How To Choose a Social Media Marketing Agency: Ultimate Guide for 2023

How To Choose a Social Media Marketing Agency: Ultimate Guide for 2023
Article by DesignRush DesignRush
Last Updated: December 09, 2022

Social media marketing (SMM) can accelerate business growth by improving brand awareness, reputation, traffic, engagement and many other aspects of an online presence.

To experience social media marketing benefits, you’ll need to set realistic goals and expectations and get a tailored strategy that suits your business needs.

As a business owner, you may have insights about different marketing strategies; although helpful, that won't be enough. A solid SMM strategy requires various digital specialists' expertise, and that's what social media marketing agencies provide.

We know it’s hard to decide on how to choose a social media marketing agency when so many of them are available. How do you know which is the right one?

This article will explain how to select the best SMM agency for your business.

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Why Are Social Media Marketing Agency Services Important?

Let’s look at some interesting statistics about users' engagement with brands on social media:

  • More than 3.5 billion people actively use social media networks in 2022.
  • 42% of Internet users discover brands on social media.
  • 71% of users with a positive experience with a brand recommend it to others.

People use social media for various purposes; discovering brands is one of the primaries. Businesses have recognized social media’s potential and its advantages, so they increasingly use them as a part of their marketing efforts:

  • 90% of marketers confirm that SMM increased brand exposure.
  • 77.6% of small businesses use SMM, - prioritizing the Facebook platform.
  • 80% of marketers state their primary marketing strategy is to improve social media engagement.

However, having social media accounts where you occasionally post something is not a good strategy. Actually, that’s not a strategy at all.

If you don’t know…

  • What kind of content and when to publish
  • Which social media platform is right for your business
  • How social media advertising works
  • How to target the right audience
  • How to use social media tools and measure the results of your efforts

… then hiring an experienced SMM agency will bring you closer to your goals.

But before choosing social media marketing agency, the first step is to set your expectations.

Identify Your Goals Before Choosing a Social Media Marketing Agency

The outcome you want to achieve will determine your social media marketing strategy. Here are some of the most common goals businesses can reach via SMM:

1. Increasing Brand Awareness

Increasing your brand’s exposure and introducing it to as many people as possible is also known as building brand awareness. You want to get people to interact with your brand and spread the word about it; that is why you should increase the number of people you’re following and engaging with.

2. Improving Brand Reputation

Establishing a good brand reputation is one of the most important objectives for your business growth. Reputation tells about the users' attitude and sentiment toward your brand. It is directly related to a brand’s credibility since customers purchase and stay loyal to brands they trust.

3. Increasing Engagement

Many SMM objectives are interconnected. For example, getting more people to interact with your brand will raise engagement, which contributes to customer loyalty and brand sentiment. To improve your engagement rate, interact with your customers and encourage them to leave comments and share your posts.

4. Attracting More Traffic to Your Website

SMM goals aren't limited just to social media platforms — they can also increase the traffic on your website. Traffic increase is also a priority since it is vital for lead generation and further conversions.

5. Generating More Leads

Not all people attracted by your SMM will become paying customers; some will enter your sales funnel and remain interested parties for a while. They are the leads. If you perform lead-generating campaigns, you can gather all information that helps you follow up with social media users, such as names, email addresses, occupations, etc.

6. Boosting Conversions

Conversions are the holy grail of all marketing attempts. Users convert when they follow your instructions and perform the desired actions on your landing page. That action can be a purchase, subscription or webinar registration. You can use social media insights to gather information about users and offer them relevant products.

7. Creating a Community

A brand’s community, where users actively participate in discussions about your products or services, can boost engagement and loyalty. You can create a Facebook group or use Instagram/Twitter hashtags to encourage customers to join conversations.

8. Providing Efficient Customer Service

Your social media doesn't serve just to attract new customers but also to keep existing ones. People often contact a brand’s social media accounts for customer support. Considering the user experience’s importance, try to stay on top of those messages — for example, use chatbots to answer frequently asked questions.

