Have you been burnt by a “social media marketing agency?”

Or, are you considering working with one?

In the midst of our New Social Media Economy, it’s easy to become distracted by everything Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube and take your eye off the prize – the entire structure and strategy of your business marketing and sales machine.

Maybe you run an e-commerce site, own a gym, a coffee shop, design furniture, maybe you’re a coach yourself or you may have not yet launched your ‘big idea’ – whatever your business is, I’m sure at one stage you’ve either employed a social media marketing agency (or thought about doing so).

However, the missing element to your business planning, and what could have been holding you back – until now – is not having someone who can see how each piece of your businesses elaborate puzzle fits in, thereby methodically pulling levers that will see a serious ROI for your business.

You see, I’ve come across numerous businesses in the past few months that have hired social media marketing agencies, to find themselves no better off 6 months later and now angry and frustrated they didn’t work out WHY before they’d wasted thousands of dollars for nothing.

Which is precisely why I want to bring this topic into the spotlight right now.

You see, here’s the shocking truth about social media marketing agencies;


1. It’s Not a Quick Fix  

truth about social media marketing agencies

When you work with a social media marketing or digital agency to ‘fix’ your marketing issues, what can often happen is that they only look at one piece in the elaborate puzzle of marketing levers that impact sales and induces growth; that is your social media alone.

And whilst social media is an impactful element to most marketing plans, here’s a tip: it’s not the most important.

So what is?

The answer is simple – having all the elements to your business working together seamlessly to achieve results. Social media is included in that mix, but it’s only one element.

Having a team of experts brainstorming YOUR business, your personal goals, your message, the reasons why you’re in business, the exact person you want as your client, your website, your sales process, your email copy, your graphics, the way you communicate and position yourself in your market, your competitors… it makes a real difference and adds incredible context to your overall strategy that may otherwise get taken out of context. Resulting in you being driven in a certain direction that my not be healthy for the long term strategy.


2. Vanity vs Victory Metrics – Sack Them if They Don’t Know The Difference (and yourself!)

should you hire a social media marketing agency?

Before hiring any kind of social media marketing agency, you should ask them to explain the difference between a vanity and victory metric.

And here’s why.

As the client, you can be showered with ‘vanity’ metrics and sure, you’ll get an ego boost at the number of likes, shares and comments your business might receive on facebook, instagram or the like, but very soon the same issues that lead to you signing on with a social media expert or agency will crop up again.

Reasons such as real bottom line results that bolster your bank account.

You see, most agencies (not all) are focused on these vanity metrics exclusively. However, Silicon Valley start-up companies know better than anyone, vanity metrics look great on paper, but it’s victory metrics such as; landing page conversion rates, average dollar sale per customer, integrated sales funnels, re-targeting and virality that complete the online marketing picture.

If they’re building your Facebook fan page with tens of thousands of new fans, but these fans aren’t targeted, the rest of your strategies are doomed because your entry point is broken.

They’re unqualified ‘likes.’

And here’s where things get worse…

If your backend systems such as, your sales funnel, website, retargeting methods are broken or key issues haven’t been addressed you suddenly AMPLIFY an ill conceived marketing plan.


3. Have You Created a “Single Point of Failure” in your strategy?

social media marketing agencies poor form

If you’re using a social media marketing agency to focus on social media and only social media, you have created (and poured money into) just one area, thereby creating a single point of failure in the business and possibly wasting a lot of cash if the campaign/s don’t generate sales.

“Every” business must use a marketing mix so that if one strategy fails to hit the mark, you’ve got at least 20 others working in the background that tick along. 

This is what’s known as protecting the downside. All marketing goes through a process of launch, revision and re-launch. 

With each revision of this 3 step process comes greater insight, learnings and a more well-refined and profitable strategy.

Once you start uncovering all the elements of your business with a team of experts, you’ll see that there could be more viable, dynamic, fast-growth strategies that suit your businesses reality more suitably than a social media campaign alone that may or may not produce results – unless they understand your business bigger vision and all of its moving parts.

4. Why You Need to Know The Basics

social media marketing basics

Many businesses we advise detail their failed experiences of working with an agency. They are left deflated, frustrated – and out of pocket – often times never receiving the work that has been promised and paid for.

Instead of employing an agency or expert, then waiting for them to complete the work, how about you work with a team of experts and learn all the components of marketing your specific product or service to your key target market.

Start getting the results you desire by learning the strategies, the reasoning behind them and how to implement them – as you’re advised you can become your own most valuable team member.

And, the most crucial reason for learning these aspects yourself, if you do go to hire one in the future, you’ll be able to pick up on issues IMMEDIATELY, instead of them being dragged out over months.

It also prevents the “wool” being pull over your eyes by getting sold on “vanity metrics” alone.

