Make them part of your team. Every company has sensitive information and a skeleton or two in the closet. You might have information about product launches you don’t want released or there may be a quality control or customer service issue you’re trying to iron out.
Make sure you tell your social media team all of it. This may be harder for marketing managers to do when they’re working with an external agency instead of someone in-house because it feels like they’re leaking info that should be kept internal. But to get the most out of your agency, they need to know as much about what’s going on in your organization as you do.
Keep them up to date on all marketing initiatives, even at the earliest stages of development. All the messages consumers get about your brand need to work together. Something you think is irrelevant information might help your social team come up with something amazing for your Facebook page or a great blog post. Full disclosure can go a long way in getting the most out of your social media team. Approach it like a visit to the doctor. We can’t fix what we don’t know about.
Trust them. They may be much younger than you. They may wear ripped jeans and sneakers. But they live on social media. They know what works and what doesn’t and they’re learning more about this ever-changing space all the time.
They’re also learning as much as possible about your industry, and, more importantly, who your industry’s movers and shakers are online. Your industry might have a very different culture in the online space and a fresh pair of eyes might be just what you need to balance out your years, or decades, of experience.
Let them help you understand how to gauge success. When you spend money on a service, you want to know it’s working. Similarly, your team at the agency you hire are building careers and often building a company as well. They want to be successful and they want your company to be successful. It all comes back to trust.
There are some conflicting ideas about how to evaluate the relative success of a social media campaign, but your team wants to know how well they’re doing just as much as you do. Let them take you through analytics reports and show you what the numbers mean.
Listen when they tell you about the difference between meaningful engagement and bought likes. It may take time to see results that translate into a noticeable bump in sales. It’s also important to understand that social media can’t make up for poor customer service or an inferior product. Your agency might even have some great ideas on how to improve things based on the conversations they see online.
Having an open mind will allow you to reap the full benefits your relationship with a social media agency.
Remember that you’re building experiences for your customers. Your customers are on Facebook because they want to be. Don’t scare them away. You run a business and the bottom line matters. A lot. But your customers don’t care about your bottom line. They want great experiences, so don’t let your sales message get in the way.
Your social media agency is focused on creating positive online experiences that reflect your brand values. Don’t panic when you don’t see your sales message front and centre in bold all caps. Your audience – the ones who will become customers – are getting the message.
Gabriella is the Creative Director at 88 Creative. Follow her on Twitter @gabriellainga.