Social Media Archives - Social Media 101
Social media is just a place for people to complain. [FALSE]

Social media is just a place for people to complain. [FALSE]

We will agree with this statement, yes, social media does in fact expose businesses to negative feedback and customer complaints.

 

The challenge is however that these seemingly bad conversations will happen whether the brand is on social media or not. Ideally you want to be there to address and manage the outrage, or at least be aware of it.

 

In most instances, consumers turn to social media as a last resort. We often-times find that these frustrated customers have already followed traditional protocol and sent an email to some dusty inbox only to be responded with a generic reply. They have called through to the customer care centre only to find themselves in an ongoing carousel of being put on hold. You might find, in some cases that the person had reached out via private message on social media, before… taking it public!

 

Customers are demanding more from brands.

 

They have gained a sort of public power. Anyone with a social media account is a journalist of sorts and with an easy swipe open of their lock screen can direct a complaint to any brand or company for the world to see. Of course, once one complaint has been aired, it gives licence to other complaints to come out into the open. And so one seemingly innocent online complaint could turn into a viral storm of trending hashtag(s). The true reality is that consumers, you and me, just want good service and value for money.

 

Customers want to be heard and ultimately valued.

 

People use social media to level the field between them and big corporate and all businesses should do is turn a kind ear to listen, address and then consider whether maybe they should implement change into their organisation.

 

Yes, its scary. No one, not even big business wants to be exposed to a social media scandal, however rather listen, be active and address concerns before they turn to complaints especially since taking on feedback could make for good business returns.

 

If you as a business owner still find social media too daunting to even consider, reach out to us. CLICK HERE

 

We have many years’ experience in this space while also taking into consideration consumer behaviour, social media trends and human psychology to assist and support our clients in managing their social media strategies and implementing crisis management processes.

 

Get in touch with Social Media 101. CLICK HERE to contact us.

 

Should Every Brand be on Every Social Media Platform? No, not really.

Should Every Brand be on Every Social Media Platform? No, not really.

Social media, an ever-expanding online universe of tweets and blue ticks, connections and conversations, followers and fallouts. We are all well submerged into social media and there is no denying that it is unlikely to go away any time soon.

 

The Short History of Social Media

In tech terms and lighting speed evolution, social media can express historical progress to what we know it as today. Mostly starting out in university dorm-rooms and presenting itself as a forum for groups to connect online, social media still very much has this same initial vision just with a lot larger groups and a lot more options. In its simplest form, social media provides a platform for all users to search for, connect and engage with niche communities – users being businesses too.

The challenge is with the volume of information, the sheer size of possible audiences and the never-ending need to stay connected. How does a brand decide which platforms to use to connect with their required niche audiences of clients, customers and prospects?

 

A Guide to the Galaxy of Social Media

It is fair to say that in all this enormity, we can drill down on the top 5 social media platforms since these are the most well-known and, more importantly, most widely used. Just to disclaim that last statement, this is not to say that these big 5 will be forever. As mentioned earlier, social media is ever-expanding and there is no guarantee that it could evolve (within our lifetime) to something different, but with the same vision.

While immersed in our online safari, we typically see the big 5 as being Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Let’s look at each of these in more detail in terms of their unique role in this ecosystem and typical behaviors:

 

Facebook

The granddaddy of all social media platforms. Not quite first to market but definitely leveraging off all longevity tactics and currently with the biggest user base of 2 Billion active users worldwide. With one in three humans having an active Facebook account, the same ratio is seen in South Africa with 17 Million active users. People turn to Facebook as a way of keeping abreast of close-knit communities within this global village. Most users frequent the platform to see uploads and updates from their closest friends, family members and acquaintances.

Facebook is by far the most superior of all platforms in terms of its data capturing and targeting abilities meaning for brands there is really little to no wastage when serving content to your specific niche audience. The platform also offers the most innovative and flexible content options supporting a whole host of different ways to get your message across. Because of this extensive data and massive captivated audience, Facebook should always be considered as the primary platform for any business.

