Hard Truths Your Social Media Agency Should Be Telling You

By: Mallorie Rosenbluth A few weeks ago, I posted a blog here called Lies Your Social Media Agency tells you (you can check it out: here). In that article, I covered a few topics social media agencies often tell their clients and prospects that the brand should be skeptical of. However, despite the tendency for agencies to promise specific fan numbers or an overnight ROI, they’re also probably telling you some truths; truths that may not be easy to hear. 

 1)      Your organization is not social-ready – or likeable: This might be the hardest thing to hear as a representative of a brand. You’ve just hired, or are looking to hire, a social media agency because you’re ready to take your social efforts to the next level and commit some extra external resources to the initiative. The agency comes in and evaluates your customer service and non-social marketing methods and returns to tell you your organization’s practices are in need of an overhaul to get ready for a big presence in social media. Whether your email marketing is overbearing, your customer service team is non-responsive or you’re spending millions on TV ads that will get fast forwarded; it’s your agency’s job to point out these shortcomings – and turn them into opportunities. 

2)      Your goals don’t make sense: There are many CEOs out there who get bitten by the social media bug. I love these CEOs. Usually. Sometimes, they’re more inspired by the novelty and the shallow promises of popularity that social media offers on the surface. These CEOs (and other key decision-makers in an organization) come to the agency kick-off meeting with goals that don’t make sense, both for the brand as well as for the medium. Whether it’s saying “we want a million fans by the end of the quarter” or “I want an ROI by the end of the year of 6:1” the goals laid out by the people in charge are not always realistic. It’s your agency’s job to figure out why these goals are important. In the case of the million fans, your agency should push back and see what the underlying motivation for all those fans is. Is it brand awareness? Is it gaining a competitive edge? These are all legitimate wants out of a social media initiative. Your agency should take that request and ensure metrics are in place and that the resources you need to achieve that million are in place – or they should reassign that number. 

3)      You’re playing it safe: No brand wants to hear that their ideas or initiatives are too tame and won’t make an impact. But if you wanted your social media presence to just be posting content and monitoring for mentions, you can probably hire an entry level community manager for about $40,000/ year. If you want to get noticed in the space, have big initiatives that get your community excited, take customer care to the next level and be a brand who embraces social; you have to let your agency push you out of your comfort zone. 

4)      This isn’t traditional media: It’s easy to just assume you can take your traditional means of communicating with your audience and apply them to social media. But this medium is different than any other traditional or digital forms of media that have come before. It’s not about push messaging or straight PR. It’s not about 7- or 8-digit budgets, bright lights or bells and whistles. It’s about connecting with consumers and helping facilitate the switch from business to consumer to consumer to consumer and consumer to business. If your social media agency simply takes your former marketing plans and dumps in onto Facebook and Twitter, it’s time to find a new agency.

Are you currently working at or with a social media agency? What hard truths have you wanted to say or have had to hear? Leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below