Your organization understands the value of social media, but you need help developing and executing a strategy that will drive business results. It’s time to put together a social media RFP (request for proposal).
Whether you want a digital marketing agency to run your social profiles full-time or you simply need help getting started on a particular platform, a social media RFP will help you find the right solutions.
The following guide and template (find it at the end of the post) outline what you should include in your social media RFP to garner the best marketing proposals.
What to include in your social media RFP
Project purpose and description
You don’t want there to be any confusion surrounding why your organization wants the project done, so present a clear reasoning for this. How does this project fit into your company’s overall brand and objectives?
This is also an area that allows for your candidates to get excited about the project, and align their own purposes and goals to those stated by your business.
Take this time to explain in detail what your company is asking the marketing agency for. What are your end objectives? What goals are you trying to meet? If you need help setting some goals and steering the direction of this area, check our post: Don’t just set social media goals—reach them.
By providing a detailed purpose and description of the work, you equip the bidders with the tools they need to demonstrate how they would tackle the work. You’ll be granted unique takes on the job, many of which you wouldn’t have thought of—which is the beauty of the RFP process.
The most important thing your social media RFP needs to have, is clarity. Ensure that as you are writing it there are no opportunities for your recipient to misinterpret any information. Include proposal guidelines within your RFP so that the marketing agencies know what you are looking for in the document. To give them some background on what they should include, they need to know:
- What you are asking for
- Why you’re asking for this
- How you want the process and end result to look
- When you want it completed by
You must also ensure that you have the due date for proposal submissions clearly stated, so that you and the candidate don’t miss an opportunity simply due to technicalities.
Besides all of the above, you don’t want to leave any elephants in the room. Have a clear portion of your RFP dedicated to cost and fees, so that there are no misunderstandings when it comes time for budget matters and payment.
List the requirements that each bidding agency must fulfill in order for their proposal to be considered. Ask for things such as:
- Details on the size of the agency
- Proof of social media training and certification (Hootsuite’s social marketing education and certificate program, for example)
- Examples of work with past or existing clients
- Client testimonials
- Results from previous campaigns
- A list of employees—and their titles—who will be working on the project
- Their project management approach and strategy
- The resources they will be dedicating to the project
- Anything else about the agency and their work that is important to you and the execution of the project
While you will have already stated when you want the proposal by, it’s crucial that you declare a timeline for the scope of work. Ask yourself:
- Do you have milestones and benchmarks to define each part of the process?
- When are the deliverables due?
- What are the timelines for each of these?
You’ll need to answer these questions in your project timeline. Any known deadlines or roadblocks to the project should be outlined here so that the bidder can determine the best course of action.
You wouldn’t enter a contest without knowing the rules, so it makes sense to include the standards by which you will be evaluating the proposals. Include logistics such as your desired structure for the proposal, and your preferred format (i.e. whether you want the proposal mailed, emailed, delivered in person, etc.).
As for the content, think about what the marketing agencies need to offer in order to be considered for the job. This is where you need to explain how bidders will be evaluated and how the successful agency will be chosen. Include a list of criteria to make sure that the candidates can tailor their proposal to best suit your business’ needs.
For example, your evaluation criteria can include the following:
- Overall suitability and compatibility of the proposal
- Agency/bidder experience and capability
- Cost and budget requirements
In being as detailed as possible in your requirements, you set up both yourself and the candidate for a positive working relationship.
Social media RFP template
To make the RFP process as simple as possible, we’ve prepared a template to guide you along the way. This can act as a great starting point for you to develop your own RFP so that you can ensure you have the best chance of success.
Get our free social media RFP template
Google Doc (make a copy to edit)
Once your social media marketing plan is ready to be put into action, your organization will need an enterprise-strength social relationship platform (SRP) that’s powerful enough to bridge continents, time zones, and departments. It should also work within your existing IT infrastructure and allow you to manage compliance and security issues.
But how do you know which SRP is the right one? We’ve created a resource to help.