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There are a million reasons why social media marketing is crucial to your business.  American cell phone use is nearly constant, and out of the many possible uses of that tiny computer companion, social media is the most popular online activity, easily taking up 3 hours a day on average. For sheer raw business visibility there’s nothing like it. Social media also allows a business to create a narrative and personality behind their brand, creating the sense that clients are a part of that narrative, that they know the company in a personal way, which simultaneously builds brand loyalty.  Honestly, the many benefits of social media could fill an entire article all on its own.

But we want to focus on helping you find the right social media marketer for you. Knowing why social media marketing is powerful is only so useful, knowing what that means for your company is far more important.

Find a company that’s honest

Depending on your service or industry, your social media needs are not going to be the same as what you see recommended on the typical online blogs.  After all, mobile device usage can vary by age just as platform usage (Facebook vs. Instagram vs. Twitter… the list goes on) varies by demographic. You can absolutely maximize what you’re selling if social media marketing is a fit for your company, but it’s not always the best component of a digital marketing strategy for all businesses.

After working with a variety of companies from small start-ups to large established corporations, from tech firms to matchmakers, INLANDLIGHT knows firsthand which services and products actually benefit from social media, and which need a more comprehensive digital marketing strategy. An honest social media management company should take the time to understand your target audience and your needs, and then recommend a specific plan that fits your budget and isn’t over-selling you unnecessary social content.

Keep in mind this company is going to be responsible for presenting your brand to the world! Their business ethics and integrity matters. Which brings us to…

Find someone who takes the time to have a comprehensive understanding of your brand in the big picture

A great social media strategy is all about content! To stay visible online, you need someone creating consistent, clever content that is specific to your company. Too many companies focus on volume of words, frequency of posts, and “keywords”, but not the actual quality message you are sending. There is no strategy behind their content. When you consult with a social media marketing company, they should be asking plenty of questions about your brand, discovering what makes your company unique within your industry, and describing to you in detail their methodology for producing content. Do they have experienced, quality writers or do they outsource the content work? What content schedule do they expect to maintain?

Yes, frequent posts make you more searchable. But will your audience be impressed with what they find? A clear personality and unified brand message creates a memorable bond with your customers. And that is how you get lasting customer relationships that go beyond a few extra “clicks” to your website.

Look for experience

This means experience achieving social media marketing goals: 1) for clients of similar industries or business strategies as you, 2) for clients vastly different to you, and 3) for themselves!  If they wouldn’t use their own techniques to promote their own company, then it’s likely their techniques aren’t very good.  Len himself has over 16K Twitter followers, and that’s not including his Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+ handles. The proof is in the pudding!

Why over 20 years matter

While it’s fairly obvious why you’d want someone who has experience providing social media content and marketing for your industry, it can be just as important to work with someone who has worked in several other industries as well. They have creative insights and outside-the-box thinking that can be applied to help your company stand out from the rest of your industry. Many social media marketing companies specialize in just one industry and are only knowledgeable with that target demographic, they will make you look just like every other business in that industry. Often such companies come from a background in that industry, and have only recently transitioned to selling social media services. INLANDLIGHT has experience across countless industries because we’ve been servicing digital marketing needs for 25+ years.

Metrics, metrics, metrics!

If there is a single most important thing to consider when looking for a social media marketing company it’s how they track and report success! No matter how excellent the strategy, if the company does not have a clear concept of how they will measure success of their social media tactics, they cannot effectively apply the strategy. And if they don’t have a clear vision for your social media marketing strategy, they won’t know what to measure! Endless clicks are not a victory when lead generation was your goal. How useful is connecting with thousands of people who are not the ones who will actually drive sales?

Most specifically, how do you want your social media marketing company to communicate and interact with you regarding reporting results? Some INLANDLIGHT clients want frequent communication regarding all the numbers, some want a more hands-off approach so they can devote more time to focusing on their products and services. A good social media company should be able to accommodate your communication preferences either way.

Read their blog!

When considering a new social media marketing company, see what message their own blog is sending.  Is it well researched and well informed? Is it straightforward or flashy?, This is why it’s so crucial to be careful what you say online—it’s how people will judge your business.  Any social media marketing company worth its salt should be able to present a compelling online presence to earn your business. And eventually, they will help you to do the same.

Len Morales is the Founder of INLANDLIGHT, a boutique advertising, marketing, and creative agency dedicated to helping small businesses thrive. Email your comments to len@inlandlight.com

 

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