When engaging an agency to manage your social media channels there are a number of things the agreement between the parties should cover.
While the contract should come from the agency, it is important as a customer to know what the contract needs to cover, and what it all means. Particularly if you aren’t very adept at social media, being fully informed means understanding all the technological aspects.
What are you buying?
Coming into the discussion with clearly defined objectives is a good start. Being upfront about those objectives means you are able to discuss what you want, and what the agency can provide. Depending on your level of experience with social media, you may find that your expectations are unrealistic. But it is far better to know that at the start of the project than six months down the track.
What are the campaign fundamentals?
Term: How long will the agency manage your accounts for – is this a one-off campaign or ongoing?
Channels: Which social media channels will the agency manage? Your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, YouTube… There are a huge number of social media sites, and the more channels you want to maintain, the more time it will take.
Frequency and timing: How many updates and posts do you expect over a week? Are there specific times you want content posted?
Reporting: What kind of metrics do you expect reports on? How often should the agency provide those reports?
Review: When will the agreement be reviewed and updated?
Who takes care of what?
Running a blog means coming up with new topics on a regular basis. Who is responsible for coming up with those topics? Who writes the blog posts themselves? If you decide to write your own blogs, you have to discuss if you will allow edits and changes or not. If the agency does the writing, will you review the blogs before they are posted?
The agreement should also clearly cover where the agency’s responsibilities start and end when dealing with people who interact with your social media. By moderating comments and responses, and speaking as your business to your customers, the agency can have a major effect on your business reputation. There should be clear information about the kind of things they can say on your behalf, as well as which comments should be deleted and which should be left to promote discussion.
What goes on behind the scenes?
If the agency is running your social media accounts, will you have access to those accounts? Can you make changes as you see fit, or do you always have to go through the agency? And who takes care of the meta-information? Discuss whether the content created and shared should be search engine optimized, and whether the agency will take care of the research to allow for that optimization.
One important aspect of negotiating an agreement is that it provides a basis for discussion. Any social media campaign will be more successful if the agency managing it has an understanding of your business and your objectives. Clearly setting out expectations and responsibilities allows you to get an understanding of what is possible to achieve and what is not, along with the level of work and involvement from both parties will go towards achieving your goals.
IT Contract Templates has an agreement specifically designed for social media services. As with all the other templates it is customisable, and can be used to check whether an agreement you have been presented with covers everything you need.
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