The one question to ask your prospective social media agency

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Social Media  |  Public Relations  |  Marketing

I had a conversation with my friend David Henderson about big PR agencies and how companies should vet those they are considering working with.

David asked me: "If you were head of a major organization seeking to hire a major PR firm to help get your organization into the world of Web 2.0, what three questions would you ask to determine whether they had true expertise?"

David's question got me to thinking. Many people ask me: "Can you recommend an agency that understands social media?" and they ask: "How should I evaluate an agency that claims to be good at social media marketing and social media PR?"

My answers are simple.

There is only one question to ask.

I tell people to ask the prospective agency to show the agency's social media presence. Ask about such things as blogs, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, Web site(s), Facebook profiles, and any other stuff you have.

Make it an open-ended question. This not to say that an agency needs to do everything. But they should be out there.

My theory is that if an agency can't do it for themselves with success, how are they going to do it for clients?

It's interesting, that this vetting tool eliminates 95% of agencies who just plain suck at understanding social media.