Finally decided to hire an SMM company to boost your online presence?
Good for you!
Have you made your choice yet?
As the market for social media marketing companies is growing so fast, choosing the right company for you could be everything but fast and easy.
That’s why we’ve analyzed 50 agencies so far, and we can provide you with a comprehensive ranking of the top SMM companies you could choose and hire from.
We’ve ranked the agencies based on a carefully designed methodology that includes both conventional and specific ranking factors which influence the social media marketing industry the most.
We’ve also taken into consideration some of the essential aspects of running a social media marketing agency and what should one do to be considered as such.
Finally, we concluded with a few small but powerful tips on choosing and working with SMM agencies. Also, we provided comprehensive answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to select an SMM agency that will boost your online presence.
Top Social Media Marketing Companies - 2018
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Our Ranking Methodology Used for Social Media Marketing Companies
Taking into consideration the core meaning and the idea of an ideal SMM company, analyzing hundreds of online materials and sites, and going through a large number of user reviews and ratings, we’ve defined the most crucial factors that play a role in determining whether an agency is worth hiring or not. You’re about to read a list of these factors, each of them explained in detail.
Offered Services and Quality of Delivery
The first thing we looked for when analyzing top social media marketing companies were the services offered. We gathered this data by analyzing the companies’ websites and the services they offer to their clients. What’s also important here is just how good is the agency in the services they provide. We analyzed this matter from various aspects:
What services do companies have listed on their respective websites?
Do they focus solely on social media management, or do they also offer SEO and paid advertisement?
Are there special offers for web design and development?
If they do offer more than one service, in what proportion is their focus?
How good are they in what they offer – information based on customer reviews, ratings, and analysis of published case studies.
Answers to these questions gave us a better understanding of whether a company is purely a marketing company or a company with a broad spectrum of services in the social media domain.
Creativity and Innovativeness
In the ever-changing digital world, creativity is critical for staying on the top of the game. And at the same time, it’s our second most important ranking factor.
Again, mainly relying on clients’ reviews and their view of the solution the agency they hired offered them, we measured social media management companies’ creativity and innovativeness in several areas:
The services offered: do they offer just one service, or do they provide customers with a carefully designed set of services
The work they do – what do their clients say about the solution, plan, and strategy the agency came up with to resolve a particular problem
The platforms they use and their experience using them creatively – this is easy to conclude based on the certifications for different technologies the social media advertising companies have as well as their involvement in years implementing them
In social media marketing, it’s all about delivering results and reporting them in numbers. In our research, we focused on getting data from users on the actual results provided by the social media consultant companies they worked with. Some of the questions we needed answered to gather the necessary data were:
Has their followers base increased since they had the SMM agency work with them? By how much and how long it took for that to happen?
If they used SEO service, has their ranking position on Google improved? By how much?
Finally, have they managed to improve your organic/paid position on search engines? By how many positions?
We’d say that measuring the performance of the agencies based on user ratings, comes down to 3 major factors: the improvement of the ROI for the client, the increase in online visibility, and the increase of conversion rates.
Reviews and Ratings
The online world is a tricky place – which is why we rely on quality reviews and user ratings to make decisions. For our ranking of the best social media companies, we asked the listed SMM companies to remind their customers to leave reviews and rate the companies on our platform. We also made sure to reach out to previous customers of the listed companies and get a review from them as well.
For the ratings, we focused on getting information on the following essential aspects:
Quality of work from 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest quality of work;
Strategies implemented – were they innovative, creative and goal-oriented;
Overall project management and communication – did the social marketing agency communicate with the client regularly to get as much information as possible and to update on results?
In addition to carefully designed questionnaires for clients, we also examined and verified the company’s reputation across the web. This is done by ascertaining if the company has famous bloggers who are writing blog posts, case studies, and similar. Social profiles of key people in the company are also checked for existence and activity, as in the online world, it’s highly recommended that owners and key people working in this industry are aware of the latest trends.
All data gathered from real users, competitor sites like www.clutch.co and social media profiles of people in the company were aggregated to form one, comprehensive result.
Analysis of Case Studies and Certificates
Another important factor in ranking social media companies is the existence of case studies, certificates and awards won by the agency itself. Here’s why:
Case studies are a type of a promotion strategy for the company. We look for them online, analyze them to the smallest details, and draw data from them to add to the ranking of the subject company.
Certificates prove the company’s devotion to professionalism, the investment made into establishing a specific industry authority. Most importantly, certificates give people the peace of mind that the job will be done in the best way possible. Consequently, they are a significant ranking factor.
