Ok, that’s a bit of a hook. However, what you’re about to read is going to save you time and money. I’m so tired of hearing horror stories from clients who went with a firm to “do their social media” but got no results. After asking a few questions, and actually having experienced a positive ROI from social media efforts that support my marketing strategies, I figured out why these businesses were in such a pickle.
Islands in the Stream
News flash: you can’t “do social media” without first understanding Marketing! One without the other is well, just one without the other. Bring them together and your business can be a powerhouse online and off. Unfortunately, what happens is that businesses start looking for someone to handle their social media, thinking that the marketing is a separate issue entirely.
Stop it. If you’re not going to incorporate your social media efforts or your big social campaign into your marketing efforts – fully- then you’re creating islands of potentially good stuff that just don’t connect and might even work against the other.
Hiring the right firm…one that understands marketing, wants to see the big picture plan for the social media element, and works to integrate the two so that they HELP one another, is so important. Not only that, it’s fiscally responsible. When you don’t do it the right way, you are wasting time and more importantly, MONEY.
In this day and age, where every dollar counts and we’re finally starting to see a light at the end of the great recession tunnel, why in the world would you do anything to waste money? Do it right from the beginning. Here’s how:
- Before your next big campaign (fundraising, sales, PR), hire a firm before you get too deep into the minutiae of messaging and scope. The right firm can help you strategically navigate those waters AND make sure that social media is part of the process from the very beginning and not an after thought.
- When you do go about hiring a marketing or PR firm (or one that does both, like we do) to “handle social media,” check out their digital footprint. Where are they exactly? What sort of success have they had and on which platforms? Check out where they put their clients. Is it always in the same spots or do they mix them up depending on best fit? If you can’t find the answers to those questions relatively quickly, keep looking.
- Ask for examples of measurable success and miserable failures.Can the firm show you where they have had success in this arena? Can they also tell you where they failed and what they learned from it?
- When you decide on the firm, make sure that you both understand who ultimately owns the accounts. In other words, be a responsible business owner. Ask for and maintain a record of all account information, passwords, and platforms. Know how to access your analytics; make it a part of the contract. The firm can certainly ‘handle’ the day to day for you, but if you don’t even know where to find the platforms that you’re inhabiting, or how your marketing dollars are performing for you, then you most certainly will get what you pay for.
Sadly, I get many a client or referral who have come to us after experiencing social media silo syndrome, with absolutely no results, only to realize the firm they hired wasn’t a fit, or worse, had no clue about how to fully integrate marketing efforts. I believe it is possible to avoid that cycle entirely. I’ve seen it happen a time or two.
Let me know what I missed! What do you do to ensure that you’re not wasting marketing dollars?
Image via Flickr.