Researching A Social Media Agency

April 16, 2012 8 Comments

I had coffee this morning with a local small business owner interested in learning more about how to use social media for business. The first thing I did was search on his name, and his business website ranked number three in my Google search. I was impressed that his website has a blog, which gives him the opportunity to practice inbound marketing, but his most recent blog post was April 2011.

He asked for my advice about a social media agency he was considering hiring to do some work for him. I Googled the agency and explained my concerns. The advice I gave him and always give others is in line with Michael Brito’s counsel from his book Smart Business, Social Business:

If an agency truly is a social media agency, examining the website closely should validate it. Are they blogging? Using Twitter? Does their content make any sense? Is their website optimized with social functionality with social bookmarks, Twitter, and Facebook? Simple observations such as these help narrow the focus and separate social media agencies from ones who just add social media as an add-on service. There is an important distinction between the two, because agencies that are socially proficient should be very active on Twitter, blogging, and also have some level of Facebook presence. (pp. 136-137).

These criteria are why I never hesitate to recommend The Abbi Agency to folks here in Reno. This agency practices every solution they sell, and Abbi Whitaker leads the way for her team by contributing blog posts and running her own twitter account and professionally personal Facebook page. She employs folks like Constance Aguilar and Nicole Rose Dion. – real digital citizens. Abbi gets it because she is personally immersed in it.

Google is a learning machine. It knows the people in your market who know what they are doing because those folks have taught Google that they understand social business. Ask your friends for advice, then always consult Google.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Alice Heiman says:

    I couldn’t agree more. If people don’t “practice what they preach” don’t hire them. Nobody’s perfect but they need to be making a good attempt to do the things they are going to ask you to do. Social media has got to be part of your overall sales and marketing strategy which falls out of your strategic plan. People are dabbling in social media and that’s okay but the results will be limited. You can get great results for your business with social media but you need a cohesive plan.

    I use The Abby Agency to do my PR and they are amazing. I highly recommend them. But even if you can’t afford an agency you can sit down with your staff and make a plan and assign people to do their part. Start small and pick one piece and do it well. Then add to that.

    Thanks, Bret for helping these small businesses understand social media.

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    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Alice! Love your advice about how any business can benefit even without an agency. Start small and get good advice from people that practice what they preach. Thanks!

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  2. John Torres says:

    Great advice Bret. There are a lot a pretenders out there. I don’t know why folks fail so often to do their homework. Have they forgotten Google is a FREE resource?! The vetting process for hiring any service provider is much easier having done your homework first.

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    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    LOT of pretenders, John. When Jessica starts her own agency, I will be recommending her also. She is as immersed in social media as anyone in Reno. Thanks!

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  3. Johnny says:

    This is very true, there are a lot of places that just tack on social media because of how trendy it is right now. In reality, they have very little, if any experience in the field. Doing research should be the first thing anyone does before hiring an agency.

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    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Johnny. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Bret

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  4. Johnny is right. Research is key and then getting some references and looking at the work they did. I like to see a companies work and raving fans. That tells me I am on the right track, but even then, different agencies may be better for one industry vs another. As a speaker I want someone who knows how to promote a speaker which is different that promoting healthcare. So research is key. Thanks for sharing that.

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    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Alice! I know the agency you work with, and I highly recommend them. As I do you! Thanks for sharing. Bret

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