Social media strategists, consultants, and virtual assistants! There are so many names for people who can help you with your social media, but what the heck do they do anyway? Besides, you know how to post on social media so do you really even need their help? Good question! The answer really depends on your goals, the amount of time you have to dedicate to your strategy, and what kind of help you need.
Social media is one of those industries that while people know it's important it can still be kind of tricky to navigate if you decide you could use a little help. Do you want help taking your accounts further than you're able to by developing a strategic plan? Do you need help identifying what you're doing right and what you could use some help with? Or do you just need some help posting regular updates to pull you above water? Answering these questions will help decide what type of professional will be a better fit. If posting consistently and helping you stay on top of your accounts is your top priority, a virtual assistant might be the perfect solution! Whereas if you're looking for further strategy and execution, working with a social media professional might be the better option for you.
The industry is crowded and a lot of times services aren't created equally from company to company. So my advice is to do your research and make sure you're really finding the right fit for you! I can't speak on behalf of all companies, but what I can do is give you an inside look at what we do here at Bold & Pop, which is a full-service social media agency. Hopefully, this will give you a little more insight into some of the services social agencies offer, what the heck they mean, and how they could help you.
Social Media Audits, Consulting & Strategy
First things, first. One of the big things that is different when you're working with a social media agency is the level of analysis and expertise you'll have access to. Mallory and I, both started in the social media industry over 8 years ago and during that time you could say we've learned quite a bit about social media. Because this has been one of the core focuses throughout our entire careers, we know that there's a lot more to successful strategies than just throwing up posts daily. We're really focused on the ins and outs of the bigger pictures and doing thorough analysis for our clients. We offer a variety of levels of services, but all start with a call and questionnaire with our clients to dig into to their goals. The first step to creating a strategy is identifying what the heck you'd like to accomplish!
As you might expect, increasing followers is a top request. While that's certainly important, and always a goal of ours too, we like to take things a step further to really dive into creating a long-term strategy. At our firm, all of our strategies are built on driving organic growth and increasing quality engagement. We're definitely not one of those firms that is going to promise 2k new followers in the first week or integrate any spammy techniques like buying followers or following and unfollowing. Vanity metrics might appeal to some, but at the end of the day, it's not going to get you leads or drive your business to the top. Unfortunately, we've worked with too many companies over the years that were sold on growth by so-called "experts" and they end up in a situation where their accounts have been filled with bot followers and are always dropping off, and no one is actually engaging in their content. This is why it's so important to really chat about the kinds of strategies anyone will be implementing if they will be managing your accounts. Here's a look at some of the ways we help our clients on the strategy and audit level:
- Social Media Audits: Social media audits are really popular for our clients who have a handle on their accounts but have either hit a standstill in growth or need a little expertise to get them to that next level. We also do audits at the beginning of each of our social media clients who sign-up for full management services where we handle their content and postings. Before you come up with any valuable strategy you need to look at the ins and outs of all of your metrics and find out some of the basics that will help guide your social media strategy. During our audits, we'll dive deep into your metrics and give you key overviews of what's working, what isn't, and where you will want to shift your strategy.
- Social Media Consulting: Now that you have some of the key analytics of what is working and what isn't in your current strategy, social media consulting is usually the next step. With our consulting services, we complete an audit and then create a step-by-step social media strategy for our clients. This is a great option for those who have a handle on their accounts but would like to go a step further than an audit and have that data put into actionable steps that they can follow.
- Social Media Strategy & Management: Next up is for our clients that are ready to hand over their accounts and let the pros take a swing at things. This is generally because they want to free up time, social media isn't something they enjoy or they feel like they've hit a wall on growing their accounts. This service follows a similar process than the last two, completing an audit and developing a strategy, but this time our team is the one that executes it. If there's one thing we've learned over the years, it's that one strategy does not fit all when it comes to social media. So we really like to get into the nitty-gritty of your accounts and find out what services you could use and create a strategy that is focused on making your life easier. Always the goal!
Content Creation & Posting
Once you've nailed down your goals and a strategy has been created, your agency will move over to content creation. Everyone does their content calendars a little bit differently -- some do quarterly, some do monthly, and others (like us) do weekly. Within your content calendars, your agency will create a schedule of posts for you to review including imagery and captions. Depending on your available assets, the team may pull images for your posts from what you have provided or they may stage photos or create custom graphics for you. Visual cohesion has become increasingly important for social media accounts and this is often something our clients specifically come to us for. They may be able to post content on their own, but a lot of people will find that creating professional looking images or graphics isn't exactly their forte. When we begin working with clients, we'll go over any branding guidelines they have for imagery and will batch images and graphics to maintain a consistent look throughout their campaign.
At our firm, our clients receive their content calendars each week for approval. We stick to shorter content calendars for a couple of reasons. One being, we like to keep updates timely. We're a small business ourselves and so are a lot of our clients. So we know firsthand that a lot of things can change in a week or things come up on the fly. By sticking to weekly content calendars vs monthly or quarterly, it's easy for us to keep up with the activities going on with our clients or move updates around a little bit if things come up. We also like to make the process as easy as possible for our clients. Long content calendars are overwhelming and can also lead to less communication between clients and agencies. We like to keep that dialogue open so that you're hearing from us regularly and feel connected to your accounts.
