Social media is a vital part of your marketing plan, but are you getting the right advice about how to handle it? The internet is bursting with marketing tricks and tips - unfortunately, your results may vary. There’s a lot of bad advice out there.
A music business needs marketing advice tailored to the industry. If you’re looking for a marketing consultant, here are some important questions that will help you find the right fit.
Do You Have Experience Working With Music Clients?
The music business is unlike any other industry in the world. It has its own language, challenges, and threats. On social media, music brands must be handled carefully in order to resonate fully with music fans.
It’s important to find a marketing firm that has experience in the music industry. They’ll have a proven track record of success with music brands and music retailers. When you have questions about your marketing strategy, they can fill in the blanks by speaking from experience.
Could You Share References or a Portfolio?
Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of their track record. Any reputable consulting firm should be happy to show you a portfolio, web page, or references that illuminate their past success.
In fact, you can learn a lot by seeing past projects from a marketing consultant. Does their work look high-quality and professional? Does it seem like a good fit for your own brand? What kinds of details can they share about their involvement in the project?
Make sure they also know how to play by the rules. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and lots of other channels penalize messages that seem suspicious. Any good marketer should know about digital pitfalls and best practices. Do they know how to:
- Avoid being blacklisted?
- Create high-quality content that doesn’t resort to dirty tricks like keyword stuffing?
- Ensure all messages are mobile-friendly?
- Optimize messages for search engines (SEO)?
- Follow the rules of all social media channels, and stay informed about changes?
Research shows it only takes about 10 minutes a day to read about all the new changes in social media - but that amounts to 60 hours a year. If you don’t have that kind of time, you can entrust a skilled social media marketer to handle it for you.
How Will We Communicate With Each Other?
This is especially important to ask if you’re looking for help with social media. You’ll need to make sure the consultant is easily accessible through social and digital channels, and can provide clear communication at all times.
- Texting, email, and phone calls: How will you handle day-to-day communication?
- Social media: How do they communicate through social media channels?
- File sharing: Will you receive pdfs? Web pages? How do they share files?
- Project management: How will everything stay on track, and how will you approve things?
Communication is the key to a good marketing partnership, so pay attention to how the person converses with you. They’ll be representing your brand, so it has be a good match.
What Kind of Turnaround Time Can I Expect?
It’s easy to forget to ask this important question. Turnaround time makes a big difference - and you can’t predict it based on how big or small the marketing company is. A huge company can be extremely slow if they’re too bureaucratic or busy to meet your needs. And a one-person operation can be fast or slow, depending on that person’s style and workload.
With social media, turnaround time is everything. If the consultant will be managing your day-to-day social posts, they must respond to comments and questions extremely quickly - ideally, within 60 minutes. Otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good. Social users expect fast responses.
In terms of your overall marketing projects, you’ll also need reasonable turnaround times. Ask the consultant how long it typically takes them to develop an inbound marketing plan or launch a search engine optimization plan. This will give you an idea of whether your definition of “reasonable” turnaround time matches theirs.
How Do You Handle Payment?
With any new partnership, it’s always a good idea to get clarity on payment before the conversation goes too far. Some consultants require a big up-front fee, and others will work on an hourly basis. They might offer a sliding scale, depending on the size of your company.
In general, it’s usually easy to control the costs of social media marketing. After all, that’s the big benefit of Google Adwords and Facebook advertising, right? - you can set a price limit, and stick to it. But the cost of a social media marketer can get out of control if you don’t set clear ground rules.
For example, what happens if a social media campaign goes out of control while you’re on vacation? If Facebook is filling up with negative comments about your business, do you want your marketing person to step in and solve it for you? This could come at a high cost - which, let’s face it, would be well worth it! - but you’ll need an advance plans for these kinds of situations.
What Metrics Do You Measure? How?
Ask your consultant what kinds of metrics they track, and how metrics impact your social plan. They should be able provide you with solid data about your followers, likes, retweets, shares, clicks, messages, and so forth.
A consultant should be able to present a detailed plan for:
- Brand awareness
- Driving traffic and shareability
- Gathering demographic data
- Reputation management
- Building advocates/fans
- Increasing share of voice
- Increasing leads and conversions
Make sure they are aligned with you, in terms of what they value in a social media strategy for a music brand. Having 100 likes is nice, but does it translate to real revenue for your retail store? Ask them for examples of how they’ve used metrics to help another client.
When Can I Expect Results From My Investment?
Ah, the old ROI question - return on investment. You’ll want to know when you’ll see real results from your investment with a consultant. Ask for a specific timeframe and what milestones you’ll hope to see along the way.
If your primary goal is increasing website sales, for example, you might need to start with a website marketing inspection and see what’s going wrong with your current site. This will provide a checklist of pressing issues your consultant can address.
You’ll also need a measure of success. Maybe “real ROI” for you would be a 50% increase in website signups and a 20% in web revenue. But if your consultant can’t promise anything close to that, and will only speak in vague terms, that’s a red flag.
But also beware of outrageous promises, because they’re probably too good to be true. For example, if a consultant tells you they can increase your brand awareness by 1000% in a week, that’s just big talk.
Ask: How do they measure that? Which social media, specifically, would they use to promote brand awareness? Which other clients have seen this kind of success? If they’re the real deal, all your questions will be met with clarity and eagerness.
Finding the Right Fit for Your Music Business
A talented consulting firm can help you solve some of your biggest problems and develop a solid media strategy. At Octave Media, we specialize in helping music retailers and brands take a proactive approach to marketing.
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