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blog | February 8, 2018

Five Keys to Selecting the Right Digital Agency: Key #4 Walking the Walk

By Gary Hooker

As we all know, in addition to an efficient and optimized website, effective content marketing and social media strategies play an integral role in every organization’s digital ecosystem. In fact, according to SearchMetrics the top 10 factors that Google’s algorithm utilizes to rank websites are related to web optimization, content practices and social media activity.

So, it’s no surprise that every so-called digital agency touts their own suite of web optimization, content marketing and social media capabilities. Yet many of them don’t practice what they preach. Yes, they can talk the talk, but for all intent and purposes, they don’t walk the walk.

Since web optimization, content marketing and social media are vital to the success of your future digital initiatives, take some time to evaluate an agency’s own web presence, content marketing practices and social media streams. Take some time and dig into what, if anything, they do for to market themselves.

Specifically, how fresh and current is their website? Is the messaging clear and consistent? How intuitive is the functionality? Can you get to the information you want quickly and effortlessly? How would you rate your user experience?

You might be surprised by how poor some digital agency websites are. In their defense, many agencies use the old story of the Cobbler who doesn’t have time to repair his own shoes; that they are just too busy (another red flag) to attend to their own website. Don’t buy it. If they are a serious digital agency, their website, being their most important digital asset, should reflect their commitment to digital excellence.

While you’re on their site, scrutinize their blog, if they have one at all. You might be surprised by the fact that many agencies don’t even have an active blog. But, if they do, are they blogging on a regular basis – at least weekly? Is the content original and relevant? Does it evoke a thought leadership position? Or are they simply re-posting industry articles, which takes very little effort or thought, just for appearance sake.

How active are they on social media? Do they have a relevant and branded Facebook and LinkedIn presence? How about Twitter and Instagram activity? Here again, are they posting original, relevant content that demonstrates thought leadership? Are they linking back to the blog-based content- or do they take the easy way out and re-post/re-purpose third party content?

Take note of their total follower and likes tallies. How does it measure up against their competitors? You might also be surprised that many smaller agencies have less than 200 likes on Facebook or followers on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Remember, you are entrusting your online brand to your digital agency partner. In our omni-channel, 24/7 digital world you can’t afford missteps anywhere in your digital ecosystem; messaging and communication across all channels has to be integrated, consistent with your brand strategy and have a measurable effect on conversion.

At the end of the day, if an agency doesn’t actively engage in web optimization, content marketing and social media on its own behalf, it’s most likely because they don’t really believe in it. And the last thing you want or need is an agency that doesn’t have the stock-in-trade to back up the promises they make to you. Learn more about the other steps to selecting a digital agency, including longevity, sizetechnology resources, and price.