20 Things Every Real Estate Professional should Ask their Social Media Agency before Hiring them.

20 Things Every Real Estate Professional should Ask their Social Media Agency before Hiring them.

ou’ve just got your Realtor License or you have been in the game for years and you are just stepping out on your own.  Perhaps you are running a successful agency but your social media presence doesn't reflect that.
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The ULTIMATE Guide to helping you choose the right Social Media Marketing Agency for your Real Estate business.

You’ve just got your Realtor License or you have been in the game for years and you are just stepping out on your own.  Perhaps you are running a successful agency but your social media presence doesn’t reflect that.

You think about working with a Social Media Agency – bringing one it to build your brand online while you continue to serve your clients.

But what should you know before you hire – and what is a good industry standard you should be expecting from your very own Social Media Agency?

Let’s look at the TOP 20 Questions every Real Estate Professional should ask their Social Media Agency before they hire them.

1. Why do we need a Social Media Agency?

You may be at the stage where its time to grow or outsource, and even if you are 100% sure you are ready to work with a social media marketing agency it is still worth asking them why they think you need them!

Pay close attention to their answers and see if they align with your own values and current position. Genuine agencies will tell you where they feel you are at and whether their services will be of benefit to you. If they can’t tell you why they will be a good fit for you or whether their services and products are what you need, they probably aren’t right.

Some agencies may tell you that your business is not a good fit for them – and that is perfectly acceptable. This saves you both time and lets you get on with finding one that is!

Asking your Social Media Agency why they think you need an agency is key to finding out how they feel about things. If they are honest, they will tell you straight up if you are ready for them to guide you.

2. What separates you from your competitors?

This question should be asked of all social media marketing agencies and the answer will tell you a great deal about them and their competitors.  The answer will typically reveal what type of agency they are, who they work with and what sort of services they provide. 

Look for agencies that offer full suite packages, entry level packages and paid social.  Also – see whether they have an in-house graphic design team and how they go about creating content.  Ask them what they do differently from another agency you know of.

Not all Realtors are created equal and neither are Social Media Marketing agencies. This question will reveal some of the variables and help you make your selection.

3. Are you experienced in our industry?

Managing a Social Media Account for a Mortgage Broker is completely different to that of a Make Up Artist. Though some tactics and strategies can work for all industries – real results lie in the details and the specialties. 

Experience and industry knowledge play a HUGE role in how Social Media Agencies deliver their services, and if your agency is not experienced in your industry, make note that there will need to be time set aside for the learning curve they will need to go on to accommodate the intricacies of each sector.

They will also have a good understanding of what has worked in the past and can get the ball rolling much more quickly .

Having no experience is not a deal breaker – its is simply good to be mindful of potential roadblocks.

4. Who are your social media clients?

You should be able to find out who your prospective Social Media Marketing Agency works with by looking at their websites and testimonials. 

Head to their clients’ pages and take in how they are performing. Look for things like engagement on each post – the number of shares, comments or likes and look for some follower growth. It can be hard to tell exactly what’s happening on pages, as there may be some objectives in the background that aren’t apparent, but you will still be able to get a solid feel for how the Social Media Marketing agency is performing.

Most agencies will have clients that do not wish to share that they have an agency working with them – but many agencies will have an approved list they can share with you.

5. What is your overall approach to social media marketing? Do you have a guiding philosophy?

These questions will help you figure out whether the agency is mature and has developed company values around its goals, practices and objectives for the way it runs its campaigns. This philosophy will stand the social media marketing agency out from the crowd.

You can then see if it aligns with your business objectives and values.

6. How is your pricing structured?

Agencies can use all sorts of creative jargon to describe how they do things – but there are basically two sorts of pricing structures:

   1.    Monthly Retainer; and
   2.    Flat fees.

Monthly retainers work well because the agency gets paid only for the work agreed to and they undertake – hence you do get what you paid for BUT some retainers may be high and expensive for new businesses and agencies may do more “fluff” than work to justify a high fee.

If you are new Realtor or Real Estate Agent, or just stepping out on your own– social media agencies that offer a flat fee have less commitment and a hassle-free process. Services are charged at a certain amount – allowing you to budget for the work performed and buy in according to your marketing budget.

For larger scale or long term marketing – a monthly retainer and having and agency on hand whenever you need will exponentially grow your reputation.

7. How many clients do you have?

Understanding how many clients a social media marketing agency works with at any one time will help you understand where you fit in to things. Some agencies may operate on a less is more business model, keeping their client numbers low, but their value and service high. Some work with larger numbers and lower costs.

 Neither of these business models is wrong – the key to the right answer lies in the next question ….

8. How many employees do you have?

One of the main reasons you are probably hiring a social media marketing agency is a lack of time. Hiring a social media agency that also lacks time isn’t going to improve this problem much.

