Ok, yes, you guessed it; I’m a massive Walking Dead Fan.

For those of you who don’t know much about the show, it’s basically about surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. The main character, Rick (butt kicking former cop) devised 3 questions to ask people he comes across on his journey which help him weed out the bad eggs and decide whether he should help them or not. This has inspired me to create my own, less gruesome, list of questions you need to ask if your business has grown to the stage where you’d like to increase your online presence and are consider employing a Social Media Marketer or outsourcing to a marketing company.  Before you make your decision, ask these 3 very important questions or, just like in the Walking Dead, you may find that your online presence has turned into a zombie! You may have active accounts and be ‘walking around’ the digital world – but you’re not interacting or making any real connections.

Question 1 – How many followers do you have?

One the answers to this questions I hear frequently is ‘I spend so much time on other peoples platforms that I can’t build up my own’. Rubbish. For your online brand to truly flourish, you want someone who has a burning passion for Social Media. If they can’t decipher when their digital work ends and their digital social life starts, then there is a lack of passion. Don’t get me wrong, you can be good at what you do, but passion as well as online marketing insight is essential for success. When scoping out a social media marketing provider, question if you can trust their ability to grow the social media aspect of your business, especially if you see things like:

·         The most prominent red flag is a marketing company that has less than 500 followers.

·         Twitter accounts linked to their Facebook (or vice versa).

·         Posts repeating every few days or weeks, or not generating original content, only retweeting.

·         a lack of activity, especially after 6pm.

Question 2 – What platforms are you on?

Again a very common response to this, even from so called ‘Social Media Marketers’ is ‘I don’t get Twitter, I much prefer Facebook’. Facebook is a universally easy platform for businesses and they may feel that by posting the odd status update they are helping your business.  However, this is not how it works. The organic reach on Facebook is decreasing every year. Businesses have had it good for a long time, but Facebook is a business like any other and these days Facebook expects you to pay for impact. You also can’t expect to get an increased reach without frequent interaction on your page. Posting is not enough, there has to be one on one engagement too.

If a company or an individual is selling themselves as a digital marketer then realistically they should be experimenting with and understand the potential reach and purpose of lots of different platforms. They should also be able to WOW you with their knowledge of relatively new platforms, and how each of them could uniquely grow your business. They should be able to look at your social media and come up with different strategies to improve your brand awareness online and you can’t do this without a wide and in-depth knowledge of what’s available out there.

Ideally they should have a good background in IT also. They should be comfortable with different file formats, be able create Memes, convert PDFs, create and edit graphics, understanding profile and cover picture dimensions; they should feel at home in the digital world.

Question 3 – Why?

Everyone has a favourite social media platform, and that’s ok, but ask them why they chose the platforms in which they specialise. What do they like/dislike about each platform? Ask them why they have that number of followers and find out what is their own marketing strategy for their own business. Most importantly ask them the following question:

‘Why isn’t my social media working for my business?’

Their answer will give you an idea of the strategy they’ll use for your business and provide you with an estimate of how effective that will be, as well as possibly showing you which platform will be the most effective for your business.

Social Media Marketing is still marketing; just in a digital world. It still requires a good knowledge of business brand management and marketing. Without putting thought and effort into it, and targeting the right platform, it can be costly and detrimental to your business. If you ask the above questions I can guarantee you’ll get a much better feel for whether or not this person or company is suited to your campaign, product or business.

Don’t let your online marketing become rambling, aimless, ineffective or worst of all – boring! Don’t let your business become a digital zombie.