3 Tips for Issuing a Last Minute Social Media Agency RFP

It’s that time of year again. Organizations are beginning to evaluate agency relationships and are making the tough decision to either move forward or move on. As we are in Q4, contracts are ending and the pressure is on to make a decision on a new social media agency going into the new year.

The typical reaction to this realization? Issue a boilerplate Request for Proposal (RFP), then head out the door to enjoy the holiday season. While this is certainly one way to get the job done, brands need to understand that this course of action can easily end with a less than satisfying outcome.


Hence our purpose here today. If you’re looking to get that last minute social media agency RFP out the door, here are three tips to ensure you receive meaningful submissions, allowing you to make the right decision for your brand.

1. Cut the Questions

Too often we see last minute RFP’s come in asking us to answer a list of 50 or more boilerplate questions about every single service that we offer… in full detail… with a case study. Not only is inefficient from a timing standpoint (for both parties), but it’s very uninspiring. It prevents the agency from being able to really spend time showcasing how they think, and how they would approach your brand’s unique challenge.

Instead, cut the fluff and distill the questions. Really think about what you hope to achieve in the RFP process and structure your questions to see how the agency would approach your challenges. You’ll save yourself time, and you will get responses you actually want to read.

2. Be Transparent

Agencies want to understand what is going on behind the scenes to help you make your decision. Are you looking for a strategic partner, or are you looking for the next “viral” campaign to get you written up in AdWeek? Do you have an existing agency that isn’t quite cutting it, or are fairly happy but just want to see what else is out there?  You tell us.

Also, share your social objectives and target audience information, or any information to ground the thinking. Is it Awareness? Engagement? Sales? Don’t expect the agency to guess or be able to tell you exactly what success looks like before they know your unique business. If you are looking for ideas and tactics, be clear on what evaluation criteria these should ladder to.

The more transparency you give, the better response you’ll get. This allows us to rise to the occasion.

3. Provide A Budget


As odd as it sounds, you’d be surprised how few brands reveal their social media budget when developing an RFP. At times, this may be because the client isn’t quite sure what to spend or allocate, or there is an inherent fear that we’ll take advantage of that budget or charge more (which just isn’t true).

The first reason to reveal budget is that it is a number one indicator to the agencies that you’re serious about your RFP and won’t waste their time in responding. Second, it helps the agency prioritize their proposal as if it is their own money. Budgeting for us is a strategic process. It’s the time where are forced to prioritize the activities that make the most sense for your brand and your objectives.

Finally, go ahead and issue the RFP before the holidays are upon us. Having the right amount of time for your RFP process will help you have a better understanding of who you’re about to begin working with, and what type of results they’ll generate for your brand.

Ignite Social Media