Try talking to several social media agencies to identify what the typical employee to client ratio is. As long as a social media agency has enough staff to serve its clients you can assess other criteria for working with them.

9. Who will be my main point of contact and how available will they be to me?

Once you have shortlisted possible agencies to work with – you will want to find out who you will be talking to and who will be handling your account.

Ask the agency who will be your main point of contact and look for their profiles on LinkedIn. Make sure you are looking for titles such as “Social Media Consultant” “Social Media Strategist” or “Account Manager”.

Depending on the size of the agency you could even be looking for “Owner”!

10. What time commitment is required from me?

Although you are may be looking for an agency because you are stretched for time – be wary of an agency that says the will do it all for you. They will need to obtain information from you and will make ongoing requests to better represent your business.

Ask prospective agencies what they will need from you and how long it will take.

11. What is your content development strategy?

Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing requires ongoing updating and monitoring.

It also requires a large production of content with different strategies to produce it, maintain it and scale it.

To assess whether your agency can provide the right level of service find out if they:

  • Create original pieces of content or create content found on the internet;
  • Will they make or use “user generated content” or “third party content” which is content created by other people?  Creating content from scratch can become increasingly expensive so most agencies us a balanced amount of UGC and TPC. Be skeptical if they plan to ignore these areas.
  • What type of content will they create? Will they use snippets from your website, blogs, other platforms to cross promote you?
  • How will they create graphics? Will they use stock images or create new tiles?
  • How many tiles will they create each month?
  • Will they reuse content or create new pieces each month?

12. How will you ensure that our social media presence aligns with our brand?

Brand voice and branding are imperative to marketing communications. Find out how your prospective agency learns about your particular Real Estate brand, its voice and how it stays on brand when talking from your perspective to your customers.

Find out if they utilise a Brand Voice system and research your customers.

13. Do you offer other services?

Some Social Media Marketing Agencies offer a variety of complimentary services such as web design, branding, advertising and graphic design with Social Media Marketing being a part of their offering. 

Be hesitant when you start hearing a long list of services offered. Unless you are dealing with a large, well respected agency, chances are they are not experts in all of these services.

14. What is your on-boarding process?

The on-boarding process is the foundation for a successful relationship with your new social media agency.

It is important to understand how they plan to bring you onboard and to make the process as seamless and effortless as possible. A tested and seamless system shows the maturity of the agency. Keep in mind the time and money that could be wasted with an inefficient system.

15. How will you measure success?

Measuring for success is crucial when working with Social Media.

Because Social Media is moving all the time – it must be continually monitored, analysed and optimised based on the many constant changes.

Your agency should tell you how they will measure for the success of campaigns and why those metrics are important. They should align with your Real Estate business goals and KPI’s.

Ask your agency to explain their thinking.

16. How often do you report progress?

Communication is key to any successful relationship and that is the same for social media marketing.

Most agencies have a schedule they abide by when it comes to reporting. Some may report monthly, some weekly and some daily. This will depend on the Real Estate Agent or Agency and the work.

When asking this question – think about the frequency in which you would like to receive reports. Most agencies will break protocol if a client would like reports in time-frames they don’t usually do.

17. Is there a minimum contract length?

Because Social Media is a non-traditional form of marketing – in that it needs time to work – some agencies will require you to sign up for a certain amount of time.  Standard time frames are three months, some are six  months and some of the larger ones can ask for twelve months.

There are others who don’t ask for any at all.

This is where you will ask the agency for the various packages they offer and you can create a custom retainer contract or go onto one of their pre-packages.

You may feel down the track you can take over the management of your own accounts or you may wish to move to another agency – so make sure you know their cancellation policy and when you can get out of the contract. 

 18. What results can I expect with my budget? How long will it take to achieve these results?

Some agencies will promise the world and deliver little, and others won’t promise you anything!

A good agency will have a strong idea on what their products can deliver to your industry and for your budget.

Ask them the results they have achieved for their earlier clients and get them to tell you a little about how they have gone about getting those achievements.

19. Which Social Networks should we focus on?

 When you are starting out you don’t need to be everywhere. Beware of agencies suggesting all platforms.

The best ones are the ones in line with your industry and where your customers are. According to these characteristics your social media marketing agency will be able to tell you which platforms are best.
A good start is with one platform then branch out later.

As we always say – work one and work it well!

20. What emerging networks should we consider using?

THAT all depends on your objectives!

We keep abreast with all the new things happening on Facebook and Instagram and will be able to guide you with regards to the types of content and tools each platform is developing.

BUT – knowing the trends and following them relentlessly are two different things. Work with your strategy and your business goals and dip into trends with intention!

We hope this list has been helpful in finding the perfect social media agency. If you are still unsure, do not hesitate to contact us! We would be happy to answer any questions or provide more information on how we can help your business succeed online and off.

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