Social media marketing services are popping up all over, as social marketing gets more popular. But how do you choose one? Should you outsource your social marketing or keep it in house? These are very important questions that I will explore in this article, in an attempt to help you get the most out of your marketing dollar.

First of all, it’s critical to understand that social media marketing doesn’t outsource well. One of the reasons for this is that nobody understands your message like you do. And unless you can pay some really big bucks, they don’t have time for the education they really need to represent your product well. So, you ought to take a long hard look at keeping it in house before you consider outsourcing.

If you do decide to hire a SMM service, you need to have a very clear idea of what it is you are trying to accomplish. If you think you can hire a service and just say, “Welcome on board, good luck making us lots of money through social marketing…” you’re in trouble. See point one. Rather, you are going to have to work very closely with them, and make sure they understand your brand, or the brand you want to be if you are still developing.

Ideally, the messaging should come from you. Again, nobody knows your message like you do. In my opinion, the best way for most small businesses and entrepreneurs to take advantage of a social media marketing service is to have them distribute content you create. That way, you know it’s accurate and meaningful. Unless you have deep pockets to pay them for all the content creation, you’re going to have to figure out how to create it yourself. In that model, their primary role becomes distribution and reporting back to you on the work they have done.

So, before you choose a firm, make sure you understand well what parts of your social media you can keep in house, and what you want them to do. Demand examples and case studies to back up their claims. Ask for detailed examples of the types of daily, weekly, or monthly reporting you can expect. And consider onshore and offshore services before making a decision.

Hopefully these tips will help you as you consider how to best implement social media marketing services into your business.