Finally, has the subject social media marketing firm won any awards? If a subject agency has won awards in their respective fields, we make sure that counts in our ranking process. Awards show recognition by both the community and respective industry.
Company Culture Evaluation
Company culture doesn’t include just the internal organization and company lunches. It’s much more than that, and it has a considerable influence over the quality of a social media marketing company on the market. Company culture encompasses factors such as:
Communication between the client and the company: we measured this by signing up for the company’s services anonymously and getting data on how they communicate with potential clients.
We prepared a bunch of questions that helped us get as much data as possible on how subject companies interact with potential clients and how much effort they put in familiarizing themselves with their client’s business, industry, overall market situation and finally the way they could implement their social media services.
Finally, we tested their customer service, by calling and asking for assistance on various aspects based on what they’re offering on their website. Here, we evaluated their politeness, conversation length and finally were the people working in customer support knowledgeable enough to provide a satisfactory answer to the client.
All these aspects allowed us to create an overall impression of the company culture that rules on the subject we analyzed for this website.
Pricing and Value for Money Analysis
Last but not least on our list of factors that influence the ranking of social media marketing companies is how much they charge for their services and the value for money clients get when hiring their chosen agency.
How agencies define their pricing depends on which agency you choose, as there’s no industry standard at the moment.
We interviewed managers of the most significant SMM companies and analyzed the websites of our subject companies to be able to confirm the dominance of the following three pricing models:
Rate per hour of work – agencies that use this pricing model exchange time for a set price. This model has many disadvantages, and it’s often criticized by many agencies in the industry as it emphasizes agencies’ costs.
Price per defined result – according to our research and performed analysis, this is the fairest pricing model as it benefits both parties. Usually, the top 10 social media companies that use this pricing model focus on the result entirely, instead of focusing on their costs. In fact, they’re motivated by the shared risks and rewards as their client and therefore, work towards achieving results which they will charge for later.
Fixed fee or project-based pricing model – fixed fee or project-based pricing model is used mainly by large social media consulting firms that take on large clients and are hired on a long-term basis. At the core of this collaboration is a relationship that both sides work on and nurture during an extended period. The client sets clear goals here, and how they’re achieved is up to the agency’s professionals to work out. This is a lucrative pricing model and works perfectly well if you can acquire clients on whose accounts you’ll work regularly.
The Essential Aspects a Social Media Management Agency Must Carry Out
Our analysis won’t be complete without pointing out the essential aspects an SMM agency must be able to carry out.
In this part of our comprehensive analysis, after interviewing the managers of our subject companies, we concluded that there are five essential elements an SMM agency must be able to carry out to deserve and retain its place in this industry.
A company must be able to create a customized, reliable strategy for reaching business goals
Interviewing managers of our top 10 social media agencies gave us the “not so surprising fact” that 99% of the success of any SMM company lies in creating a stable, thorough strategy for achieving their client’s goals.
But what exactly is included in this strategy? What are the elements of a good plan? Through our research, we found out that three elements constitute a grand strategy:
Identification of business goals – as a client, you need to work with your chosen social media consulting firm to present your business goals as clearly as possible. The agency, on the other hand, must work to define how it can use social media to contribute towards achieving those set goals.
Define the marketing objectives – an agency must set clear and SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, time-bound) targets that will guide the way from point A to point B (the expected results). These objectives are also parameters that define when a goal is considered as achieved. They make goals measurable and tangible.
Research competition – your agency of choice must be able to conduct a full competition analysis and gain insight into the market you’re competing in. This is a critical element in designing a solid strategy that will drive results and maximize your results.
The company must be able to create a content strategy
Content is at the core of social media marketing. Without reliable, on-point and customized content, any effort is useless. A good social media advertising agency will have strong creative abilities in the form of a well-prepared team of creative people: content writers, videographers, photographers, graphic designers. At the core of this aspect are also three crucial elements:
A thorough analysis of the ideal customer – the content an agency creates is nothing if it’s not targeted to the perfect customer for the goal you’re trying to achieve. If you know the ideal customer well, you can create the type of content he/she wants to consume.
Type of content – according to most interviewed managers, a good agency should be ready to create and deliver all kinds of content at any time. So blog posts, longer content assets, video content, animated content, photos, etc. of highest quality should all take place in an agency’s content arsenal.
Define the frequency of posting – based on what the ideal customer wants, the frequency of delivering content should be in accordance. The social media marketing agency would examine the best times of the day for posting as well as how often should materials be displayed so that the target persona is satisfied.
Distribution – the company needs to determine proper channels and tactics
If you already know your target audience well, then you know where they hang out most on social media. Your chosen SMM agency should be able to recognize this and be proficient in using the right type of channels for proper and targeted distribution of content.
