3 (Easy) Questions for Your Social Media Content Vendor
So you’re considering hiring a vendor to make sure your business has fresh, engaging content for your fans and followers? That’s exciting because it means your business is growing! Before hiring a digital content company, there are about 50 questions that your future partner should answer for you. I’m not going to cover that many (since you wouldn’t read all 50), so below are three questions that will hopefully give you some good things to consider. A top quality vendor will answer them easily for you, but a less reputable organization will talk around them. This is not an exhaustive list, but I think these are probably the three quickest ways to spot a great content creator and a fake.
1) What platforms does your social media management cover?
Time and again I have heard people incorrectly use the terms “social media” and “Facebook” synonymously. Facebook is one social media avenue, in the same way that Ford is one automobile manufacturer. I have talked to several business owners who signed 12-month contracts, only to find out that Pinterest, Houzz, or another platform relevant to their business weren’t part of the deal.
If Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Houzz, or another social media platform is relevant to your business, make sure that your social media manager knows how to effectively reach your audience there. Since Google My Business allows businesses to post content and create events, I highly recommend confirming that it is included as well.
Content should be similar and true to your brand tone, but it usually needs to be tailored to each platform. What your brand shares on LinkedIn should usually be different than what it shares on Instagram.
2) Who creates my content and what is their background with my industry?
I’ve worked with writers who create content for diaper brands, air conditioning compressors, automotive dealerships, home improvement companies, medical practices, CPAs, dentists, and just about any other business you can imagine. Because they are writing experts not industry experts, they almost always write at a high level and regurgitate information already floating out there on the internet. Unfortunately, this doesn’t typically translate into valuable content for your audience.
The problem is that no one knows your industry like someone with experience in it. If your business is a dental office, the writer should know the difference between an overbite and under bite, when to say “endodontic” and “periodontic,” and so on. You want content that establishes your business as a leader in its field, so try to make sure the writer knows your industry. I’ve noticed that this is especially important with B2B content. You (or someone you trust in your business) should always have final approval for all of your content. This should help ensure that there is some depth and value to it!
3) Is my content original?
Some social media management companies will write jewelry content that goes out from all of their clients who are jewelers, re-share existing content, or (worst of all) plagiarize content on your behalf. The internet is a big place, so this can be hard to track down if you don’t ask the right questions up front.
Fortunately, most people following a Honda dealership in Providence aren’t following a Honda dealership in Houston and comparing content. However, if you have a national audience or far reaching e-commerce site, duplicate content can hurt your business and reputation. Furthermore, content that serves several clients likely isn’t personalized to your organization. Ensuring that your content is original and unique to your business can make a big difference in the level of engagement.
Hopefully those three questions are helpful as you interview social media partners. I also recommend asking about how the pages or profiles are managed, how content is curated, what the response procedure is to comments/reviews, how A/B testing can be leveraged, and so on, but those are secondary to the nature of the content.
Remember, the content your vendor will be creating and monitoring will be coming from your business, so it’s imperative that they are up front and honest with you. You want them to accurately and adequately represent your business and values.
Let me know what questions you asked your social media vendor or if you still manage your profiles in-house!