There are hundreds of articles out there that give you advice on how to choose a social media marketing agency. We’re going to take a different approach and look at the issue from three perspectives. These are the most likely scenarios you will face when searching for a social media marketing company [but if you have a unique situation, please let us know]. Let’s examine each of the three points and get some helpful recommendations that you can use today to make finding a social media marketing agency easier:

1) What if you know nothing about social media? This is getting to be less of the norm these days, as social media has passed through the fad stage and into the mainstream. There are still folks who have little familiarity with social media, and sometimes that is because they have been busy building their business and most of their online marketing attention and resources have gone into their website. The good news is that social media is a communications channel that can help you get more people to your website, and then in touch with you.

Some business people are a bit overwhelmed by social media; they aren’t sure what it is and aren’t sure if it is for them. What’s great is that social media is for everyone. Anyone can get a conversation going and join in with existing conversations. Social media can be used to meet new people and to provide customer service to your current clients. You can celebrate events important to your industry with like-minded folks and tell everyone about your products and services. Social media may seem to have an aura of mystique about it. If you think of it as a communications tool then it is much easier to understand. Your social media marketing agency’s job will be to create content (messages comprised of text, images, and video) for social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. This content is associated with your account. In this way your customers and fans will stay up to date on everything that is happening at your company. People like social media because it makes it easy for them to get to know you, support you, and contact you.

It’s okay if you don’t consider yourself a social media savvy person. That will be the job of your social media marketing agency. You can get up to speed with a few short tutorials and then you will be able to better understand what your agency does for you, and offer feedback to help make your campaign even better. Here’s a quick tutorial to get you started. For now you can read just this first part and take in others later:

When you look for your social media marketing company, don’t feel intimidated that you may not be as familiar with social media marketing as you would like. Tell the agencies that you interview that you are working on getting up to speed and that you would also like their help in doing so. Most agencies will provide you with fact sheets and information that can help close knowledge gaps.

Take your time. Interview several agencies and decide on one that makes you feel welcome without talking over your head. The best agencies will work with you and help you get the most from your campaign.

2) What if you are a bit informed but have a lot of questions? If this is the situation you are dealing with, you might be thinking that it’s way too hard to select a social media marketing agency because you’ve heard that social media is very involved – there are so many different channels and it’s a time-consuming process. This is one of the main reasons you will want to hire an agency. When you are interviewing social media marketing companies look for one that is willing to provide some introduction to the theory and practice behind the strategies they are going to deploy for you. Have them put into context what it is they will do for you, using social media as the channel to reach your audience.

For example, a prospective agency may wish to create a contest on Facebook for your campaign. Have them explain the premise behind the contest and the goal, i.e., get 1,000 newsletter signups, 2,500 newsletter downloads, 3,000 coupon requests, etc. In this case the main point to consider is that social media is a vehicle to help you get the conversions you want. The reason you will use social media to promote your contest is that your agency has determined that the people you want to reach like meeting up on Facebook and Twitter. They want to get to know you and what better way to introduce yourself and build trust than by involving them in a contest where they can have the opportunity to submit photos or stories as contest entries.

3) You’re familiar with social media. You may even be employing someone internally to manage your campaigns for you. Perhaps your campaigns have grown to the point that you need help managing them. Or maybe you have re-assigned your internal team and now need outside help with social media. In either case your company has an advanced need: you know the value of social media for your business and now it’s time to grow. You will want to pay particular attention to agency referrals from colleagues and your interviewing of agencies will include highly specific questions to ensure they have the capability to guide your campaigns successfully as you transition to working with them.

We hope this guide has been helpful. There are many ways to approach the search for a social media company, and the above scenarios are the most common. Are you looking for a new social media agency? Talk to us about your needs and let us show you why we are an award-winning social media firm.