By Sarah Stashuk / November 10, 2020
In a time where virtually everyone has a social media profile and every business has a social media presence, advertising your business on social media is a no-brainer. But social media advertising isn’t easy. If you want to build a successful campaign, there’s a lot you’ll have to understand about audience demographics, messaging, and the way people use social media. And then there’s the technical aspect of setting them up; even experienced social media advertisers have trouble from time to time as social media sites change up their advertising interfaces and rules frequently and without warning. These are all great reasons to hire a social media advertising company to manage your social media ad campaigns.
But how do you choose one social media ad agency that will help you achieve the results you’re looking for? If you’re fairly new to the world of social media advertising, we can help. Here are your top 10 things to consider when searching for the right social media advertising company.
1. Goals and Objectives
Before you can have a successful campaign, you need to know how you’re measuring success. Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Increase brand awareness? Attract more social media followers? Generate new leads for your sales team? Increase online sales? These are all known as key performance indicators (KPIs), and you will need to choose just one metric to focus on for each campaign. That’s because most social media advertising platforms use automation to optimize towards your performance goal, so figure out what is your top priority, and communicate that to the agency with specifics about what you want to achieve.
Tell the social media ad agencies that you are considering just how many impressions, clicks, sales, leads, or followers you would like to get for your ad spend, and see how they reply. Based on their response, you may get a sense of whether they are a good fit to help you reach your goals. But beware that many firms will tell you anything to make the sale. Plus, your initial point of contact might just be a sales person with no tactical knowledge of the platform.
2. Knowledge and Experience
How knowledgeable are the agencies you’re considering? Are they well-versed in all of the latest social media platforms? What experience do they have managing campaigns? How many years have they been in business and how many clients have they helped during that time? What do they know about your industry? How have they helped similar companies to achieve their goals and objectives using social media advertising? These are great questions to ask to find a social media advertising company that’s competent and the right fit for your business.
3. Creative and Messaging
Most ads will require writing text, images, graphics, and maybe even videos. If you’ll be relying on an agency to create these assets for you, make sure that they understand your industry, business, brand, style, and preferred messaging. You may want to provide them with your style guide (if you have one) and some pre-approved messaging to help them get started. That way, they can keep your ad creative and messaging consistent with what you use across other channels.
4. Results and Reputation
Don’t be afraid to ask a social media advertising company about their track record, and do a little research of your own. Ask for case studies, testimonials, client success stories, and links to online reviews. How do they perform against industry benchmarks? If they are a new company without much of a track record, ask them to provide at least a few references, so you can speak with some of their current or previous clients and get some peace of mind. Do some research on your own and check out their online reviews. Just type their business name followed by “reviews” into the Google search to see what shows up. If you find a bad review, you can ask for an explanation or simply move on to the next social media ad company on your list.
5. Tracking and Reporting
Find out how they plan to track the campaign results and validate success. If they are clueless about tracking setup and pixel installation, that might be a red flag. These days, you must have the right tracking in place before going live with your ads in order to reach your performance targets and objectives. That’s because social media advertising platforms that control ads that run on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter have to be set to optimize towards a certain KPI goal. That optimization typically relies on a pixel that is placed on the website and perhaps some tagging of links or buttons. Find out how they are going to track the results before signing on, because tracking is key to the performance of your social media ads.
If reporting is important to you, ask for a sample report before signing on. If they deny your request, just say it’s fine to provide a dummy report, as long as you can see what is included. They can even blur the details of an existing report, so you can see the basic layout and content. If they are completely inflexible, then that might be a bad sign.
6. Optimization and Refining
Optimization is key to reaching your KPIs through social media ads, so be sure to ask about their plan and schedule for optimizing your campaign. How often do they check and update your ad campaign: daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month? What are their regular tasks and methods for optimizing the campaigns, and how often do they refresh the targeting, messaging and imagery? How many people are assigned to manage their account, and what processes are in place to make sure you meet your performance goals? These are great questions to ask a social media ad agency, so you can find the right company for the job.
7. Communication and Service
Communication is key to any good relationship, but that is especially the case when you are working with a social media advertising company. Be sure that you know who your point of contact will be at the company and how you can get in touch with them. Find out how often you will get updates and how you’ll receive the updates --- email, phone calls, texting, or through a project management tool? Make sure you are comfortable with the answers to these questions before hiring a social media ad agency, because bad communication can ruin your results.
8. Budget and Fees
How much can you afford to spend on social media advertising per month? While social media advertising can certainly be a more affordable way to acquire customers than billboards or television commercials, you might find that you have to spend a decent amount of money to actually move the needle. Bigger results still require bigger dollars in most cases, and you also have to add agency fees on top of the advertising budget. If you’re working with a smaller budget (under $1,000/month), make sure the social media ad agency can accommodate it. See if they have experience working with budgets of that size and have gotten good results. Don’t be afraid to ask what their plan is to make the most of your budget.
9. Contracts and Terms
Social media advertising agencies vary dramatically in their payment terms, fee structures, and contractual agreements. Avoid companies that require you to sign a long-term contract or pay for more than one month in advance, because that can be a trap. If you do choose an agency that requires a contract, then be sure to review it with your legal counsel before signing on the dotted line. For best results, look for a social media ad company with no contracts, flexible terms, and monthly payments, so you can rest assured they are always working for you.
10. Timelines and Turnaround
Ask the social media ad agency how long they require to set up and launch a new campaign or make changes to an existing one. You will get a wide range of responses depending on how many people they employ, how many service lines they offer, and how they prioritize their projects. Most social media advertising companies can easily launch a new campaign within 3-5 days when provided all of the required assets upfront. However, some agencies may ask for 1-2 weeks’ advance notice. If you have a business that requires last-minute announcements and emergency campaigns with 24-hours’ notice, you might have a hard time finding the right social media ad agency. In that case, be sure to ask about turn-around time when choosing a social media ad agency, and make sure you are satisfied with the response.
Hiring the right social media advertising agency can save you a lot of time and money, because your expert team will handle everything from the initial strategy and campaign build to the final report. A good social media ad agency can help you set things up right the first time and get you the results you need without wasting too much money on trial and error. It can be tough figuring out how to find a social media advertising company if you’re new to the social media world. Just be clear about your objectives, don’t be afraid to speak your mind, know what you’re getting into, and be open to trying new things. After all, they are the social media experts!
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