Best Social Media Marketing Agency: 5 Choices for 2024
After running a social media-first agency for the last 12+ years, we’ve talked to thousands of business owners about social media and if they do/do not need to hire an agency to help them out.
If that’s you, and you’re looking for an agency to help you, this article will take you through the steps to find the best social media agency for your business.
What should you consider before hiring a social media agency? Below we’ll look at:
- Options for Hiring
- Factors to consider in hiring
- Understanding Your Brand’s Goals
- The Business Case for Hiring a Social Media Agency
- What to Look For When Evaluating Agencies
- The Top 5 Agencies for 2024
Options for Hiring
Before you start looking at agencies explicitly, it’s important to understand the options afforded to your business. Typically, there are five feasible options for brands on social media.
1. Hiring In-House
If you have the means, hiring a full-time social media manager might make the most sense for your business. If you have an existing marketing team and someone to direct the SMM (social media manager), then this approach makes sense.
Pros: 100% dedicated to working on your brand, gives you the ability for faster collaboration and posting
Cons: You will still need outside help as one person cannot create content for all platforms while doing strategy and managing community/customer service.
2. Social Media Freelancer
For a large amount of small businesses, freelance talent will be the best path to take when it comes to hiring social media talent. For instance, if you’re a local restaurant, you don’t need agency help but rather someone to come in once a week to make content for a few hours. This can be cost-effective and keep your content fresh. If you go this route, it’s best to look for someone with relevant industry experience.
Pros: Freelancers will be efficient and require little to no training to get going. Cost-effective.
Cons: They will have a limited skillset and won’t be able to cover a whole social media department. May be slow to respond as they have multiple clients and/or another fulltime job.
3. Traditional ‘Big’ Agencies
Global brands like to work with agencies that offer social media as part of a larger media/marketing engagement. These are often multi-year deals, and incorporate many parties. If you’re a Fortune 50 brand, then this is probably the path you’re already on. One thing to watch out for with traditional agencies is being sold by a Senior Strategist during the pitch process only to have your account worked on by four people fresh out of college after you ink the deal.
Pros: Deep roster of internal talent, able to take on any project of any size.
Cons: Very costly and slow. Can be extremely out of touch.
4. Social Media-First Agency
For brands looking to get the best of both worlds (agency + freelancer), they should hire a social media specific agency. When you hire an agency with direct industry and platform expertise, you get senior talent with relevant experience working on your account directly and at a dramatically lower price than big agencies. These agencies are typically smaller in headcount and often started by people who’ve left corporate advertising.
Pros: Experienced team members, flexible contracts, deep social media experience, finger on the social media pulse.
Cons: They won’t be effective with traditional PR, or TV Buys. Higher cost than freelancers
5. Don’t hire anyone
This might seem like strange advice coming from a social media marketing firm, but not every business needs social media. If you have a strong sales team, and/or are in an industry with outsized demand, then it might not make sense for you to have someone manage your social media accounts. For example, say you are a nationwide property management company; in that case, social media will be almost impossible for you to win with, and abstaining might be the move altogether.
Factors to Consider for Each Social Media Agency
Cost: First and foremost, the agency you’re choosing has to be in your budget. This should be discussed on the first call to make sure you are aligned with the agency you’re speaking to.
Execution: Is social media the primary service or an add-on service for the agency? If it’s an add-on, be very leery as this service won’t have the same systems nor attention from the agency.
Customer Service: If you’re paying an agency they should have good customer service, period. This means answering calls when you dial them, and responding to emails within a reasonable timeframe (24 hours).
Understanding Your Brand’s Goals
When considering partnering with a social media agency, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your brand’s goals. These objectives not only guide the strategic direction of your social media efforts but also ensure that every action taken aligns with what you aim to achieve. Below, we delve into key areas such as brand awareness, advertising, content creation, reputation management, and influencer partnerships, highlighting why understanding your goals in these domains is essential.
Brand awareness is the foundation of your online presence. It’s about making sure your target audience knows you exist and understands what you stand for. When your goal is to increase brand awareness, your social media strategy should focus on reaching a wider audience, showcasing your brand’s personality, and differentiating yourself from competitors. This involves creating shareable content, engaging actively with your audience, and leveraging hashtags or trends to boost visibility. Clear goals in brand awareness help in crafting messages that resonate with your audience and leave a lasting impression.