9. Performing Social Listening to Meet Market Requirements

Social listening allows you to monitor brand mentions across social media platforms and reveals how users perceive your brand. These insights can help you understand what the audience wants from your brand so that you can improve your services.

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What To Look For in a Social Marketing Agency

The current number of marketing agencies in the U.S. is 87,712, which grows daily.

You might wonder how to choose a social media marketing agency from such a vast offer. It’s a challenging task, especially if you don’t know what to look for.

These nine pieces of advice will help you narrow the choices down.

1. Look For an Agency With an Expert Team

There are better solutions than a one-man band.

If the agency has only one know-it-all specialist, usually an account manager, you should reconsider choosing them.

Account managers have a brief knowledge of social media marketing 101, which is excellent when they collect client data or supervise project progress. Still, it is not enough to run the entire campaign.

A team of experts, including content and copywriters, SEO experts, graphic designers, developers, technical IT support, and specialists who monitor analytics and campaign results, should make up the SMM agency.

The account manager should be an intermediary between you and the mentioned specialists, who ensure that the project develops as planned.

2. Agency Should Understand Your Industry

Ideally, the agency you work with should possess in-depth knowledge about your industry to create relevant content and target the right prospects.

While searching for the right partner, don’t just look at the number of clients and niches they’ve worked with. Take a close look at clients within your industry and their campaigns’ success — this should speak of their flexibility and capability to tailor their approach within brand guidelines.

This doesn't mean you have to find an agency that works strictly within your niche. Willingness to learn is much more important than previous experience.

3. Agency Should Have Advanced SMM Tools

Each social media platform has built-in analytics that provides information about sponsored campaign results.

However, agencies should have professional SMM tools to create catching ads, schedule posts, monitor essential metrics, perform social listening, etc.

Social media analytics tools facilitate understanding users' reactions to a brand’s activities, providing an opportunity to outperform the competition and make customers return to the brand.

4. Agency Should Have a Proactive Approach

Mistakes are inevitable, but the agency should take all the steps to prevent them.

For example, they should be prepared for algorithm updates, industry changes, new trends and seasons vital for your business, etc.

The agency's approach to a problem determines its professionalism.

Damage control includes the following steps:

  • Informing a client about the issue.
  • Acknowledging mistakes.
  • Suggesting solutions to resolve the situation.

5. Review the Agency’s Strategy Proposal

Once the agency gets to know your industry, your brand’s positioning, goals and pain points, it should be able to suggest a strategy to make you progress.

  • How will they increase engagement? Generate more leads? Encourage conversions?
  • What improvement ratio do they expect? In which period?
  • What key performance indicator (KPI) will they measure?
  • If you find the right agency, you’ll have answers to all of these questions.
  • 6. Check Agency’s Social Media Channels

Before hiring an SMM agency, check its social media channels.

If they rarely publish new content, have few post likes, small user engagement and a modest follower number, reconsider your choice.

How the agency maintains their social media accounts is a good indication of how they’re going to take care of yours. So, look for one with active and well-maintained social profiles.

7. Ask for Previous Clients’ References

Experienced SMM agencies should be able to show you more than clients' social media pages and numbers of followers. Ask for references: clients’ testimonials, reviews and case studies.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions:

  • What results did they achieve?
  • How long did it take?
  • How did SMM reflect on the website?
  • What was the cost of their engagement?

You could contact previous clients to hear their feedback or check agency reviews in online directories, such as DesignRush.

8. Consider Agency’s Prices and Your Budget

The price is important when choosing a social media marketing agency, but it shouldn't be the only deciding factor. Remember, the most expensive doesn’t necessarily mean the best.

The SMM agency’s price will depend on their expertise, experience, location, clientele, required services and contract length.

Select the agency whose prices fit your budget, but primarily the one that shows genuine interest in your business goals, brand’s style and industry specifics.

