Yesterday I spoke about what people should consider before they outsource their social media accounts to an individual or an agency. In particular I looked at what businesses should keep in house such as social interactions and networking.
I believe that work should be handled in house but some of the things that they would consider outsourcing is content creation, housekeeping and of course businesses should seek advice and guidance on how to grow their social channels by meeting with agencies (don’t forget you should expect to pay for these meetings and if you do find an agency willing to give it all away for free…well that agency is hosing themselves). Attend conferences and if you really feel the need you could attend a day course teaching how to use social platforms if you want, though really you can find all you need for free online.
Now, one of the things I spoke about is businesses auditing agencies or individuals they are outsourcing to. They should make sure they are happy with the kind of content that agency creates as well as the general work they have carried out for previous clients. Ask for examples of content created and look for testimonials, they are the references for that agency.
While businesses are doing that, I also firmly believe that agencies should be auditing the potential clients they are about to work for. What you don’t want is to take on a ticking time bomb and just say yes to working because you want the clients.
I audit every single potential client here, because I’m not in the business for every client I can get my hands on. I want the client that is the right fit and I want to be the right fit for that client too and yes I have turned down work because the client and the business has not felt right and my gut told me something was wrong. I have been proved right on those decisions every time. So what should you be looking for when assessing a potential client?
1) The product
Really basic here, look at the product. Are you interested in it and are you prepared to promote it, sell it and create content for it. You don’t need to be as passionate as the business owner but you need to ‘feel it’ in order to have the passion to create around it and sell it online. If you don’t have that little bit of interest people online definitely won’t have interest either.
2) The business owner
When you meet with them for the first time get a feel for the owner of the business. Some people you are just not going to click with and that is fine, this is business. Remember, you are not an employee for this person. You are providing their service and they are your client so while you are working for them they are not directly employing you in their business and they shouldn’t be treating you as such. If you get the impression they are not going to give you the support or licence to do what you need to do to get results then cut loose early.
3) Audit what they have done online to date in social media
Really important, look at how they are interacting with people online. Look at the conversations they are having and what they are doing. It is not unusual for people to look at getting an agency in when they have created a mess and realised they are in over their heads. Sometimes that mess can be so bad it is hard or impossible for you to truly clean up. This goes as far as private interactions on social accounts. I have cut loose after getting access to social accounts for clients and then discovering that their private interactions are an utter disaster.
4) Audit their content
If they have been creating content then look at the standard of what they have been creating and if a radical change or increase in standards is needed then tell them that. Some business owners believe they can churn out anything and call it content. I have met business owners who have believed they have great content and when I look at it I can see a mess. Not always their fault, they believe it is good but to someone who creates content daily they can look at it a different way. If they are happy with the standard of content and you feel you can’t work with it then don’t work with it.
Saying no can be as important as saying yes and if your gut is telling you that something is wrong then don’t be afraid of cutting loose. You need to be a good fit for your clients but they need to be a good fit for you too. This may sound like a pretty intensive investigation but it really is not the case and most businesses will pass your audit but at the same time you can weed out the one or two who are not right for you.
These 4 steps are what I do each time and nearly every business easily passes but it has helped me to identify two businesses who were risky moves but good pay. So as hard as it was to turn them away I did it because it felt right and looking at what they are doing online today I am happy to say it was the right move.
It is a two way street, being the right fit is not just applicable to the business but for you too. Because your agency is your business.