The crucial thing to understand here is, that even though you may have hired an agency, the buck stops with you!

You made that choice. Do not expect to handball such a critical element of your business over to another without understanding precisely what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and how it fits in with the overall strategy.


5. Connecting Social to Your Sales Funnel

social media marketing agency

Let’s say that the social media agency is working exceptionally well for you – your subscribers and ‘likes’ have tripled, you’re enjoying excellent engagement and you have people jumping across from your social pages to your website…only to be disappointed, lost in the process, tune off because of poor copy and disappear into the ether never to been seen again.

We have seen this happen countless times and often it’s because there is no backup strategy. No email marketing sequence / sales funnel, no personal client services standards. No new client system or sales process.

The aim of gaining social media followers, fans and subscribers, adding virality to campaigns and being ‘seen’ online is to turn your potential clients into paying clients. The objective is to get them off of social and into your sales funnel as soon as possible. 

It takes a lot of effort to encourage someone to align with you or your business and become a potential client – the worst thing is to let them down when they join the tribe by not having a clear sales path to direct them through.

Or, worse yet… 

If Facebook, Youtube or Instagram change their algorithm and your organic reach drops to those hard-earned fans, you then have to pay Facebook a second time around to re-engage them, instead of simply having them on your email list.

If their strategy doesn’t include a plan to get them off social – you have a problem. They do not understand the fundamentals of successfully marketing online.

And even worse, if they haven’t discussed with you how you can sync your automated sales funnel to your Facebook ads so you only show adverts to your email subscribers when they hit a key point in your follow up series, to help reduce costs, increase conversions and reduce buying time…

Well, you get the point!


6. Murky Communication   

social media marketing agencies the truth

You may have employed a marketing or digital agency in the past to see less than successful results only to then feel increasingly frustrated at their lack of communication and resistance to changing strategies or adding new ideas.

The problem: social media moves fast!

What worked yesterday, may not work today unless you’ve built in contingency into your marketing plans.

This is one of the most common issues we’ve seen with agencies. Most clients have an allocated time each week or month and in-between there is not a lot of communication and feedback.

With a dedicated Advisor you have scheduled calls as well as communication in between calls where they can review changes, provide advice, draw on a team of experts to uncover solutions and craft new ideas in between calls so that each session is conducted from a place of learning, value and power.

This allows for a rapid shift in strategy if need be. 

7. One Size Fits All Mentality

social media marketing agencies

Often with agencies and social media experts they are employing a ‘one size fits all’ mentality with their campaign ideas. But here’s the thing – what may have worked for a massive national retailer, might not work for the local café.

What has worked for the local café might not work for the aspiring artist selling prints online.

What has worked for her, might not work for the established beauty blogger – you get the idea.

If one strategy and element impacts another then it too must be reviewed and revised.

Simply put, you will benefit more from personally guided, step-by-step, honest feedback across “ALL” of your business elements – not just social media.

That’s the power of having a dedicated Advisor in your corner.

“If you’re ready to achieve greatness this year in your business then prioritize your entire business and marketing strategy, not just one element – it’s that simple.”


The question is how do you make a decision on the best course of action for your business?

I have a simple way to answer that question. As a business owner or entrepreneur, if you …

  • Have a lot of big ideas, but not sure where to start or how to get an idea from paper to market
  • Are in a state of flux or confusion, not sure what strategy to invest in next
  • Are experienced in running your business but have stagnated in your decision making processes
  • Feel that you, your team, your systems and standards need a shake-up
  • Want a dedicated, experienced team of experts to look at your business and shine light on missed opportunities and create new ideas
  • Are marketing “reactively” because you need a QUICK injection of sales right now
  • Are painfully aware that you must increase your revenue this year
  • Are lacking a clear direction for your overall business strategy
  • Excel in getting started, but need someone to keep you on track and kicking goals…then you – and your business need an Advisor.

Now, I know looking at all of the things you’re not doing, could be doing, should be doing can be a little daunting, however all’s not lost!

Now is the perfect time of year to get super strategic, well organised, clear on your overall marketing and business strategy and make the changes you need to make with someone guiding and directing you. And my team and I can advise you.

Are you looking to feed your business this year so that you grow dramatically?

My frustration with the industry, it’s low standards and focus “purely” on vanity metrics is the reason why I have decided to launch IGNITE, a 90 Day High Growth Business Program.

So, if you’re looking to not only generate new sales, but revamp your branding, create media exposure, refine your sales process and social media strategy so it’s more profitable and fits in with your “entire” business and marketing model… keep reading.

We are only taking on 10 business owners to work with at this stage, so taking action immediately is imperative.

Click here to learn more now.

