“Just to add another element to the discussion. When I was being pitched by agencies, one key element that set one apart from another was *their* ability to ask questions – and to listen. There were often whole pitch presentations given without having done the necessary homework to better understand our culture, resources and objectives. And while it is important/smart for you to be well informed and armed with questions, same goes for the individual/agency you will hire.” – Alison Cummings – Montréal Social Media Examiner link below.
Ask these questions to gauge if they really understand how social media works
“1. What is your process in doing social media strategy?
– In my opinion, the best answer is:
– Research on the target market. Know them. Be part of them. Immerse in the cultures of their online communities.
– Set an objective. Have a clear role of what social media is going to do to your whole marketing campaign. Remember social media is stronger if it’s integrated to a more holistic campaign.
– Set the metrics that will be tracked. They shouldn’t just be able to harvest the data, they should be able to translate them into meaningful insights.
– Create a plan. They should be able to layout a clear plan on where your social media efforts will head and how it affects your whole marketing strategy. Nevertheless, the plan should be flexible enough to sway to how the target market is responding.
– Identify the technology to be used (Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter?
etc..). The technology to be used should always be put last in the strategy. You’re plan shouldn’t be limited by the technologies that are most used by your users. Look into smaller Social Networking Sites or forum, etc. Smaller ones are more focused and may prove more receptive to your message and participation.
2. How do you see social media as part of the whole marketing strategy?
– Social media can be for Awareness, Engagement or Activation. They should be able to give it a role in the whole marketing strategy to keep focus on the objective.
3. How do you measure success in social media? What are the tools that you use?
– There are a lot of tools out there that are available. But as I mentioned above, what’s important is that they should be able to translate the data they get from those tools.
4. Do you have a website?
– Checkout their website. Check how they do social media in their own online property. They should be able to practice unto their own the services they offer to you.
5. Can you show me case studies.
– Check out the other stuff they did for their other clients. Look at how they think. Ask them to dissect a case study and tell you how they were able to come up with the idea / plan / strategy. If they show you metrics, ask them what they mean, and why those metrics did for their client.
Also, ask them if they were to do the plan in the case study, what would have they done differently. Give them a scenario based on the case study, that they might have encountered during the implementation, and see how they could have responded to the scenario you mentioned.
Those are just some questions that I would ask but those are the once top of my list. It helps in probing on their answers and check if they’re consistent.” Paulo del Puerto – Digital Projects Head