 

Twitter

The estranged stepchild of social media has had a chance to be great and we suppose it is, in its own right. Twitter is widely used for news updates, current affairs and customer service. It can be overwhelming with the sheer volume of content and in some cases be quite a dark place to frequent however if for your business customer service is imperative then Twitter is a no brainer. Aggrieved customers are likely to turn to Twitter after frustratingly taking steps to have their concerns addressed and resolved. They do this because of the volume and quick fire response that the platform enables. With the average lifespan of a tweet being 15 minutes, these updates are also the internet tinder that could catch a crisis a send a bush fire expanding out to the rest of the big 5.

Twitter users pride themselves in the news to Twitter first landscape of the platform where most of the others only catch on to newsworthy topics a few hours or even days later. It is not all doom and gloom since the internet tinder can also spread good, like seeds sprayed from a low flying plane to replenish a scorched earth. Live event coverage, influencers and listening campaigns provide opportunities for brands to inform, engage and delight their customers through Twitter. It is a balancing act for businesses, however integrity and transparency are key in keeping out of the Twitter CSI spotlight.

 

Instagram

This platform can be likened to the darling of all platforms with its lustrous flow of never ending Rapunzel-like timelines, dotted with gorgeous sunsets, sublime cuisine and equally stunning influential personalities. Its captured the hearts and cameras of the younger generation and we are keen to see what this platform could evolve and grow up to become. For businesses, it’s a little trickier… Facebook bought out Instagram recently, meaning the same rich data which Facebook holds, is the same for Instagram users.

The challenge here is that the platform relies solely on visual impact where the promotional qualities of the platform really only enable brands to gain post likes and comments. The best news in all of this is that through Facebook, brands are able to promote content onto Instagram without having a set up or active page on the platform. We wouldn’t consider it the go-to social media platform in all industries unless lawyers and accountants can figure out extremely creative ways of presenting their legal cases and balance sheets in photo format. There are however creative ways of expressing a brand on Instagram that could still drive user engagement.

 

LinkedIn

The boss of social media, LinkedIn of late is really stepping up and coming to the party. Their platform was traditionally stuffed into a recruiter paradise where users knew the relevance of having a LinkedIn profile, but only checked into the platform when they happened upon a connection request. In the last six months or so and with the platform’s buy-out by Microsoft, LinkedIn has rapidly started to introduce additional functionality and is definitely the platform to watch. Now, users are likely to peruse LinkedIn for insightful business anecdotes and opinions by their connections. They see this platform as a place that levels the playing field of the hierarchal traditional business structure; now anyone can connect with any CEO of any multi-national and/or blue-chip business – this is power!

Personal brands are becoming more and more required on LinkedIn where now everyone is considering the professionalism of their online persona. For businesses, we are still waiting for equally innovative functionality and targeting abilities like Facebook, but for now if you operate in the B2B space, LinkedIn is a must! That is not to say that B2C businesses and brands should turn their nose up at LinkedIn because relevant messaging could still find its way to those consumers, especially since aren’t we all consumers anyway?

 

YouTube

The wise advisor and also Mr Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, YouTube takes on multiple personalities dependent on what trip the user is after. Effectively a relevant platform to consider with SEO as when users Google a question, they are expecting an answer; where relevant, YouTube could provide a quick and easy-to-follow how to user guide – if this is relevant to your business and/or industry. Being only video content, YouTube can be seen as the big brother to Instagram where users can delve into a long and drawn out rabbit hole in collecting information. It is fair to say, however, that the content does not need to be anything ground breaking or earth shattering on YouTube since there are viral anomalies that pop up all the time. Who knew Justin Bieber got famous out of a YouTube video?

For businesses, YouTube is a great library platform to host informative content and, if necessary, your TV commercials for stakeholder reference. It is important to state at this late stage that snap judgements are hard and cruel on social media and brands should always consider the quality of the content being produced and posted. Video of course comes with a higher price tag, but when done properly can prove fruitful returns for a brand.

Choosing the right platforms for a business can be equally easy and difficult, however it really comes down to knowing your customers. Effectively the same person is on all of these platforms, however they look to each platform to fulfil a different need. It’s the brand’s responsibility to realise that social media provides a platform to speak to the right person, with the right message at the right time. Content is king, context is queen and value reigns above all. In this space quality far outweighs quantity, so when considering your social media strategy, choose platforms where you are confident in delivering quality content consistently to customers as opposed to just posting, everywhere, for the sake of it.

