Is it time to bring in a social agency to help? It may be if your company is still struggling to make social media work.

Yes, I’m biased since I manage a B2B social agency. But over the last six years, I’ve had a front row seat watching otherwise smart marketers be slow to participate in social media, be quick to hand it off to interns and junior marketers, or hope that one of their other marketing agencies can just take care of it. No wonder so many still question if there’s any ROI at the end of the social media rainbow.

Instead, you should consider these seven ways the right social media agency can help you finally get things on track:

1.  Generate social insights about your target audience

It’s hard to have an effective social strategy if you’re not sure how your prospects engage on social media. Why not ask a social agency to tap into social media to discover which social networks your target buyers are active on, what conversations they’re having, which content sources they read and share, and even who’s influencing them. Clearly, these insights can also inform your entire marketing strategy. Check out our social insights reports for examples.

2.  Review your current social media operations

My experience is that either your company isn’t participating enough on the right social networks or is trying to be active on too many of them. Also, given the recent explosion in marketing technologies, you may need guidance on which social platforms and tools best meet your company’s needs. And what about your current social media activities… there’s probably more than a few things you could be doing better. It’s time to give your social media operations a check-up!

3.  Evaluate the competitive landscape

It always surprises me how few B2B marketers monitor the social media activities of their competitors. Don’t you want to know where your competitors are participating in social media (and maybe where they’re kicking your brand’s butt)? Obviously, this information is helpful in deciding where to invest your efforts, and in championing the importance of social media to the C-Suite.

4.  Convert brand content into social content

You thought your latest white paper, press release, or blog post was done… and that you could move on to the next item on your list. Well it’s not. You still need to convert that brand content into social content. Why? So you can effectively promote it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. For example, each white paper should translate into 10 to 20 tweets and 3 to 4 LinkedIn updates that you can share over time. Do this right, and consistently, and you can (finally!) start turning social media into leads. A good B2B social agency can take care of this for you.

5.  Develop a real social media plan

Do you have quarterly social media goals in place? And do you feel confident in the KPIs you’ve set? My experience is that your answers are most likely, no and no. The reason is simple: you don’t know which stage of social media your company is in, what to focus your social media efforts on, and, given that, which KPIs make the most sense. So how are you supposed to know whether you’re actually making real progress (or not) with your social initiatives? Read about the four stages of social media to get a sense of the right goals you should be setting.

6.  Manage your daily social media efforts

The right social agency can provide daily support when it comes to the five practices of social media. This starts with setting up and monitoring your social listening activities… so you can stay on top of what customers, prospects, and influencers are saying. Then it’s about curation and sharing other people’s content to help you attract and build a quality social audience. Next is promoting your upcoming white paper, webinar, or other brand content to generate leads. All the while, engaging prospects and influencers on your social media handles. Finally, it’s tracking and measuring your social performance against those monthly and quarterly goals.

7.  Support other marketing initiatives

Beyond the daily social media activities there’s always more to do. For example, is your annual user conference coming up or need some live tweeting support for your next webinar? Maybe you’re considering the best way to approach customer advocacy or employee advocacy? Ready to get started with influencer marketing? Your social agency can help you plan and execute on these types of marketing initiatives. Plus, put together the right analysis to show the executive team you’re generating some awesome social media results!

Now it’s your turn

What’s keeping you from bringing on social media help? What other ways would you like a social agency to help out? Feel free to share your comments below.