9. Check Communication Policies and Compatibility

SMM trends are prone to changes; the agency should answer your concerns and consult you on their implementation. You shouldn’t be waiting for days on their response. Even if they are in a rush, the contact person should send you a “We’ll be with you ASAP” email.

Does the agency share your goals? Does it have similar business views? Compatibility is another factor you should pay attention to; take some time and conclude how close your approaches are.

3 Steps for Successful Collaboration with an SMM Agency

Every collaboration is a two-way street; the outcome depends on both parties involved., Follow these three steps to maximize the possibility for success:

1. Set Realistic Expectations

In previous sections, we talked about the importance of identifying business goals.

Even if you don’t have a specific goal, that is OK. After gaining insight into your social media presence, the marketing agency can suggest the first milestone.

However, if you precisely know your objectives, communicate them clearly and you’ll receive an estimation from the agency on whether they can achieve them.

2. Share All Relevant Information

Share as much information as possible about previous marketing campaigns and their results and existing ones (if any). Provide all relevant documentation that helps understand your brand — guidelines, plans, audit results and similar.

If there is a unique guide about the brand’s style, share it so the agency can understand the tone and the style your brand nurtures.

3. Communicate All the Way Through

Transparent communication is the key to every successful collaboration.

Discussing previous marketing attempts, the brand’s style and future objectives are necessary, but so is the communication all the way through.

If you find a way to communicate openly and efficiently, your social media strategy will be on point and on time. For example, inform the SMM agency on time about all the information you want to include in new posts so they can adjust promptly.

Best Social Media Marketing Agencies to Hire

1. OpticTour Agency & Studio

  • Location: 8863 Anderson Mill Rd Suite 117, Austin, Texas 78729, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: Inquire
  • Expertise: Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Software Development, Video Production...

At OpticTour, an experienced team of skilled creatives is ready and willing to help clients with any marketing endeavors they’re trying to undertake. They like to start by learning all they can about their clients' companies, and their audiences so they can cater those marketing tools specific to their growth.

The agency values transparency and honesty over everything and do everything in their power to provide clients with the best possible marketing plan at a price that won’t break the bank.

With their high levels of personal involvement and immense care for clients will not only help take the company to the next level but keep that growth going for years to come.

2. Fortis Media

  • Location: Upės g. 23, Vilnius, 08106, Lithuania
  • Average Hourly Rate: $70
  • Expertise: SEO, PPC, Email Marketing...

Fortis' full-service digital marketing agency delivers powerful brand solutions through compelling marketing campaigns within a competitive price range. Tailoring their services to clients' industry, communicating the brand vision and leading to engagement is their everyday focus.

They take a strategic approach to marketing and advertising any business. Their digital marketing experts have put together thousands of successful digital marketing campaigns, with raw talent, fresh ideas, and multi-faceted expertise. 

Their team has 17+ years of experience in highly regulated industries (iGaming, gambling, sports betting, etc.), unlocking the potential of brands by combining knowledge, passion, and results. Whether its SEO, paid ads or content marketing, they create campaigns that resonate with clients' audience.

3. TopOut Group

  • Location: 9308 S South Chicago Ave, Suite 17225, Chicago, Illinois 60617, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $185
  • Expertise: Social Media Marketing, Digital Strategy, Reputation Management, Website Development...

Founded in 2019, TopOut Group is a full-service digital agency that specializes in revenue-generating advertising and high-performing web development.

They focus on hands-on fully collaborative management and utilizing proprietary software solution to optimize any brand's ads. With expert account managers, clients'll always be in good hands and will never leave optimization opportunities on the table. They simplify reporting so the information clients need is easily accessible and transparent.

4. SmallGiants.Agency

  • Location: Second Home, 68 Hanbury St, Spitalfields, London, E1 5JL
  • Average Hourly Rate: Inquire
  • Expertise: Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Legal Digital Marketing, Digital Advertising...

The agency focused on accelerating the growth of early-stage companies through organic and bespoke digital strategies to suit clients' individual needs and profiles. 

