Recently, Iâ€™ve had a spate of clients who have come to me after having not so pleasant experiences with other marketing companies or agencies. Â The vast majority of these people have paid a fortune for products or services that didnâ€™t benefit their company at all but they were part of a package that was sold to them by very prominent marketing companies. By the time these clients have gotten to me, theyâ€™re broke, their marketing needs a complete overhaul, and theyâ€™re gun shy. Â
How can you avoid letting this happen to you?
Make sure you get what you pay for. One of my current clients was paying almost $2000 a month to a marketing company for Facebook and Twitter posts once a day that ended up being automated based on their own company blog. Do you get the significance of that? Someone in my clientâ€™s company was spending a good portion of their own time writing thought provoking business related blog posts and this marketing company just tweeted the title of the blog entry with a link back to my clientâ€™s blog. Oh and did I mention that every single tweet had the marketing companyâ€™s name in it somewhere? Seriously. Thatâ€™s $2000 a month that my client was paying to have their own content tweeted by a company once a day while the marketing company was getting a shout out with each tweet. Social media marketing does not have to be an expensive venture.
- Check the numbers. Find out how many hours they plan to work on your social media marketing each month. Then ask how many posts/tweets that translates into and how much interaction theyâ€™ll provide with your fans/followers. Then do the math. You may find out youâ€™re paying someone $100 an hour to make one tweet or post for you every day. Â Is that worth the value to you?
- Ask for examples. You want to see current clients and what theyâ€™re doing for those clients. Then watch the Twitter/Facebook posts and see if theyâ€™re delivering.
- Find out who will provide the content. If youâ€™re still required to provide the information, facts, etc. then you shouldnâ€™t be paying a significant amount to someone else to package it into 140 characters or less.
- Watch closely. Â Once youâ€™ve hired someone to do your social media marketing, keep an eye on what theyâ€™re doing. Itâ€™s your company. Not theirs. Are they effectively sharing your message? Are they giving you everything they promised? And are your fans/followers responding to that message? If not, then you need to re-evaluate that relationship.
- Ask questions. Any company worth paying can answer the questions you have about social media marketing.
The last thing to remember is a big one. There are a lot of self proclaimed social media â€˜expertsâ€™ out there. Listen, there is no school giving degrees in social media. Thereâ€™s no one certifying social media specialists and thereâ€™s no list of social media experts you can trust thatâ€™s out there. Social media is something thatâ€™s recently cropped up with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and before that, Myspace. When people realized the value in these venues, they began utilizing them. As they should. This created the social media phenomenon. But it does not create social media experts. Â Spending time online does not make an expert. Just because someone spends a vast amount of time on Facebook or Twitter does not mean that they are a social media expert. They need to understand your message inside and out and be able to effectively communicate that relationship to your audience. At the same time, they need to build a relationship between your company and that audience in a professional manner. Make sure that whoever you hire to carry your company message knows more than just Twitter and Facebook. Effective social media requires effective marketing and communication. Period. There are no shortcuts when it comes to your companyâ€™s message.
Next time: Good Reputation or Name Dropping?
Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing. She is also the Marketing Director for Christian Work at Home Moms and JV Media Design. In her spare time, Lori is co-owner of Radiant Lit and a professional book reviewer for Fiction Addict. Lori and her husband live in San Antonio, Texas with their three kids and two dogs.