We spend a lot of time benchmarking the performance of brands to help inform social media strategy and the capability required to deliver it. Quite often, we’re brought in by the public relations or social media agency to provide an independent, objective and quantitative perspective from which a strategy can be developed. This approach has enabled one agency to deliver and demonstrate a three-fold improvement in competitive performance for its client.
Whilst we’re not strong believers of brands outsourcing social lock, stock and barrel to any agency (our mission is to help them build their own capability), we can understand why it sometimes happens. It strikes me therefore that these organisations more than any others should have a consistent way to evaluate the value they’re getting from their social media agency.
Here are some principles they might do well to follow:[ordered_list style=”decimal”]
- Never, repeat never, let an agency evaluate its own performance. This one shouldn’t need any explanation.
- If the agency is managing your social media presence for you, base your evaluation on facts and evidence, not opinion and hearsay
- Don’t accept measures of success that only mention the words “fans”, “followers” or “mentions”
- Link any evaluation to your original objectives (you did have some, right?), the audience you are trying to reach and the business metrics you are trying to impact
- The quality of the agency relationship is important (people buy from people, even when it’s a B2B purchase), but a good relationship is not a proxy for delivering success
Do these principles resonate with you? How are you measuring your social media agency? And agencies, how do you want to be measured?