Community Management & Engagement
Now, this is the category that puts the sprinkles on top of your social media donut <-- See what I did there 🍩. If you caught my post, "4 Components of a Successful Social Media Strategy," you already know that this is a HUGE part of successful strategies. Creating content, posting regularly, having visual cohesion, and smart captions with CTA's is important... but it's only one part of the puzzle. If you want people to see the fabulous content you're creating, then community management and social networking are going to be a big part of your strategy. In fact, we spend the most time on this part of the social media strategies for our clients. So let me break it down:
- Social Networking: Engagement, engagement, engagement! Hashtags on Instagram are great.. but one of the best ways to increase the visibility of your account is to actively engage with others on the platform. This includes monitoring key hashtags and leaving genuine comments on other accounts. It sounds basic, and it is, but it is the one thing people don't spend enough time on. Why is that? Because it's time-consuming! Something we are focused on for our clients is doing consistent rounds of social engagement and follower strategy multiple times a day. This includes going through top hashtags, liking and leaving thoughtful comments on other accounts. And we aren't talking about blasting others with "nice pic" comments or throwing up a few emojis.. We're focused on reading the captions and being sincere with our comments. Because afterall, if you want to build genuine connections with others you need to get back to the basics on being human! People want to connect with other people.. and taking an extra few seconds to say something meaningful does make a difference.
- Community Management: Another really important part of managing accounts is staying on top of management of your communities. This means replying to comments and questions in a timely manner and showing your followers that you really care! Plus, often people will reach out to your social media first for customer service requests. This is something else that is really helpful to our clients because generally, they decide to do full management with us because they don't have time to check their accounts multiple times a day. As your communities grow, your community management tasks generally will as well. At the beginning of management, we'll connect with our clients on general questions that come through regularly. Then if we receive anything we don't know, we'll check in with our clients and then add that answer to our base for the future. This streamlines the process and allows us to react quickly for our clients to that their communities are well attended to.
On top of content creation, these two other components complete the trio of the main tasks for your social media accounts. The benefit of working with an agency is that they can identify the time distribution for each and adjust throughout your campaign based on your needs. We also have clients who specifically come to use just for 1 or 2 of these components. Some of our clients have their content strategy and posting schedule on lock-down but know they need help with the engagement portion, so we can develop a strategy focused specifically around that. Or, some of our accounts that have high engagement rates often hire us just to handle the community management aspect. It's all about identifying where you're at with your social media accounts and working with a seasoned social media professional can help you identify where you need the most attention.
Social Media Advertising
When you work with a full-service agency, social media advertising is also something that is usually a component of your campaign. For each of our clients, we include a dedicated portion of their retainers as an advertising budget. Then depending on the goals of the campaign, we will create Facebook ad campaigns to support each of those goals. Usually, campaigns will include "Page Like" campaigns or "Post Engagements" which are focused on increasing the visibility of your account to grow your community as well as the reach of your posts. We manage the entire process from creating campaigns and ads, to monitoring and optimizing each, and managing the budgets. Our clients also have the option to add additional budgets to their campaigns if they'd like to increase the potential of their campaigns.
Another element that you may have included in your social media strategy is influencer marketing -- especially if you're a product-based business. This portion of your strategy is focused on getting other users to post about your products on their social media accounts. Depending on your industry, our team will reach out to relevant influencers to see if they are interested in trying your products and sharing their experiences on their social media or blogs. Our team will manage the whole process including:
- influencer research
- creation of personalized pitches to each influencer
- follow-up and coordination of sample requests
- rate negotiation (if necessary)
Influencer marketing has continued to grow over the last several years because it's a way to tap into very niche audiences and increase the reach of your products. Social media influencers have a lot of buying power in terms of their audiences and getting your products in their hands can really help you reach key audiences.
Social Media Analytics
Last but not least, when you work with an agency, you'll receive some form of analytics reports (we create reports every other week). We've made it to an age where you could drown yourself in metrics. Literally, you can pull social media metrics for hours upon hours. And while 40-50 page reports each month may seem impressive to some, we're fellow biz owners and we know ain't nobody have time for that. Data for days is cool... but at the end of the day, a lot of that data means more to us than you. So we review your metrics regularly to make sure we make any necessary tweaks to the strategy and we'll give you the highlights -- the numbers and things you actually care about. As we mentioned earlier, one strategy does not fit all and the best social media strategies are created by those who consistently optimize and adjust your efforts based on the results you're receiving.
There are a lot of perks to working with an agency but the key really come down to:
- Freeing up your time so that you can focus on other aspects of your business you're passionate about
- Furthering your strategy and getting past hurdles you may have faced in growing your accounts
- Professional support to make sure you're hitting your goals and your strategy is up on the latest changes or trends on platforms
Now that you've been introduced to some of the day-to-day activities we offer, hopefully, you'll be able to make a more informed decision on if an agency could be a good fit for you! Have further questions about any of the services we discussed? Drop us a comment below or give us a shout to chat!