In addi­tion to no longer hav­ing a choice on whether they need a dig­i­tal strat­e­gy, most busi­ness own­ers are almost inca­pable of being experts in their field while being experts in social and dig­i­tal media. Social and adver­tis­ing plat­forms expe­ri­ence con­stant changes that have poten­tial to alter the suc­cess or fail­ure of a cam­paign if left unman­aged. That’s why it’s so impor­tant to hire or out­source a ded­i­cat­ed dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing team.

If you’re cur­rent­ly look­ing to out­source these tasks, there are some impor­tant tips to keep in mind. Giv­en the require­ment for pho­tog­ra­phers, graph­ic artists, data ana­lysts, com­mu­ni­ty man­agers and video pro­duc­tion to exe­cute an effec­tive dig­i­tal strat­e­gy, there are often many oppor­tu­ni­ties for mis­takes when exe­cut­ed using ven­dors who do not col­lab­o­rate togeth­er with the same vision. Addi­tion­al­ly, time­lines in the dig­i­tal space are short when it mat­ters and can be a chal­lenge to pri­or­i­tize. Often, by the time a com­pa­ny has decid­ed to exe­cute on a time-sen­si­tive idea, it’s too late with­out a ded­i­cat­ed team. Gen­er­al­ly, this con­verts to lost rev­enue.

We have seen sig­nif­i­cant changes in the Face­book and Insta­gram algo­rithms over the past two months, most notably with Mark Zuckerburg’s announce­ment in Jan­u­ary that con­tent pub­lished from busi­ness pages will not be organ­i­cal­ly pro­mot­ed on news­feeds. This change means it’s like­ly a great time to ask your mar­ket­ing depart­ment or the agency who runs your dig­i­tal media some ques­tions about how your brand is being mar­ket­ed online.

Here are some ques­tions to ask who­ev­er is man­ag­ing your brand’s social media pres­ence:

1. Content

What is your mar­ket­ing depart­ment or agency doing to make sure that your con­tent dri­ves engage­ment? Is their con­tent cus­tom and curat­ed? Are they pro­duc­ing high-qual­i­ty and com­pelling pho­tog­ra­phy, videos, ani­ma­tions, live feeds and copy? Does the con­tent fol­low a con­sis­tent plan or edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar and, most impor­tant­ly, does it rep­re­sent the voice, vision and mes­sage around your busi­ness?

2. Outreach Methods

Whether proac­tive or reac­tive, the method in which your busi­ness reach­es its audi­ence will affect impres­sions, clicks and con­ver­sions. How will your brand use social media to be proac­tive in con­nect­ing with your ide­al cus­tomer online? Have there been work­shops and strate­gic doc­u­ments pro­duced that review response strat­e­gy, con­ver­sa­tion out­reach and KPIs asso­ci­at­ed with this deliv­er­able?

We have found that answer­ing ques­tions and com­ments on Face­book adver­tise­ments, respond­ing to reviews and reach­ing out to the ide­al audi­ence online pro­duces a much high­er con­ver­sion rate. This also increas­es the val­ue of your brand online in the form of cus­tomer ser­vice, loy­al­ty and con­fi­dence. Sim­ply put, treat­ing the cur­rent or poten­tial client with a sense of urgency mat­ters. Are you aware, as a client or com­pa­ny, of the pros and cons of a bro­ken out­reach strat­e­gy? The last thing your com­pa­ny or brand wants is to have your out­reach back­fire with neg­a­tive results, the way we have seen with auto­mat­ed respons­es, a lack of empa­thy or an incon­sis­tent voice, mes­sage or tone.

3. Advertising

Adver­tis­ing should nev­er be “set and for­get.” Are all the track­ing mech­a­nisms attached to your ads and web­sites? Has your dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing team reviewed the audi­ence pro­file with you and how they plan on reach­ing this demo­graph­ic (behav­iors, inter­ests, per­sonas)? Has the objec­tive of the ad cam­paign been estab­lished? Does your social media man­ag­er have a rela­tion­ship with their own Face­book, Pin­ter­est or LinkedIn rep­re­sen­ta­tive?

Social plat­forms can be very com­pli­cat­ed to nav­i­gate, even for expe­ri­enced com­pa­nies, and hav­ing a close rela­tion­ship with an account man­ag­er can mean added tar­get­ing capa­bil­i­ties, infor­ma­tion on updates and feed­back on what could net a bet­ter result. There have been times where our agency has been giv­en pri­or­i­ty in test­ing new place­ments because, for exam­ple, of our rela­tion­ship with Face­book or get­ting assis­tance with hav­ing an account ver­i­fied.

4. Ongoing Education, Certifications And Connections

How does your mar­ket­ing team or agency stay on top of the con­stant­ly evolv­ing trends? In our office, we have reg­u­lar train­ings taught by top con­sul­tants in the indus­try in the depart­ments we spe­cial­ize. Our most recent team retreat was run by Daniel Taw­iah, the VP of glob­al brand dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing inno­va­tion at Nike, who dis­cussed how brands can cre­ate a buzz through dis­rup­tive con­tent and how to inspire each oth­er to be more cre­ative. We attend train­ings around the soft­ware we use and go to annu­al con­fer­ences in our field.

How does the team or agency you work with alter the strat­e­gy based on the con­stant evo­lu­tion of plat­forms, adver­tis­ing and social? While every busi­ness or brand’s objec­tives are unique, we have built our three-point sys­tem around con­tent, adver­tis­ing and out­reach. If we see one leg of our strat­e­gy help­ing to reach a clien­t’s objec­tive faster or more effec­tive­ly, we will opti­mize so that we can deliv­er an even high­er return on invest­ment.

5. Data

The pur­pose of most social and dig­i­tal media strate­gies is to pro­duce mea­sur­able results. What soft­ware is being used to mea­sure the results and how are those results being com­mu­ni­cat­ed to you, as the client? Are you being giv­en reports and data from your web­site and social media efforts? Are you aware of what this data means?

You should always be con­fi­dent and able to share with your exec­u­tive team the tan­gi­ble ROI from a dig­i­tal cam­paign. For some, this might be ad con­ver­sions, while for oth­ers it could be click-throughs to the web­site, impres­sions, num­ber of cus­tomer ser­vice inquiries or snap­shots of par­tic­u­lar­ly engag­ing con­tent.

You could be out­stand­ing at what you do and have the best prod­uct, ser­vice or team, but if nobody knows or remem­bers you, then your oppor­tu­ni­ty to win is lim­it­ed. As we advise in our work­shops, take a good look at your com­pe­ti­tion. How is your brand being dis­rup­tive? How are you using your unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with your audi­ence? Suc­cess is a marathon, not a race. Ulti­mate­ly, you need to stay the most edu­cat­ed, open to new strate­gies, and you need to con­tin­ue to overde­liv­er for the clients who have pri­or­i­tized their dig­i­tal strat­e­gy.