A single Google search for a social media agency and you will have more than a million results, claiming they are social media experts. But not every single one is right for every Brand. Every Brand needs a strategy and an execution plan that is unique to their requirements and the industry. Without a doubt one should look for a professional agency that cares about the success of its clients and has a track record of that success.

Asking the questions below will definitely help you shortlist the agencies that will help you achieve your social media goals.

a. What distinguishes them from competition?
Brands should ask potential agencies what sets them apart from competition and specifically look for answers that include a solid track record, case studies, and a well-articulated and defined process. These answers show that a company is invested in creating a successful social media reputation and cares about the results of its clients.

b. What are the social media platforms my brand needs to be on?
This one question will encompass the skill level and the effort the social media agency puts behind in researching about the brand and the industry. Every social media platform has a different target audience and caters to showcasing various aspects of a Brand.
A reputable social media marketing agency will look into the target audience for a brand and then pick the social media platforms most likely to reach those audiences instead of simply advising the Brand to be active on every website.

c. What is the process they follow for content development?
A great and effective social media agency will put maximum time and effort on creating content that goes out on the various channels. This would entail having done strong homework in terms of research, putting a solid strategy in place keeping in mind the goals and creating a monthly calendar that charts out the execution plan. The social media team would further decide how to them spread out the calendar through organic or paid promotions.
Brands should definitely stay away from agencies that go merely by a gut feeling on when and how posts should go online.

d. How do the agency usually report to the brand/ clients?
The biggest advantage of hiring a third party social media agency should be that as a client you get consistent and continuous reporting, both positive and negative. Social media marketing usually takes time and has a cumulative effect on consumers. Hence while the brand needs to demand results, it is also imperative that they have patience.
An agency that doesn’t have a process in place for reporting means they are not well connected with their existing clients; this is something imperative and should be on the priority list while shortlisting an agency.

e. Do they outsource work?
A lot of the social media agencies outsource designing of posts through freelancers or even design agencies. While it can work sometimes, a collaborative team with designers and strategy working together on a brand, helps brainstorm more effective ways to market a brand; vis a vis an outsourced team that is given instructions to create design in a particular format.
An in-house team of designers also speaks loads about how much the company is willing to invest and is serious about being result oriented.

f. Is the team working on your brand accessible to you?
Social media is all about engaging with the people who are actually working on your project, posting things on various platforms. Hence it becomes imperative that the Brand gets to meet everyone on the team not just the sales associate.
The social media agency should also understand that engagement with the Brand is essential, as no one understands your company and brand better than you do. The basic information, goals (what we usually term as the ammunition) come from the client and that happens through regular meetings and interactions.

Wrapping up
Before you even thinking about searching for a social media or a digital marketing agency, the most important thing is to know what is it that you are looking to achieve with the help of these agencies. Do you want more reach? Do you want more engagement? Are you looking at sale conversions?
Unless you know what your ultimate objective is, even the best of agencies will not be able to help you make the best of every buck that you spend. In the end, it is all about what you want.