In an incredibly competitive market, I can be sure of this – your business cannot survive this year if you only focus on one element of your marketing mix. They “all” must work hand-in-hand to cut through the social media clutter.

Any social media marketing agency you work with, must understand this and be able to advise you accordingly.

Leave a comment below about your experience working with a social media agency or the fear you have in hiring one? 

We’d love to hear from you.

Oh, I reply to every comment personally too!

Weird I know, but we kinda love our tribe! 🙂

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Showing 17 comments
  • jenna denton

    I work in radio and have been working on my launching my own business for a while now. I came to the conclusion literally days ago that with my background in radio, print and marketing and the needs of my radio clients what I really need to offer is unison. Helping businesses make everything work together. I have written a really rough draft on my website which im still to go back and work on but Ben please have a look. What ive noted I think is similar to what you are saying so hopefully I have hit the nail on the head with this.

    • Ben Angel
      Ben Angel

      Hey Jenna,

      It’s great to hear from you.

      That’s fantastic news. I just checked out your site, you’re definitely on the right track, re. the site, I’d focus on coming up with your customer avatar so you can get clearer on who you’re talking too. It’s a little bit ambiguous at the moment.

      People need to be able to “stereotype” themselves when they land on your site so they feel like they’ve found a “place” in which they belong, i.e. how old, what type of business, how long in business, male vs female etc.

      Overall, it’s just a process of refinement, which never ends. 🙂

      Keep up the great work.


  • Paulene @ Slow Cooker Central

    Great read thanks 🙂

    • Ben Angel
      Ben Angel

      My pleasure Paulene. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  • Tom

    Yes! I’ve definitely created a single point of failure. Dang it. Thanks for the post – I really enjoy the articles you’ve been publishing lately.

    • Ben Angel
      Ben Angel

      Thanks Tom, much appreciated. Yup, that single point of failure will catch you out every time!

  • Peter

    I’m definitely in that camp of entrepreneurs who need a systems and standards upgrade! All of your dot points screamed loud and clear for me.

    • Ben Angel
      Ben Angel

      Awesome to hear Peter. Yup, systems and standards will make everything much easier for your business, that’s for sure.

  • Karla

    Hey Ben, great post. Unfortunately we had a terrible experience with one agency and brought it back in-house. Thanks for pointing out why it didn’t work. We really needed to take greater responsibility on our end to get them to focus on the ‘victory’ metrics as you say. We weren’t aware of the difference. We are now however!

  • Bernard Leviston

    Great point re. the single point of failure. This is something we weren’t aware we were even doing!!!

  • Lana

    We’ve found lately that social media is moving so fast, our agency failed to keep educating themselves on the changes and were using outdated strategies. Definitely highlights we need to do our own research as well. Thanks Ben

  • Chelsea

    Yup, like many others, we’ve not had a great experience either. They spent all of their time building the social media following, but as you mentioned, there was a major disconnect to our sales funnel.

  • Ron

    Thanks for sharing Chelsea, exact same experience. Definitely know the pitfalls now but more so what we really need to focus on moving forward.

  • Viola Bradshaw

    I’m gonna put my hand up too!

    We’ve not had a great experience either. $15k spent was a complete waste, now I see why. Definitely wish we’d known the difference between vanity vs victory like you mention. Thanks Ben. Will not make this mistake again!

  • Joanna

    Great article, I have worked with agencies (often a frustrating process), brought it in house and and now started a fledging business of my own, same industry, new country, so I am building my list from scratch. Qualified leads are so important, our client database had nearly 20,000 but ALL were purchasers, our direct marking/repeat business was excellent. I have been using social media to launch my new business, but taking it slowly slowly and the next step is to make a more specific business plan. I’ll definitely use your guide to help with this.

    • Ben Angel
      Ben Angel

      Hey Joanna, thanks so much for your comment. It’s definitely crucial to go into social media with a strong plan and knowing what does and does not count when it comes to metrics. Sounds like you’ve got a head start, that’s superb news.

  • Jonathan Berube

    Hey Ben,

    Great article! You may not have written this for agencies, but I can tell you that it spoke directly to me and the USP we are bringing to our market! It is all about Integrated Marketing Communications, and that has been a winning strategy for us. It is like a flashback to my post-secondary days in marketing management class!

    Our team of 3 just launched our marketing agency in good ole’ rural Alberta, Canada about two months ago and we are experiencing tremendously fast growth. I believe it is because we spent many months developing our business plan, overcame a number of hurdles and challenges, and have made the commitment to invest in continued education.

    Two things: 1. I would love it if I could quote you and this article on our next blog post, and 2. I would love your insight into our website! There are certain things we know we need to implement, but of course, time is the critical factor.

    Thanks again for the article, and all the great motivational videos!


    Jon @ Octopus Creative

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