Many businesses today are using social media to reach their customers and prospects. If you are researching digital marketing agencies to handle your social accounts, it’s important to know the criteria they will use to create your campaigns. Not all agencies operate in the same manner, but the best ones follow best practices to keep your brand messages in front of the right people who are in the buying decision process. A good way to think of social media is as a contributor to your brand identity. At its most spectacular it can help drive amazing notoriety, and when there’s a brand #fail – that kind of notice is like a body blow. There’s a lot of grey area in between those two extremes, and much of what happens on social media lies in that spectrum. This is the noisy part of social where it is difficult to jockey for position against the tidal wave of video, audio, images, and messages that flood these channels hour after hour. Here’s how good digital marketing agencies lift your brand above the clutter:

1) The best agencies realize that there’s more than one way to get attention. Top digital marketing agencies know that diversifying your assets is always a smart decision. They will not recommend working on just one social channel. Their campaigns will place your content on at least two channels. These will be thoroughly researched to ensure they are channels that your audience frequents.

2) Agencies use social networks to learn more about how best to market your business. Twitter, Facebook and other networks are great places to go mining for information. It’s likely that your industry has specialized forums and groups that conduct discussions about products and services that you sell. For example, Houzz offers many forums and sections for home design pros and consumers looking for ideas and contractors that can help bring them to life. The site was created to be a social hub for the housing vertical and it could be mined infinitely for customer and competitive research, not to mention act as an important part of a home contractor or designer’s marketing strategy.

3) Digital marketing agencies know that it’s better to concentrate resources on a few effective social channels versus spreading too thin across too many networks. Most every marketer works within a budget. Even if a company is flush with cash to spend on marketing, it’s a better idea to not dilute the brand message. Cost is important, surely, and consistency and clarity of the message in a few arenas beats blasting a message where few people may see it.

4) It’s okay to follow the herd just to see what they’re up to. Digital marketing agencies make a habit out of using social media to see what your competitors are up to. Some marketers forget to link their social profiles on their websites so it may be necessary for a digital agency to do some digging to find competitors’ social accounts. Once they do find them it is like reviewing a jigsaw puzzle to see how the pieces fit together between social and their perceived overall marketing strategy. There will be some good nuggets that the agency will want to emulate for your campaign, and also some pointers to your competitors’ mindset on various topics.

5) Ultimately your agency has to create content and distribute it for you on social channels that your audience frequents. So even if you’re dying to be on Tumblr, for example, your agency may have discovered that your audience likes to spend time on Instagram and Twitter. Your agency will create a master editorial calendar with sections listing upcoming content for each social channel your brand has a presence on. In this way they will be able to track what works and what doesn’t, and then find themes that resonate with your audience.

These are but a few of the strategies that digital marketing agencies use to decide what social networks you should be on. Remember – even if you have infinite marketing resources – which few companies have – it’s better to direct your social marketing to the channels that will show the best return. These decisions should be based on data derived from research. The best digital marketing agencies will provide you with that advantage.