As a social media consultancy, Social Media 101 are skilled in guiding our clients to choosing the right platforms. We are solution minded and driven by results meaning if you win, we win too. Should you wish to talk more on social media and delve deeper into these platforms and how they could work for your business, feel free to reach out. CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101. 

A-Z of Social Media: A Glossary of Key Terms

A-Z of Social Media: A Glossary of Key Terms

With the ever-increasing use of social media, comes an ever-growing list of social media related words and phrases. In fact, the sheer volume of these use-specific words is enough to warrant the compilation of an entire dictionary dedicated to this field! Such a publication may be a bit overwhelming to us mere mortals at this point, though. So instead, as a starting point, we’ve put together a glossary of key terms related to social and digital media. To keep you in the loop, here’s our: 

A-Z of Social Media

Analytics: Social media analytics refers to data generated from social media platforms and activities. This data (including both bottom-line stats like sales, as well as elements like customer sentiment and brand affinity) can then be collected and analysed to track performance and ROI. Read more… 

Bots: A bot is a social media “robot” that generates an automated response or behaviour. For example, sending a message like “How can we help you?” when someone visits your site.

Crisis Management: This refers to a plan of action in response to a social media scandal or crisis, such as a situation that attracts bad publicity. Crisis management usually entails internal processes, as well as the involvement of third-party specialists such as social media, public relations and legal experts.

DM: DM stands for “Direct Message”, most commonly used on Twitter and Instagram, for an instant message that is sent privately to another account and is not publicly visible. On Facebook, the term “private message” is used instead.

Employee Amplification: This relates to the process of harnessing the influential power of your employees on social media as “ambassadors” for your brand. Key employees are positioned as thought leaders and trusted advisors to boost both positive sentiment and reach for your business via their personal accounts. Read more…. 

Followers: Followers are people that opt in to view content from your account in their Newsfeed. They form a page’s audience and contribute towards valuable organic (free) reach. They are also generally more engaged than other users, which is great.

GIF: GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” and refers to short video clips, generally without sound. GIFs are often used to convey emotions and can be found on most social networking platforms including Facebook, Twitter and even Whatsapp. Here’s an example of a GIF (courtesy of giphy.com):

Me trying to meet my writing deadlines:

Handle: Your handle is your social media “ID” or username per platform and begins with “@” e.g. @Social101SA. You can have the same handle on different platforms, but no two users can have the same handle on the same platform. Its best to have a handle that describes you or your brand rather than some clever but unrelated word like @Hotstuff (unless you’re an Indian curry restaurant 😊).

Impression: Impressions are the total number of times that your post has been seen by social media users. This differs from reach, which refers to the total number of unique users that have seen a post. For example, if a 100 users have each seen your post twice, your reach would be 100 but your impressions would be 200.

Join: Joining a group on social media is another way of opting in for content. Most people join groups to engage with people with some sort of shared interest or viewpoint. Getting users to join a group is another great way for businesses to gain organic reach and grow core target groups on a platform.

Keyword: Keywords are commonly used in relation to Search Engine Optimisation, and refer to primary words that relate to a topic. On social media, keywords are often used with a hashtag (#) in front of such a word or phrase. It is used to group conversations about a certain topic e.g. #Christmas. Large scale use of the same keyword by many users at the same time leads to a trending keyword or “trending hashtag”.

Live Stories: Live stories, such as those on Instagram and Snapchat, are photos or videos posted by users that last only 24 hours. As it disappears after this time, it does not form part of profile content. It prompts immediate views of content by users that “don’t want to miss out”. It can be used for content that is only relevant at a certain point in time, or by people that have a lot to share but don’t want to “clutter” their feeds or profile.

Mentions: A mention is just that – it is a mention of you or your brand on social media. This is generally done using your handle (also referred to as “tagging”), and a message is sent to you notifying you that you have been mentioned. You can then respond to the mention if desired.

