If you’ve outsourced your social media marketing to another company, it’s a great idea to make sure the people who work for that company are SMM experts.
But how can you know that?
One of the best ways to determine if your SMM company is run by gurus and not imposters is to ask a series of pointed questions. You can determine the quality of the company based on the answers.
Here are several questions you should ask.
Do You Know Tools Like Hootsuite, Agora Pulse, and Buffer?
Nowadays, it’s not good enough for SMM experts to know about all the social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others. They should also know about social media productivity tools.
Hootsuite, Agora Pulse, and Buffer offer the ability to schedule posts on different social media sites. That means you can effectively be working on something else while still updating your status on social media.
Have You Used Crowdfire?
Crowdfire is another great solution that’s a favorite of social media marketers. It started off as a tool that enabled users to find out who unfollowed them on Twitter. Since then, it’s grown into a more comprehensive solution that allows users to easily find and follow people with similar interests, keep track of how social media updates affect their follow count, and check the relationship between any two Instagram/Twitter accounts.
Do You Use Photoshop or Canva?
A picture is worth a thousand words. It might also be worth a thousand dollars.
Your social media marketer should know how to use tools like Photoshop and Canva to produce relevant images that can be included in status updates.
Have You Run Facebook Ads?
Social media marketing isn’t just about organic reach. Your SMM contacts should also know about how to run paid ads.
One of the best ways to advertise on social media is with Facebook ads. Make sure that your SMM company has experience with that.
Have You Run a Promoted Pin?
Pinterest is another great social media channel that offers advertising. Ask your social media contact about his or her experience with advertising on Pinterest using promoted pins.
Have You Run a LinkedIn Ad?
If you’re in the B2B space, LinkedIn might be the most effective social media channel for reaching your target market. Make sure your SMM company knows how to advertise on “Facebook for grown-ups.”
Have You Ran an Instagram Ad?
Did you know that you can run photo ads, video ads, and even carousel ads on Instagram? Be certain that the people who work for your SMM company know how to run ads on Instagram.
Have You Created a Snapchat Geofilter?
Snapchat geofilters are graphical overlays available to users in specific geographic regions during specific times. They’re also a great way to boost your brand if you’re hosting an event.
Ask your SMM contacts if they’ve ever created a Snapchat geofilter. Keep in mind that geofilters are relatively new, so if the answer is “yes,” then you’re probably working with a great company.
Have You Ran YouTube Ads?
YouTube is not only the most popular video repository online, it’s also the second-most popular search engine online. That means you can significantly increase your reach with well-placed YouTube ads.
That’s also why you should ask your SMM people about their experience with running ads on YouTube.
Do You Know How to Optimize a YouTube Video for Search?
If you create your own YouTube video, you obviously want people in your target market to find it. Make sure your social media expert has experience with ranking a YouTube video.
Do You Know How to Use YouTube Annotations?
Have you ever watched a YouTube video and noticed a little bubble pop up on the screen with a message like “Click here to subscribe!” That’s called an annotation.
Your social media contact should know all about annotations and how to use them to promote your brand on YouTube.
Do You Know How to Translate YouTube Videos?
If you want to reach people in different countries, you’re literally going to have to speak their language. Ask your social media marketer about his or her experience with translating YouTube videos.
What Do They Use for Reporting?
If you’re paying for a service, you want to see results. That means your SMM company should provide you with reports.
There are countless ways to produce reports. Find out which software the company is using to produce reports and what kind of information you can expect to see.
How Many Blogs Have You Written?
People who are experts rarely hide their expertise. If your social media expert is really smart, then you can be sure that he or she has written numerous blogs about social media marketing.
What Is the Highest-Trafficked Blog That You Have Managed?
It’s one thing to act as the social media consultant for a micro-niche blog that only receives a few hundred hits a month. It’s a whole different universe to manage a site that receives thousands of hits every day. Find out how well your SMM company can manage heavily visited sites.
Have You Ever Done a Twitter Chat?
A Twitter chat is a great way to boost your brand on social media. Basically, people tweet using a hashtag that you’ve established for a certain period of time.
Ping the people at your SMM company about their expertise with Twitter chats.
Have You Ever Used Woobox?
Woobox offers a variety of marketing apps that you can use to promote your brand on social media. It’s great if you want to run contests, quizzes, polls, or sweepstakes.
See if your social media marketer has any experience with Woobox or a tool like it.
Do You Know How to Build Communities?
Alas, many social media marketers focus quite a bit on the marketing side of SMM and completely disregard the social side. Ask your contact if he or she has any experience with developing a community of brand loyalists on one or more social media channels.
Have You Ever Created Brand Guidelines for Social Media, Content, or Ads?
All too often we read reports of a major brand that’s forced to apologize after posting an insensitive tweet. That kind of mistake can be avoided with the proper use of brand guidelines.
Ask the people at your SMM company about the types of guidelines they’ve developed in the past. More importantly, ask how those guidelines are enforced.
What Is Your Experience With Niche Sites Like Quora, StumbleUpon, WhatsApp, BuzzFeed, and Imgur?
There are quite a few ways to reach people online beyond the typical social media channels. Plenty of other sites offer opportunities for interaction, engagement, and brand promotion.
How has your SMM company used other sites in its online marketing efforts?
