With so many platforms available, and literally billions of people out there to reach, the possibilities of social media from a marketing perspective are virtually endless.
However, for many organizations big and small, the huge range of campaigns and tactics available can be a hindrance just as much as a help.
It can be very easy for companies to drown in a sea of likes, shares and retweets and lose sight of the real purpose of their marketing.
Preventing that from happening is where a social media marketing agency comes in. If you’re struggling to reach your goals in social, and you don’t feel you have the expertise you need within your own organization to get there, then outsourcing your social activity to an agency can make a real difference.
This blog explains why social media marketing is about so much more than tweets and Facebook posts, and what you should look for when trying to find the right agency for you.
So what does a social media marketing agency do?
Well, the obvious answer is that they are contracted by an organization to oversee the social media marketing efforts. But the scope of the services they can provide stretch far wider than you might think, depending on the needs of their client (i.e. you), the aims of your campaigns and the demographics you’re trying to reach.
As an example, think about the messaging from businesses you see on your Facebook or LinkedIn feeds. You’re probably used to seeing posts accompanied by stock photos to illustrate them.
While these can be successful – and can be made more so with some engaging copy for the post – there’s so much more potential to be exploited. An agency could:
- replace the stock photo with a ‘social tile’, containing specific images and text that are on-brand and better support the message within the post
- reroute the link within the messaging to some bespoke resources created by the agency. This could, for example, be a whitepaper or case study that gives in-depth information about the product, or an infographic that provides the reader with some hard-hitting facts and figures
- - illustrate the post with a video or animation instead. Although this brings cost implications, there are worthwhile rewards: research from HubSpot has found that 55% of people play close attention when consuming video, more than for any other type of content.
As well as these extra creative touches on the customer-facing side of things, there’s also plenty of magic that an agency can work behind the scenes, too.
For a start, they can get a better grasp on the conversations users are having through social monitoring, and taken a step further, get a feel for the buzz within your marketplace through social listening (more on that below).
Additionally, agencies can use advanced analytics tools to gain detailed insights into who is engaging with which posts, when and where.
From the data generated, they can then refine messaging and strategies to make the most of what works, and to cut back on what isn’t.
What makes a good social media marketing strategy?
The general public is marketed to countless times a day through various media, and as a result of this saturation, they’ve become increasingly aware of, and resistant to, marketing.
So to give campaigns the best chance of resonating with audiences, today’s marketing strategies need meticulous planning and expertise, and as part of that, there are three key elements that help make for a strong strategy:
- Personalization: throwing out very general messages to a broad audience doesn’t really cut it any more; consumers have come to expect marketing messaging that appeals to them as an individual. The best agencies can connect on that level without making the target feel like their privacy has been invaded – a critical consideration in the era of GDPR.
- Accurate tracking and measurement: as mentioned above, understanding user activity is the key to shaping better messaging and tactics for the future. Where agencies make the difference here is ensuring tracking and measurement tools are focused on the right variables, generate the most informative data, and are put into reports that explain results in the most relevant context.
- Social listening: this practice takes a much wider view than social monitoring and looks at wider conversations over sustained periods of time. The information gained can allow agencies to gain a much more comprehensive view of the topics around a product that matter to audiences, and therefore create campaigns that are better-informed and better-targeted.
While these three elements are all very important, they aren’t the only ones by any means: there are plenty of other trends and tactics that can be successful in different applications and circumstances.
The nature of your business, and of your target audience, will play a big part in determining the best way forward for you.
I’m evaluating social media marketing companies. What should I look for?
There’s a multitude of social media marketing agencies out there, and when you’re trying to work out which one is right for you, it’s critical that you keep your own needs in primary focus.
By doing that, you should be better able to find a company that not only understands all the relevant platforms out there, but that will focus on the right platforms and tactics for your business goals and target demographics.
You don’t want a company that will just try everything and then see what works – you want one that knows what will work and will execute it accordingly.
It’s also important to ensure that a prospective agency appreciates the increasing importance of influencers in the success of social marketing strategies, and that they know how to engage influencers’ interest.
Don’t worry too much if an agency doesn’t already have the Who’s Who of influencers in your particular industry or marketplace: it’s demonstrating the ability to find out who they are and successfully engage with them that’s important.
Finally, an agency that is right on the pulse of social listening and is taking advantage of its potential can’t be overstated. Social listening is one of the key recent developments in the social marketing space, and companies that are fully exploiting it will be able to understand audiences and develop messaging much more effectively than those that aren’t.
Whatever added services or expertise you need to achieve your goals, Creation Agency is the social media marketing company that can help you get there. Click here to find out more on what we do and how we do it.