Notification: Social media notifications are messages sent directly to you by a platform, informing you of an occurrence or event (such as someone tagging you in a post). Other (highly useful) notifications include reminders of birthdays of people you are “friends” with on that platform, and upcoming events.

Organic Reach: This refers to content seen by users through free reach (i.e. not paid promotion). On Facebook, this is often restricted to views by your own audience and group members. On other platforms like Twitter, this reach can be a lot wider, especially with the use of hashtags.

Paid Reach: Paid reach relates to paid advertising on a platform. The reason for using paid promotion is so that you can reach your core audiences through targeted campaigns. It allows you to find and serve content to key segments within their newsfeed, as opposed to waiting for them to find you.

Quote Tweet: A quote tweet basically a retweet on Twitter, with the difference being that you can add your own comment before sharing. This allows you to share your views when sharing curated content. Below is an example of a quote tweet:

 

Reach: Reach is the total number of unique users that see a particular post. In other words, the number of individual people who have been exposed to your brand’s post. This is a figure that should be viewed objectively and considered in relation to your industry market size.

Share: Reposting content from another account is called sharing on social media. This includes clicking the “share” button on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, and the “retweet” on Twitter. By sharing, content from another page is added to your timeline on a platform, allowing your own audience to view the post without going to the source page itself.

Trending: When a topic gains extensive attention and engagement on social media, it is said to be trending. It refers to widescale popularity at a given time, which can be for both positive and negative reasons (although usually when it comes to the latter, its called a crisis or scandal). The use of a hashtag associated with a topic allows for it to trend as more and more people join the conversation.

UGC: UGC or User Generated Content is content created and posted directly by users (as opposed to crafted, promoted content by businesses). For example, a user posting a photo of a new pair of designer shoes purchased and raving about how awesome they are. UGC is closely tied to customer influence the user becomes a sort of ambassador that the mentioned brand can tap into.

Vanity Metrics: Vanity Metrics are figures such as the number of page likes and followers which can be easily inflated and misleading. Although these figures make a social media page look successful, it does not necessarily equate to business value or ROI. For informed decision-making is best to look at more tangible data sets such as Engagement Metrics. Read more….

Webinar: A webinar is basically a web-based or online seminar. It refers to a live or recorded presentation, and can include video, audio or combined content. Webinars are very popular when it comes to disseminating business, educational or informative content in particular.

eXperience: Ok so maybe we cheated a bit here. But “X” stands for “experience” when used in relation to CX (customer experience) and UX (user experience). Both refer to the move towards more client-centric approaches by businesses. It’s all about creating an amazing experience for the user throughout their journey with the brand, and is becoming the primary focus of social media strategies globally.

YouTube: YouTube is a video-based social networking platform. Users can watch content on virtually any topic, as well as upload their own videos. The monetizing functionality offered by YouTube also makes it an ideal advertising platform for certain brands, and even users themselves can make money if the videos they post generate enough views.

Zealot: Social media zealots are users who are highly engaged and often emotionally invested in a brand online. They interact with the brand itself, as well as other users that engage with the business. There is a potential for such consumers to be harnessed as ambassadors for the brand, but this should be approached with caution due to their “zealous” or passionate nature.

And there you have it – our A-Z of social media! We hope that you find this guide useful and informative (you can even show off your knowledge around the coffee machine). Feel free to get in touch with us should you require more insight into these or any other social media and digital concepts.

CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101 – we look forward to hearing from you.

LinkedIn in the South African environment

LinkedIn in the South African environment

Bobby Darnell, business development consultant said: “Active participation on LinkedIn is the best way to say, ‘Look at me!’ without saying ‘Look at me!” During the LinkedIn Indaba, held earlier this year, we learned just how much of an impact LinkedIn has on the on our South African setting.

From 6 000 sign ups in 2003 to an estimated 575 million active users today, LinkedIn has surely come a long way, although, in some circles, it is still considered the black sheep of social networks.

LinkedIn is a social network with a very specific audience: it has the aim of connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive, more successful and ultimately more in touch with content and people that can enable the growth they seek.

On a normal day, LinkedIn boasts 15 million jobs, 50 000 skills listed, and 109 billion updates viewed. This is no small impact, considering that LinkedIn is only one of several social media networks currently available.