Have You Ever Run a Creative Contest, Sweepstakes, or Online Event?
You can really boost brand-name recognition with a well-managed contest or sweepstakes. Ask the people at your SMM company about their experience with running either one.
How Do You Use Social Media to Drive Email Capture, Qualify Leads, or Increase Sales?
You’ve hired an SMM company to promote your brand online. That’s why you should ask your contacts at the company exactly how they use social media to grow your email list, qualify leads, and even boost your top-line sales.
Are You Google Analytics certified? How Do You Use It to Report on Social Media?
Google Analytics is one of the best friends to every digital marketer.
Ask your SMM contact if at least one person at the company is certified in Google Analytics and how the company uses GA to measure the success of its social media marketing efforts.
Have You Used Google+?
Although it might be tempting for you to disregard Google+ because none of your friends are on it, a good social media marketer knows its value.
After all, it’s owned by Google.
How Do You Use Each of the Social Media Sites Differently?
Not all social media sites are created equal. Ask the people at your SMM company about the different strategies they plan to use to promote your brand on each site.
Do You Know What Open Graph Tags Are?
Open Graph tags are used by Facebook to transform a simple link into rich content. They’re markup tags included within the HTML of a web page.
If your SMM contacts don’t understand Open Graph tags, they’re certainly not experts.
Do You Know What Rich Pins Are?
Rich pins are Pinterest pins that include extra information besides the usual image and description. Currently, there are six types of rich pins: app, movie, recipe, article, product, and place pins.
Do You Know What Twitter Cards Are?
Twitter cards add rich content, such as photos and videos, to tweets that contain a link to an online article. Webmasters implement rich Twitter cards by adding markup to their websites.
Which Social Share Buttons Do You Recommend and Where?
If you’ve installed a WordPress social sharing plugin, you’ve probably noticed that it gives you the opportunity to display “share” buttons for just about every social media channel in the known universe. You’ve probably asked yourself: “Which ones should I choose?”
Ask your SMM contacts that question. Also, ask them to justify their answer.
How Do You Integrate Facebook Widgets Into Websites?
You might have noticed on some websites a Facebook box that shows how many people “Like” the site. You can include that kind of box on your site as well, just make sure that you place it in a location where you’ll get the best possible response. Overall, is your social media expert aware of the latest Facebook trends.
How Do You List Social Media Profile Buttons on a Website?
Should you place your social media icons at the very top of your site? Or should you put them in a sidebar? Or should you make them “sticky” and always display them, even when the user scrolls?
Those are questions you should ask of your SMM company.
What About Post-Conversion Shares?
Once someone has bought your product or service, that customer should be able to click a simple button that posts an “I Just Bought” message to one or more social media sites. Ask the people at your SMM company about their experience with post-sale shares.
Have You Used Facebook Live?
Facebook Live is basically Facebook’s answer to Periscope. It gives you an opportunity to boost your brand by live-streaming an event to your fans.
Ask your SMM contacts about how they’ve used Facebook Live in the past.
Have You Used Periscope?
Periscope is a live-streaming app that’s married to Twitter. It gives new meaning to the phrase “live tweet.”
Ask your SMM people to explain how they’ve live-streamed events in the past with Periscope.
Have You Used Foursquare?
If you’re a local company looking to drive traffic through your front door as well as to your website, then you’ll want to make sure that your business is listed on Foursquare. You might also want to take advantage of Foursquare’s advertising opportunities that will give you a great chance to reach people in your target market when they’re in your immediate area.
Your SMM company should be able to help you with marketing on Foursquare.
Have You Used Moz Local or Knowem?
You should be absolutely certain that nobody else is using (or abusing) your brand online. For that, tools like Moz Local and Knowem are invaluable.
Ask your SMM contacts about their experience with brand management tools.
What Social Media Sites Do You Follow?
As we’ve seen, there are countless social media sites. Ask your SMM contacts which ones they follow and why.
What Influencers Do You Follow?
When you ask your SMM people about which influencers they follow, you’re really asking them two questions.
First, you’re asking them if they understand the concept of social media influencers. Those are the people whose updates receive a lot of shares online.
Second, you’re finding out who they consider to be important.
How Do You Target Influencers With Social Media?
One key component of social media marketing is to get an influencer to engage with your brand. The people at your SMM company should be able to explain to you how they do that.
Also, make sure that they explain how they do it for each of the different social media channels: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
How Do You Use Social Media to Build Relationships and Develop New Business?
This is a very basic question that every social media marketer should be able to answer. Make sure that the answer you receive is specific to your industry.
What Are the FTC Rules on Blogging and Social Media?
Yes, there is a regulatory environment surrounding blogging and social media. If your SMM company doesn’t understand that, find another one.
Have You Used BuzzSumo or Moz Content?
In social media marketing as with anything else, you generally want to stick with what works. That’s why it’s a great idea to find out what kind of content in your niche has gone viral in the past so that you can produce similar content.
Tools like BuzzSumo and Moz Content help you out with that. Your SMM company should have some experience with those types of solutions.
Do You Have Experience With MySpace?
Yes, MySpace still exists. Also, if your SMM company does have experience with MySpace, then there’s a good chance the company has been around for a while. That means it has a lot of social media marketing experience.
Was there a question I missed? Add it below.