Advertising on social media can significantly amplify your reach and help achieve various objectives, from driving website traffic to increasing sales. However, the world of social media ads is complex, with myriad options for targeting, ad formats, and platforms. By understanding your goals, whether it’s lead generation, sales, or engagement, you can tailor your ad strategy to use your budget efficiently. This includes choosing the right platforms, ad formats, and targeting criteria to ensure your ads reach the right people with the right message at the right time.
Content is the heart of your social media strategy. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, or infographics, your content should serve your brand’s goals by engaging, informing, or entertaining your audience in a way that aligns with your brand identity. If you want to establish thought leadership, your content should showcase expertise and offer valuable insights. For brands looking to drive engagement, interactive content like polls, quizzes, or user-generated content campaigns can be highly effective. Understanding your goals helps in planning a content strategy that not only attracts attention but also encourages action. For content, the agency you choose to work with should be using a tried and tested system.
In the digital age, your brand’s reputation can change overnight. Effective reputation management ensures that your brand is perceived positively by monitoring mentions, addressing feedback, and engaging with your community. Whether you’re dealing with negative reviews or leveraging positive testimonials, your goals in reputation management should include maintaining trust, demonstrating customer care, and showcasing your brand’s values. Clear objectives guide how you respond to crises, manage feedback, and communicate with your audience, ultimately protecting your brand’s image.
Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool to reach new audiences and add credibility to your brand. However, not all influencers are right for every brand. Understanding your goals helps in selecting influencers who align with your brand values, have an engaged audience that matches your target demographic, and can deliver on your objectives, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or launching a new product. By setting clear goals, you can measure the success of influencer partnerships and ensure a return on investment.
Example content from one of our clients 👇
The Business Case For Hiring a Social Media-First Agency
When you hire a company like Cave., to manage your social media you are taking +12 years of social media know-how and applying it directly to your brand. This is a leg up on your competitors, as you get expertise at a fraction of what it would cost to resource a social media department internally. Social agencies also have more content capabilities as many have studios, camera gear, etc.
What to Look for in Your Evaluation Criteria
Selecting the right social media agency requires careful consideration of several factors:
- Communication: Effective and transparent communication is key to a successful partnership.
- Clear KPIs + Expectations: The agency should establish clear key performance indicators and set realistic expectations.
- The team is ‘In-Touch’: The team should be up-to-date with the latest social media trends and platform updates.
- Introduction to the Actual People on the Account: Knowing who will be handling your account is essential for building trust and ensuring alignment with your brand.
Is It Worth It?
Whether hiring a social media agency is worth it depends on your specific goals and the type of business you have. For many, the expertise and resources that a specialized agency brings can significantly enhance their social media efforts, driving growth and engagement more effectively than in-house or freelance options.
Best Social Media-First Agencies for 2024
After considering your needs and evaluating your options, here are five social media-first agencies that stand out in 2024:
Cave. (yes, that’s us) specializes in helping brands tell their story on social media. We can help you with content creation, social media management, paid media and influencer marketing. We specialize in helping companies implement a social media system. We’re biased but we believe we’re the best in the business. Schedule a call with us to see if we’re a fit.
Location: Los Angeles
Example Content 👇
Kubbco brings a data-driven approach to social media marketing, focusing on metrics that matter to your business. Their expertise in analytics and targeted advertising helps businesses reach their ideal customers more efficiently. With a keen eye for trends and consumer behavior, Kubbco is adept at adjusting strategies to maximize engagement and ROI.
3. Bluelight Media
Bluelight Media is renowned for their holistic approach to social media marketing, integrating content creation, community management, and influencer partnerships to build a comprehensive online presence for brands. They specialize in creative campaigns, creating beautiful product photography and video assets.
Location: Orange County
4. SM Relations
SM Relations excels in small business social media management. If you’re looking to kickstart your local business’ social media then they are the ones to contact. They can help with content, community and platform management.
5. Mini Media Marketing
Mini Media Marketing specializes in social strategy. Their principle, Codi, has been a social media strategist for the better part of a decade. They can help with strategy, copywriting and platform management.
Location: Los Angeles
Other Resources for Brand Social Media
- How to Create a Social Media Plan
- 7 Most Common Mistakes Brands Make on Social (And How to Fix Them)
- How to Hire the Best Social Media Manager