The LinkedIn Indaba was held in Johannesburg in October, and apart from sharing some insights on the platform, our dot on the map was the main focus: how does LinkedIn fair in the South African environment?

As proudly South African as braaivleis, the Cape Wine Lands and the word “eish”, so are Sangomas, known as traditional healers in African cultures. Sangomas are also found on LinkedIn; 85 of them to be exact. Also, 644 Sommelier’s can be found on LinkedIn, in South Africa. A Sommelier is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional: and thus, amongst the magwenja’s, also truly South African.

In South Africa, LinkedIn boasts seven million users, 75 000 jobs and 30 000 companies. There is a world of possibilities, in a country where the unemployment rate has increased from a staggering 37.3% earlier in 2018 to a worse still 37.7%.

Most LinkedIn users in South Africa are based in Johannesburg, followed by Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and then Polokwane. This means that the major business centres in South Africa are all covered with LinkedIn users, which indicates that the platform is being used in all corners of the country.

In South Africa, the majority of LinkedIn users use the site for networking. It is indicated that 56% of South African users use LinkedIn to network with other professionals. While 60% use the platform to stay up to date on what their colleagues are doing.  61% of South African LinkedIn users use the platform to keep up to date on industry discussions, meaning that LinkedIn as a social media networking site for professionals, gives individuals the opportunity to not only connect with others but learn and update their skills and knowledge, staying on top of what the trends are in a specific industry. While 28% of users in South Africa use the platform to actively seek employment opportunities.

In South Africa access to social media is quite literally in the palm of our hands. Just over half of LinkedIn users (55%) access the platform from a desktop computer, with 15% accessing LinkedIn from a mobile phone. While the remaining 30% access the platform through a combination of devices. This points to the type of LinkedIn users in South Africa: most likely professionals, people for whom popping onto LinkedIn isn’t about a quick catching-the-latest-memes-on-the-move, they are active participants in their professional community with an engaging commitment to their job and profession, with the aim of bettering themselves and staying on top of movements happening in their industry.

The top job titles listed on LinkedIn in South Africa are as diverse as our country. These include teachers, sales representatives, IT consultants and software developers. Top skills listed on LinkedIn by South African users are Microsoft abilities, customer service, management, leadership, project management and strategic planning.

The leading industries in South Africa, according to LinkedIn are financial services ranking first, followed by information technology, mining and metals, retail, construction and higher education. This shows a clear indication of where most LinkedIn users are employed. Walking hand in hand with these industries, three of the five top employers in South Africa, based on South African LinkedIn users, are in the financial industry, with Sasol and Eskom Holdings completing the Top five.

 

Company sizes in South Africa differ quite extensively, according to LinkedIn with the majority of companies employing over 10 000 people, and the second largest range between 1001 and 5000 employees. The third largest company size comes from companies employing between 11 – 200 people. Although this shows big institutions as the majority employer, it also points to the small businesses that employ people, a welcomed sight and a sign of innovation and entrepreneurial skills in South Africa.

In the South African market, Operations and Business development are the largest job functions on the platform, followed by Sales, Information Technology, Engineering and Finance. This means that the largest amount of South African LinkedIn users identified their primary job functions as Operations, Business development and Sales.

LinkedIn offers a portal, an opportunity, a hope for businesses and individuals to connect, learn, enable themselves and ultimately find like-minded individuals to build futures with, more so in our sunny South Africa.

We have noted some welcomed updates to LinkedIn over the past 8 months, proving this professional platform to be innovative and striving forward in providing value to its users.

Social Media 101 can assist B2B businesses with winning strategies on LinkedIn as well as offer personal branding workshops to assist professionals with their LinkedIn profiles. Contact us to learn more. CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101. 