They work with early-stage startups and established scale-up companies directly and as a strategic partner with investors in early-stage companies supporting their portfolio companies.

5. Matcha Design

  • Location: 8211 East Regal Place, Suite 100, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74433, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: Inquire
  • Expertise: Social Media Marketing, UI/UX Design, Digital Marketing, Web Design...

The award-winning agency that builds trust with their customers. The latest UX/UI design, functionality with purpose, and refreshing innovation will energize any brand's marketing performance.

They've helped clients stay ahead of the curve for over seventeen years and thrive within their industries with award-winning media.

They rejuvenate brand identity, highlight the best any company has to offer and build brands from the ground up.

6. Alphanumeric Ideas Private Limited

  • Location: 368, Ward No.2, Mundi Kharar, Kharar, Distt-Mohali, Punjab, India - 140301, Kharar, 140301, India
  • Average Hourly Rate: $49
  • Expertise: Social Media Marketing, eCommerce Marketing, Video Marketing, Instagram Marketing...

Alphanumeric Ideas is a first-class PPC agency. They design and execute campaigns for clients to turn their company around, expanding client reach and generating real revenue. They optimize advertising budget so that clients ou never miss an opportunity to gain new customers or increase conversion rates. 

They keep up with the latest advertising trends by experimenting with new and developing technologies. With an ad agency like Alphanumeric Ideas, clients will never fear that their ads won't pop or that they're not cutting edge--the campaigns will always be sophisticated and eye-catching.

7. ExcitedEYE CORP

  • Location: 124 Lincoln Street, Longmont, Colorado 80501, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $40
  • Expertise: Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing...

ExcitedEYE CORP is keeping all your graphics, images, and media assets low bandwidth and responsive for optimal desktop and mobile device friendliness. The websites this agency develops are all search engine & keyword optimized. 

With years of affiliate marketing experience and marketing talents, ExcitedEYE possesses the knowledge to create lead generation tactics to funnel their clients' social media and search engine keyword traffic to engage and convert.

8. Lars Owens Design 

  • Location: 5230 Betty Lou Blvd, Lincoln, Nebraska 68516, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $50
  • Expertise: Logo Design, Product Design, Web Design, SEO...

Lars Owens Design provides multiple product development services including industrial design, CAD, packaging and graphic design under the same roof that can save time during development and when marketing products at scale. The agency is there to lead its clients throughout the product's entire lifecycle.

Clients include Erchonia Corp, Murray Custom Homes, Laser Diode Concepts, Lee Enterprises...

9. Connection Model

  • Location: 5825 221st Place SE, Suite 208, Issaquah, Washington 98027, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: Inquire
  • Expertise: Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Digital Marketing...

Connection Model is a digital marketing agency that specializes in inbound marketing strategies to help its clients increase revenue, generate leads and acquire new customers.

Their social media marketing services include digital brand management, follower growth, socializing content, community engagement, building link equity and tracking and analysis. Connection Model provides custom dashboards that display real-time marketing performance data. It can draw from over 70 data sources, including eCommerce platforms, analytics, CRM and social media, to provide answers to clients' concerns related to digital marketing.

The agency also offers performance-based website development, content marketing, blogging, SEO, online video production, loyalty programs and lifecycle marketing.

10. Marketing Minds

  • Location: P.O. Box 85057, Harris Road Post Centre, Mt Wellington, Auckland, 1545, New Zealand
  • Average Hourly Rate: $280/hr
  • Expertise: Digital Strategy, Branding, Digital Marketing, Search Engine Marketing...

Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Marketing Minds is a full-service marketing agency that offers a range of services to help businesses transform into customer magnets through measurable marketing strategies and tactics.

Marketing Minds has a team of professionals with diverse industry knowledge and experience in developing and executing marketing campaigns across various channels. To create a robust and actionable digital strategy, plan and budget recommendation, the agency uses various software to analyze available data.

They are also an approved service provider in New Zealand’s Regional Business Partner Network, allowing eligible businesses to access grants and funding for capability development and training.

