“Can you send me a few accounts that you’ve managed?”
It’s a question I hear a lot when someone is considering our agency for their social marketing, social selling, or lead generation.
And I get it. I really do.
It’s why I wanted to write this article actually.
Because I know trust is incredibly important. I know you want to make sure you’re thoroughly vetting the people you outsource a piece of your business to, and you want to make sure your investment is a good one.
However, there are a few really big reasons why it’s not a good idea to use social accounts to make that judgement.
In fact, our agency doesn’t give out that information at all, and you shouldn’t want to either.
You’re Only Seeing Vanity Metrics
Vanity metrics are the numbers that look really lovely on paper but don’t actually reflect the success of your marketing strategies. These are things like the number of followers you have or your average likes per post.
That’s not to say these aren’t important for us to watch.
We do use things like follower counts and engagement rate to measure how well our outbound marketing strategies are working or how well our content is resonating with our followers.
But without all of that behind-the-scenes info, it’s impossible to glance at those vanity metrics and know whether those numbers say SUCCESS or NAH.
More than that, those numbers don’t tell the entire story.
For example, our agency (here’s our current team) is always booked out with projects and retainer clients, and we hit all of our big revenue milestones before we ever had more than 100 followers on Instagram.
Most of our clients aren’t concerned with follower counts and really want the focus to be on how many leads we’re generating. Yes, we do expect to see more followers and engagement as a side benefit, but it’s not really the goal in those cases.
It Violates Client Privacy
We take our client’s privacy very seriously, and we have language in place in our contracts that allows for a limited use of their data for the purposes of portfolio items and case studies.
Giving out their social media accounts means that we could potentially disclose a relationship we have with them that they do not want disclosed.
It also means that we put them at risk of becoming unwilling references. Don’t get me wrong, many of our clients are happily passing our names on to their network as referrals. But the choice is theirs.
When we take that choice away from them without their consent, we open them to becoming unwilling references and spending time in conversations with our potential clients that they need to be spending on their business.
Again, many are willing to do this on their own, and we prefer to leave that choice up to them.
Incomplete or Outdated Data
As much as we’d love to work with all of our clients forever, it’s a fact that most client relationships will end.
Some of our clients decide to go a different direction. Others need to take time away to reassess their goals, business strategy, or offer. Rarely, though it does happen, it just isn’t a good fit.
Whatever the reason for parting ways, once we’re no longer managing an account, we can’t know how things will go. We don’t want the current state of an account (whether that’s positive or negative) to be a reflection of our work.
Even if the account is still being managed by us, there are so many factors that can influence how “successful” an account is, and you still run up against the previous reasons mentioned here.
What To Do Instead
So we’ve talked about 3 big reasons you shouldn’t be asking for clients’ social media accounts before hiring or outsourcing, but what should you be doing instead?
The first thing to look for are testimonials. These are sometimes dressed up all pretty on a website, presented in video form, or found on social media sites like Facebook.
Our testimonials are compiled on our website and show both on our home page and on our hiring page. These are pulled from emails sent to us, Facebook, our Google My Business page, direct message conversations, and more.
Testimonials give you a sense of how past clients were feeling about the work and results that were achieved for them—way more valuable that what you could suppose from looking at a social media profile.
Case Studies + Portfolios
The next thing to look for are case studies and portfolios. Solo marketers and freelancers are more likely to have a portfolio, while marketing agencies are more likely to have case studies, though portfolios are still not out of the question.
These are invaluable because they give you the entire picture! You’ll see things like:
- A visual representation of the work created for a client.
- The thoughts and strategies that went into a project.
- Measurable data so you know exactly what results were achieved.
- Interpretations and final thoughts from the marketers.
I would not recommend hiring a marketer or agency that does not have one or the other publicly available.
Good marketers are proud of their work, and we love to show it off!