Chances are, someone is already speaking for you. No matter if you have influence over this, you should ask questions.

Digital agencies are a dime a dozen. They are either run by old school PR/marketing folk, in which case they are in the habit of making a lot of stuff up. Or they are entrepreneurs, which is worse.

Here’s a story from my own experience that should strike fear in the hearts of anyone paying a digital agency to do anything (naming no names, of course): I once worked freelance for a digital agency as community manager for a German language facebook page of a US-based medical tech company. I was at the very bottom of the organisation, the furthest away from what’s actually happening at the client’s. And you know who was creating the content in the end? Content which, by the way, needed to refer to a very specific medical condition I have no idea about? Go on, guess.

That’s general practice in the world of digital agencies. It’s not good for anyone (well, apart from the people getting paid.)

Is a digital agency ‘handling all your social’? Here are questions you might like to ask, and they aren’t just for the agency.

  1. When that digital agency was hired, what was their first request? Was there a period of really getting to know their client? Some training on both sides?
  2. Who inside the organisation is in touch with them? How tight is that connection?
  3. Who watches what the agency does on your organisation’s behalf and how well trained are the watchers? And I don’t mean looking at the report from the agency about how many impressions their brilliant strategy has resulted in. It’s social media, you can see what’s happening.
  4. Who exactly does the engaging, and how do they find out what to say on your behalf? How much input do you have?
  5. Who knows what to do in an emergency or if any of your services are disrupted?

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