11. Think PR

  • Location: Silkegade 11, Copenhagen, 1113, Denmark
  • Average Hourly Rate: $150/hr
  • Expertise: Digital Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising, Creative...

Founded in 2006, Think PR is a public relations and communications agency based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The company prides itself on providing strategic, innovative and effective advice to its clients through close and trusting relationships. The team at Think PR consists of professionals with diverse backgrounds, including social media experts, planners, copywriters, content managers, communications advisors, trend spotters and advertising directors. The company draws on this diversity to share knowledge and generate new ideas and perspectives.

The agency's most notable clients include Logitech, The Danish Military, The Walt Disney Company, Opel and Intrepid Travel.

12. Sarabi Media

  • Location: Briargate, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80920, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $75/hr
  • Expertise: Social Media Marketing, Facebook Marketing, Instagram Marketing, Email Marketing...

Sarabi Media is a digital marketing agency that offers a range of services including social media marketing, graphic design, website creation and reputation management.

Most notably, they offer flexible social media packages tailored to the specific needs and goals of different businesses. They have packages that help new businesses get the right footing and establish a strong presence on social media. Likewise, they can help established businesses boost brand awareness and fully optimize their existing channels. Alternatively, brands can choose to focus on individual sites through the agency’s a la carte options.

Their clients include Mobo Cruiser, Tabula Rasa Essential, Uncorked Wine Shops and Peaks Recovery Center.

13. Tribu

  • Location: 801 E. Quincy St., San Antonio, Texas 78215, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: Inquire
  • Expertise: Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Graphic Design…

Founded in 2011, Tribu is a digital marketing agency boasting over 100 awards, including two Inc. 5000 company recognitions.

Despite being a boutique firm, Tribu acts as an Agency of Record for several notable national brands. Their team is composed of digital marketing experts, designers, web designers and content marketers who work together to help brands increase their exposure, engagement and customer loyalty.

The company's services include social media marketing, graphic design and branding, inbound marketing, eCommerce marketing, web design and development, email marketing, search marketing and print production.

14. Branding Bosses

  • Location: 3802 Spectrum Blvd, Suite 100, Tampa, Florida 33612, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $125
  • Expertise: Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Startups Branding, Small Business Branding...

Established in 2019, Branding Bosses is an experienced, talented team of passionate marketing and consulting specialists who live and breathe innovation. They develop marketing strategies from small and medium-sized enterprises across numerous industries.

They are committed to the success of our clients, with a strong belief that increased brand awareness and recognition is the key to building long-term value.

The agency brand bosses and businesses with a mix of digital marketing strategy, creative juices, and a blend of technology focus with research-based solutions.

15. Brandefy

  • Location: 2633 Lincoln Blvd #406, Santa Monica, California 90405, United States
  • Average Hourly Rate: $100/hr
  • Expertise: Video Production and Video Marketing.

Brandefy is a full-service video production company based in Los Angeles, California.
Founded in 2011, Brandefy has quickly become one of the most well-known and trusted agencies in the industry, with a focus on creating high-quality video campaigns that produce real results for their clients. Brandefy’s team of highly experienced professionals understand the power and importance of well-told stories, and they work closely with their clients to create compelling, effective video campaigns that are tailored to their specific needs and goals.

Whether you're looking to promote your brand or product through video marketing, or you need help developing a powerful video campaign for television or the web, Brandefy’s team is here to help. Allow the talented team to guide you every step of the way, from development to distribution, so you can focus on what matters: telling your story to the world.

Brandefy’s clients include UCLA, the City of Los Angeles, AAA, and Unilever.

How To Choose a Social Media Marketing Agency: Final Thoughts

Choosing a social media marketing agency that complements your business objectives can be overwhelming, especially since there is a vast number to choose from.

Follow our nine suggestions on what to look for in a social marketing agency to narrow down the choices. Ask a lot of questions and be prepared that you’ll have to interview more than one agency until you find the right one.

This approach will help you find the right partner for social media success.

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