results for a specific area of social media marketing rather than industry.
It all depends on your goals and what services you need to achieve them.
3. What do their social feeds look like?
They can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk? Appearances matter and a social media feed is a way for an agency to showcase its expertise in real-time. Are they engaging with well-designed content? Or is it a little lacklustre and looking more like an afterthought?
If their feeds are well maintained and relevant, it’s likely they’re going to put just as much effort, if not more, into yours. They’ll also have a stronger idea of the type of content to create and post for you.
We take great care in our own social feed and the content we share to engage our audience on Instagram.
4. Check out their blog
An agency's blog can give deep insight into their thoughts and processes.
Browse through their posts. Do they showcase thought leadership and specific know-how? Or is it a bit generic and not that interesting? Like a social media feed, the effort put towards a company blog will help paint the picture of what you can expect from an agency.
5. Are they industry recognised or award-winning?
Perhaps the ultimate social proof, awards show that an agency is recognised and celebrated by industry experts. Agencies receive awards for tremendous campaign results, innovative thinking and continued excellence.
Check whether the agency you’re interested in has won any awards, and more importantly, note who’s awarded them.
6. Do their values align with yours?
Working with an agency that shares the same values and striving for the same causes as you will result in a much smoother and more fruitful partnership. If your values are opposed, you’re likely in for a bumpy ride.
An agency will likely tell you their values on their site. But to get a better understanding, see if those values are present in their case studies, content, client base and the general tone of voice they use.
To determine which agency is the right one for you, you should know what to ask them in advance.
Knowing why you want to work with an agency and what services they offer beforehand will lead to a more productive call that remains focused on the results you want and how they’ll help you get them.
Not all social media platforms are equal. Some will work wonderfully for your brand, while others might not. Asking this question will show whether they’re listening to and responding to your needs.
If they break down the platforms they’re likely to use and give a rough glimpse into the strategy they offer, then you’ll know they want to help you, and their enthusiasm will shine through. However, if they give a blanket statement or offer everything at once, it’s likely they’re not focusing on your specific goals and will put you onto a cookie-cutter platform.
You need to know whether they’re in your price range, and it’s perfectly fine to ask how they came to their prices too. There are many factors at play here: the service offered, their experience, prestige, location, and more.
However, keep in mind if the price justifies the value. If a company is suspiciously cheap and promises the world for pennies, it’s best to avoid them. You’re likely not going to get the care needed to achieve your goals.
Know what you want and what you don’t want beforehand. Working with an agency is about getting the right people to achieve your business goals, not getting everything because it sounds good.
Asking this question will let you know whether they really know their stuff. Are they offering the services that will help achieve your specific goals or only what produces a better bottom line for them?
One of the main benefits of working with an agency is flexibility, and shorter contracts allow for this. If the relationship isn’t working, you have the freedom to find another agency that will be a better fit - it’s a situation that benefits both parties.
However, if you’re locked into a long contract and you do not see the results you’d hope for, there’s not much you can do. There’s also no incentive for the agency to produce good work, only enough to get by. On the other hand, shorter contracts demand outstanding performance from the agency, and they’ll work hard to provide the best service they can.
This again relates to business goals. If you’re looking for qualified leads for a specific high-ticket product and the agency boasts about how many likes or impressions they can get you, run. It’s not going to be a good match.
An agency that wants to help you will track and aim to improve the most suitable metrics for the campaign.
If they’ve worked with clients similar to you, they’re more likely to have a better understanding of your audience and the best practices to reach them.
The agency should have case studies and testimonials on its site. However, it’s still worth asking as they may have recent clients or case studies not yet on their website that they’d be willing to share.
We focus on getting you results. Whether that be bringing a higher return on ad spend, getting more eyes on your hashtag or boosting your revenue.
We do this by combining our paid media buying expertise with tested and proven creative know-how.
We have a selection of case studies on offer, where our clients' results speak for themselves. In each one, we detail who the client is and how we achieved and often surpassed their goals.
Such as Love Leggings, who wanted to scale their ad spend while maintaining their ROAS. To do this, we restructured their entire account and tweaked their creatives, optimising what worked and clearing out what didn’t. This led to an average ROAS of 8.2 on Facebook and Instagram.
Or helping Snack Surprise, who wanted to venture into paid media and get their ROAS to 2.5. They hadn’t run any conversion-led campaigns on Facebook before. So we built their funnel structure, edited their creatives and split-tested the copy. The campaign earned them over 10,000 new subscribers and a 3.24 ROAS, smashing their goal of 2.5.
Last but certainly not least is our award-winning campaign for BeeBombs. They wanted to raise their ROAS to 4 and bring more awareness to their #bringthebeesback cause. We shot it up by 87% to 5.2, netting them over 146,000 new customers in the process.
We don’t just talk about social media. We live it. We put ourselves on the frontlines, actively running our own paid Facebook campaigns and keeping our feeds active and on-brand.
Starting a contract with us is simple.
We offer an initial 3-month contract which then moves onto a 28-day rolling contract.
We want to be judged based on our work and the results we deliver. Offering these shorter contracts puts the responsibility on us to only provide our very best work.
The responsibility we put on ourselves has paid off too. Our campaign with BeeBombs stood out amongst industry giants to win the Best Paid Social Campaign of the year at the Biddable Media Awards in 2020.
Plus, we were highly commended for the Best Paid Social Campaign of the Year at the Performance Marketing Awards.
We use our blog to share the specific details and social media strategies we’ve used successfully.
Our insight has been featured in other publications too, such as Social Media Examiner and Econsultancy.
Interested in how we can grow your brand? Book your free strategy session with us today and we’ll show you the roadmap for more growth and profitability through social media.