At this point, an agency should be able to design a solid distribution plan based on the analysis of your target audience and develop a strategy around the social channels your buyers frequently visit.
Furthermore, they will have to assign roles for different tasks that need to be done on different channels. These tasks will enable you to track productivity. If you’re in the category of Facebook marketing companies, have a professional for Facebook and Instagram advertising in addition to one for Google Ads and another one for SEO. In some cases, an expert for advertising on more recent platforms will also be needed, and an agency should be able to get one on the team.
Activation – the company needs to grow your business’ followers base
According to our research and analysis, a good strategy is successful only if the tools for activation are both appropriate and adequately used. Tightly connected with the defined budget and the strategy execution fees, tactics must be prioritized to produce results within the specified time frame. According to our research, social media marketing companies’ tactics fall into one of two groups:
Short-term tactics – these are activation techniques that produce the fastest ROI. They are performed at the beginning of every strategy. These tactics include advertising and social referral.
Long-term tactics – for more significant and attainable ROI, long-term activation tactics include fan acquisition, quality content creation, engaging paid influencers, and long-term engagement with your audience.
Measurement – both you and the company need to be able to track progress and measure results
Social Media Marketing companies are only as good as the results they achieve and present in their reports. Goal measurement and analytics report are tools that any agency must be able to provide and moreover, base their work on explaining them well.
When it comes to measuring goals and tracking progress, a good analytics report provided by SMM companies should include a few elements:
Well-defined actions you want your audience to perform: the report should consist of numbers on the desired effects such as form submissions, downloaded materials, email newsletter signups, online purchases, video views, social interactions, etc.
Broken-down analytics per platform: if your agency is using different platforms to achieve your social goals, then the report should include analytics from each platform. How well are your performing in followers numbers, social interactions and other desired actions on each platform?
Track campaigns – social media marketing companies should also provide reliable reports on the campaigns they run as well. Here, the report should include metrics like time spent, cost of ads, ROI on ads, as well as activities performed to launch the campaign.
What to do Before and After you Hire a Social Media Marketing Agency
Hiring an agency to take care of social media marketing endeavors for you isn’t easy. It’s an investment, and as such needs to be done right. We’ve researched a lot of online materials and conducted many interviews with key people in the industry to create a list of things that any business owner needs to consider before and after they hire an SMM agency.
1Define your business goals
Before you go into hiring a social media agency, it’s advisable to know what you want to achieve. It’s important to know if you’re going to have a well-managed online presence for your business and utilize social media only to raise brand awareness, or you wish to turn social media into a sales channel?
Depending on your business goals, you’d have to choose from the different types of agencies out there. As online marketing is a broad area that includes many different niches, consequently there are many different types of agencies as well. You can choose between:
Social media marketing companies for small business and agencies which work only with startups
Medium-sized agencies who already have a proven business model and a well-established market fit
Enterprise-level companies which work only with exclusive brands or particular industries
Another classification method that is also worth considering is the type of service the agency specializes in:
Highly specialized companies which provide expertise only on social media channels or solely PR
A full-service digital marketing agency with skilled staff to provide complete digital marketing services
Finally, what you want to look into, is whether the agency’s primary area of expertise matches your goals and marketing objectives. If so, that would mean that the agency in question can contribute towards reaching your goals, therefore making it a suitable choice. Best marketing companies often offer the whole package but make sure whether you need the bundle because it may hurt your budget.
The bottom line is, you must have your marketing goals defined internally before you start narrowing down options and deciding which type of agency to choose.
2Determine whether your goals global or local
Another aspect of choosing from a list of SMM companies accordingly is whether you want to expand your reach globally or locally. If you’re more interested in conquering the local market, you may want to go with a local marketing agency for two reasons:
They focus on local marketing because they’re familiar with the local market (in this case, look for a social media management company for small-business owners);
You don’t want to overspend.
If your goals are to expand your reach globally, then you may want to move forward with a more popular agency that has resources to push your brand to the global market. Mainly, here we refer to the professionals that are part of a particular agency’s team and have the knowledge and insights to achieve your goals on that scale.
3Read case studies and reviews
You don’t want to choose the first social media marketing company that meets your goals. Remember, this is an investment of time and money, and you want it to be as correct as possible. Investigate the agency you want to hire. One of the best ways to do so is if you read customer reviews.
Customer reviews are your free insight into your chosen agency’s quality of work, company culture, productivity, and overall reliability. You can read quality reviews on our website, clutch.co or upcity.com.