THE THEORY OF BUSINESS EVOLUTION: ADAPT OR DIE

THE THEORY OF BUSINESS EVOLUTION: ADAPT OR DIE

Despite varying opinions regarding the origins of our species, there are certain inalienable truths that dominate our existence. Certain human attributes contribute greatly to the way people make choices, as well as interact with each other and their environment. Our entire survival is based on these core rules. Businesses, since they operate within a (human) consumer-driven ecosystem are also governed by these “laws of nature”. One of the most fundamental of these “laws” is that for any entity to survive, it has to be well suited to its surroundings. And should this habitat or environment change, continued survival is dependent on the ability to adapt in line with these changes. In the wild, it’s adapt or die. In business, it’s no different. Read the article below to find out why. 

“When you don’t innovate, you die. When you don’t change, you die.”

– Gary Vaynerchuk

 

 

The Theory of Evolution – Human | Nature

Consider this: why is it that in the current age of mind-blowing technological advancement and unmatched levels of human intelligence, it is an undeniable fact that “sex sells”? I mean, we consider ourselves highly evolved, intellectual beings, right? So why do we remain under the power of such base instincts and primal forces? It’s because certain genetic traits still dominate human behaviour. Since the origin of the human species, there have been inherent characteristics that have been carried forward. These include innate survival instinct, a competitive nature, an impetus to grow and a constant drive to improve our surroundings and quality of life. When it comes to both ourselves and our environment, humans have always looked for ways to innovate (hey, we invented the wheel AND sliced bread). We have also consistently been attracted to those that make our lives better or more enjoyable in some way. Throughout time, chosen leaders were those that knew how to best thrive in a given environment and had the most to offer his (or her) followers.

Despite centuries of evolution, these basics have remained the same. Survival and success still come down to excelling in a certain setting. People are still loyal to those who offer them security, peace of mind and the best benefits. And not being able to adapt to a changing environment still means certain death.

“We all grow. We’re made to grow. You either evolve or you disappear.” 

– Tupac Shakur

 

 

Adapt or Die – A Guide To Business Survival 

Ok so this would all be very nice if we were studying human biology and psychology, but what does it have to do with business? Well, businesses are not exempt from these fundamentals of nature. For a business to succeed, it also has to adapt to changing environments and consumer demands. Failure to do so leads to poor performance and, ultimately, the death of a business. One key area where businesses fall short relates to digital transformation. Statistics, studies and even companies’ own research show that consumers are increasingly moving towards digital and social media channels. Yet many organisations have still not adapted their business model in line with this change. They still use predominantly traditional methods and are reluctant to invest in social and digital media. This is impeding their ability to thrive and compete in a tough consumer landscape. These are some of the reasons why:

  • Natural Selection: Consumers will naturally choose the brands that best meet their needs and desires. Customer experience is becoming the key factor impacting purchase decisions. Consumers want the convenience, interactivity, personalisation and responsiveness offered by social media. Not giving clients what they want is likely to eliminate you as a natural choice from a consumer point of view.

 

  • Evolution: Life and business are all about innovation and progress. Social and digital media not only offer the opportunity and tools to move your business forward, they also provide valuable benefits. These include more cost-effective options, better success rates and higher return on investments. And it’s not just about marketing and advertising. Using digital methods can help with the evolution of your business as a whole, assisting with both growth and longevity.

 

  • Survival of the fittest: When it comes to business, it’s a dog eat dog world. The market environment is highly competitive, and therefore only the best will survive. You may not be on social media, but your competitors sure are. This means that they have a huge advantage in terms of visibility, reach and customer satisfaction, amongst other things. If you want to be an alpha wolf within your industry, you not only have to be on social and digital media, but also make sure that your presence is superior to that of your competitors.

 

  • Extinction: Businesses that have not yet embraced this brave new world of digitisation and social media could face possible extinction. Besides the risk of being annihilated by your competitors, you will simply get left behind. You don’t need to suddenly mutate your business into some high-tech monster, you just have to make simple changes to your processes and tasks. For example, adopt a multi-point strategy that includes social and digital media, adapting your existing operations in line with market trends and so forth.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that  survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

– Charles Darwin

 

Not the end…

… but the start of a new era.

Business and nature share certain fundamental characteristics that relate to success, growth and survival. One of the most crucial survival mechanisms is the ability to adapt to changing environments. The current business environment is highly consumer-driven, competitive and increasingly digitised. For businesses to succeed they need to evolve their processes to be in line with the current landscape at any given time. Failure to do so is likely to result to the eventual death of a business. And that, unfortunately, is just the nature of the beast we call business.

