Questions to ask a social media company before you hire them

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Social Media Company

Hiring a stranger to take control of your company’s social media is often an exercise in trust, and that can be terrifying for small business owners, especially those unfamiliar social media marketing.

The following five questions should help overwhelmed business owners ascertain whether their social media company is legitimate and fit for the job.

1. In what ways have you been successful at marketing your own company on social media?

Click to Tweet: The average Twitter user has 208 followers. A good social media company should have at least that amount or more.

If a social media company cannot effectively market their own business, it is unlikely they’ll be able to market yours. While they don’t need to have 30,000 followers, they should have at least several hundred, and you should be able to see that they are posting regularly and engaging with others (via retweets and reposts).

Some things to look for:
  • The average Twitter user has 208  followers. Your social media company should have at least that amount or more.
  • You social media company should be posting several times per week (at least) on Facebook and Twitter and they should be using hashtags.
Some red flags:
  • Buying likes: Oftentimes an internet marketing company will buy followers. You can easily identify this on Twitter by looking at the company’s follower list. If a majority of their followers’ profiles lack profile pictures or descriptions, it is likely they are “dummy” accounts and not real people. Similarly, if the company in question has several thousand followers and none of their posts are being liked or shared, it could mean their followers are fake.
  • Postings that lack personality:  A good social media company will not share links or blog posts on their social media without adding a description or call to action. If the company appears to be posting on a regular basis, but each post is just a link and nothing else, this could mean they are auto-posting using a third party platform. This is lazy social media marketing. You want a business that will take the time to personalize your brand’s messaging and not just post blindly and at random.

2. Are you familiar with our industry?

You want your social media marketer to effectively be able to use your industry’s lingo and be able to identify subject matter that will interest your target audience. They will need to be able to do this with authority and confidence, which they can only do if they have experience marketing or working within your particular industry. Ask to see blog posts or articles they’ve written that discuss trends in your brand’s market. Ideally, your social media consultant should specialize in your industry, and be able to support that claim with documented evidence.

3. How do you measure the ROI of Your Social media campaigns?

ROI=Return on investment. In order to get your money’s worth, you want to know that the social media company you’re hiring will be able to drive leads and revenue. Ask for specific platforms they use to track and measure the success of their various campaigns and marketing strategies. It is not enough for a social media company to merely track likes and follower increases, they should have a system in place that will measure conversion rates, such as Google Analytics.

4. Are your payment terms set In Stone or ARe They Negotiable?

It is important to negotiate the payment terms ahead of time. Bot parties need to fully understand the arrangement and be in complete agreement on the specifics before any formal paperwork is signed.

Some related payment questions to ask are:

* Do you require clients to sign up for a minimum contract? (Oftentimes clients must agree to a 3 month minimum contract period).

* Do you get paid per hour or project or via retainer?

* When must invoices be paid and do you charge interest for late payments?

* Do you offer a discount if we refer your services to others?

5. What Will Be Your Strategy for promoting my business on social media?

While a company or consultant cannot be expected to give away ideas for free, you can ask for some general guidelines and a rough strategy outline. The company should be able to tell you, for example, which social media platform they would focus on and how much money would be needed for advertising.

Got any tips to add? Tweet at us @SkylarMedia1.

Reannon Muth is the founder and owner of Skylark Media Consultants. Prior to starting her own social media company in Las Vegas, Reannon worked as the Director of Content Development for a leading internet marketing company. She currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo courtesy of Esther Vargas via Flickr CC