Another good way to get information on whether an agency is worth hiring is reading case studies. While reviews give insights into aspects like quality of work and company culture, case studies tell you how an agency works, the work organization they have, strategies and outcomes so far, as well as the tools and methods social media marketing companies use to achieve their goals.
3Discuss strategy and possible outcomes
When you create a shortlist of companies, the next step is to discuss their strategy and outcome expectations. As you’re hiring an agency to work on your social media presence, you want to know how will they create the plan, execute it and what outcome should you expect. When it comes to discussing results, you want to know how will they drive them to realization, can they do it within your budget limits, and within a previously defined timeframe.
For instance, if you’re dealing with real estate, social media marketing companies can develop a successful strategy to popularize your business. Likewise, you can check the outcome and see if their campaign has brought any results in increased sales or whichever your goal was.
5Ask for a sample report
To confirm what you agreed on during your strategy/outcomes discussion, you want to ask for a sample report from the agency to see if you’ll get what you asked for. This sample report should include metrics like reach, growth, engagement, traffic, and lead generation.
6Determine the Social Media Marketing Agency Pricing
Budget is something you want to define before you hire a social marketing firm. This factor refers to how much you want to invest in reaching your objectives and goals. Your chosen agency will then give you a rough estimate on whether or not your budget is sufficient for achieving what you expect, drawing from their experience, of course.
Having this in mind, don’t always rush into accepting what the agency suggests regarding the budget; in social advertising and media management, the good thing is that you can still change the budget you want to spend.
At this point, you also want to discuss social media marketing companies pricing for the services they’re offering. As discussed before, there are different pricing models agencies in this industry use, so make sure you clearly define what do they expect you to pay.
Also, when looking at pricing as a selection element, don’t always assume that the more expensive the service, the better the quality. On the other hand, running and managing social media is a long-term relationship that requires a lot of time, money, and trust invested. Consequently, if the proposed offer is way too low, you may want to reconsider your choice as well.
How important is social media presence?
If you’re not on social media, it’s like your business doesn’t exist. Social media marketing companies exist because it’s that important to have a well-managed social media presence. There are many more reasons why social media presence is a must for businesses in today’s world, and we’ll emphasize just a few:
Your potential and existing buyer audience is on social media, as the number of adult users of social media has risen from 7% in 2005 to 69% in 2015 and it’s still growing.
Social Advertising has taken a significant portion of marketing budgets of about 2+ million businesses worldwide, as they use social media to promote their products and services. Consequently, the number of social media marketing companies that manage to advertise these businesses online also grows.
Social Media use on mobile devices sees a continuous growth of 30% every year, which indicates that not only should you have a social media presence, but you should also have it optimized for mobile devices.
What does a social media agency do?
Since it’s of such importance to have a social media presence, SM agencies do precisely that: they promote your business online, on social media platforms and channels. Furthermore, these agencies use various tools and strategies to put your business in front of as many competitors as possible.
Who benefits from social media the most?
If done right, everyone can benefit from social media, as the basic concept of social media is to serve the audience who searches for answers with suitable solutions that your business may be offering.
Therefore, with the right strategy conducted by reliable and well-organized social media agencies – you can benefit as a company, and the audience can find great use of your success as well.
You, as a company will benefit as you’ll have your products and services put forward to a broad audience who has shown interest in what you have to offer by actively searching online for those exact or similar products and services. You’ll also get reviews from satisfied customers who will raise brand awareness about your business and give you a chance to change and become even better in future.
The audience will also benefit from your cooperation with one of the top marketing firms, as people will find what they are searching for and encounter an experience that they’d be happy to recommend.
Where can I see company experience and customer satisfaction best?
The best way to learn about a company’s experience and customer satisfaction is to go online and read materials that offer proof, like customer reviews and case studies by the company itself.
Case studies along with the company’s portfolio are the best indicator of their experience, while customer reviews are your gateway into quality customer satisfaction insights. If you’re using Google as your social media marketing companies near me tool, you’ll end up on websites like our own, www.clutch.co or www.upcity.com and read many quality customer reviews that will help you make a decision effortlessly.
Case studies and customer reviews aren’t just good for businesses looking to hire an agency, but also for professionals who are looking to get into that industry as well. If you have your entrepreneurial spirit up high and wondering how to start an SMM agency, checking how other agencies work and where they fail may be a good start.
Finally, since many different social media marketing companies focus on various aspects of advertising online, choosing the agency that will work on your social presence is an extensive process. Make sure you check all the boxes before you decide to make this investment.
Getting ahead of the competition is essential today, and we are here to provide you with the best marketing companies to get you where you want to go. To connect businesses with experienced professionals, we evaluate companies’ portfolios, services, client retention, and more!