 

Need an ally to help you take on the challenging business landscape? Contact Social Media 101 – we dive into the shark tank and surface triumphant. Why? Because when it comes to social and digital media, we are the leaders of the pack.

CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101

What to look for when choosing a social media agency

What to look for when choosing a social media agency

Hiring a social media agency remains unchartered territory for many businesses. What factors are important when it comes to finding the right partnership for your business? What separates a good agency from a great one? How do you know what to look for when choosing a social media agency? We have put together a collection of key aspects to consider when selecting your social media agency. Read on for insight and advice to help guide this critical business decision: 

 

References, recommendations & research

An excellent starting point is checking out an agency’s references. Who are their clients? What services did they provide these clients? Do they have case studies and testimonials? If so, take a look at these case studies and past services, including campaigns (where relevant). This will provide you with insight on whether the agency would be a good fit for your business based on your priority needs. It’s also a great idea to ask your own professional network for recommendations. People often only refer you to a business that they have had a good experience with themselves.

A bit of research on your part is also required. View the agency’s own social media platforms. Ok, so sometimes a business may neglect its own needs somewhat (I’m sure you’ve heard the term “the shoemakers kids go barefoot”). But you should be able to see the type of social media content they put out, the frequency of posts and if content is value-rich (not just salesy). You will also get a feel for the quality of the material they produce in terms of both visual appeal and engagement potential.

 

Means, motives & opportunities

Ensure that the selected agency has the means and resources to fulfill your business’s requirements. Do they have the internal resources, tools and systems to successfully manage your brand, along with their other clients? When enquiring about their capacity and capability, take into account future needs such as upscaling based on changing business demands. In addition to volume and expansion, well prepared agencies can cater to most, if not all, creative requests. For instance, supporting your entire digital presence and activities e.g. website optimisation, dynamic content, videography, animation etc.

Analyse their business model to find out what motivates their actions. While all agencies exist to make a profit, do they also take a client-first approach? For example, being agile; responsive and adaptable instead of having a rigid service structure.  Customer-centric agencies are flexible in matters such providing personalised solutions, being available outside of normal business hours and adjusting in accordance to varying client and market needs. An efficient agency will also continually look for opportunities to boost your brand. Not just when it comes to marketing, but also factors like business growth, increased market share and so forth. This type of above-and-beyond attitude creates a mutually beneficial relationship between your company and the agency.

 

Expertise, execution & ethics

Social media management is not simply about posting pretty pictures and nice words. It requires practical experience, industry knowledge and in-depth expertise. To be a potential candidate, an agency should have a team of experts, each a specialist in their field AND in social media. This includes graphic designers, copywriters and strategists skilled at creating content for social media. It also extends to the execution of social media activities and campaigns. The implementation of solutions should be done in a highly strategic way, taking into account social media best practices as well as your business and its clients. Skillful agencies understand the various elements such as timing, frequency, algorithms, audiences, design and specific nuances per platform.

The social media landscape can be a minefield if not managed correctly. Partnering with an agency with questionable ethics not only poses a financial risk, but a legal one as well. Not to mention the possibility of serious brand damage at the hands of an ill-equipped agency. This applies to the service they provide to you, as well as how they represent your brand on the public platforms. Consider their level of legal compliance, industry knowledge, business acumen and customer service quality. How to they respond to a negative comment or complaint? Do they have a crisis management plan? Are they knowledgeable about the various social media legal requirements?

 

ROI, results & reporting

Effective social media management should be result-driven and based on your business objectives. Before committing to an agency, find out what their internal KPIs are. Ask them how they measure the success of activities for their clients. Do they analyse and understand the metrics that matter? (Click to read more about social media metrics). In order for you to track the performance of your social media presence, you need an agency that is able to produce reports showing the relevant data sets. This will determine your return on investment, as well as promote informed business decision-making.

At Social Media 101, our aim is not just to meet expectations, but to exceed them. Consistently and continually. We would love to get to know each other better over a cup of coffee. CLICK HERE to set up a meeting with the Social Media 101 team.

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