Social Media Agency: How To Know You're Getting Ripped Off

We’ve heard it too many times: “I spent $10,000 on this one social media company and they did NOTHING!” That’s why Social Light exists. While we’re a growing business, and it IS normal for costs (including labor) to increase as expenses increase, we’re here to set the record straight with our affordable packages…

...and all the dirty details about how to tell when you’re getting ripped off by a social media marketing agency.

Keep in mind, it’s not the price a company quotes you, it’s what they deliver at that rate. But it’s more than the cost-to-quality ratio that you should be looking out for. If you spot some red flags, it may be time for you to take control.

Before You Sign On:

How did this company reach out to you?

1. Professional email or message?

Unless the company found you on social media and you’ve provided no other way to contact you, if an agency or individual is reaching out via DM, it’s important to check them out. Even if they look legitimate, they may not be.

2. How are they speaking?

Are there grammatical errors? One, maybe two, small ones are fine if it’s through email. But if it’s broken sentences and incorrect grammar that would otherwise be common sense, they’re probably not worth your time.

Look up competitors' costs and what they deliver.

Costs from marketing agencies will definitely vary. However, there are plenty of marketing companies that charge much more than Social Light does and provides less to the client. This isn’t necessarily the problem. It’s when a similar-sized company is charging much more but providing less. Ask the agency for a cost breakdown.

At Social Light, we break down our costs for each service in your free marketing proposal, and in each invoice.

Do they have any case studies?

To be honest, they may not! But they should have no problem at least speaking to you about their previous work.

They won’t give away their company secrets or every detail on their methods, but they should be able to explain the basics of their process and provide you with some numbers. Keep in mind you may not understand some of the language so take notes in case you need to do some research after.

Check the contract

Contracts in general can be a little confusing but if you have questions, you should feel comfortable asking.

If you’re not comfortable with something in the contract, you CAN negotiate! We’ve done this for a few of our clients (who had been taken advantage of by previous social media companies) who needed a few clauses a bit more specific.

Do you have the option of being hands-on?

If the agency isn’t asking anything of you or asking for your approval without your sign-off on that, that’s a little fishy.

It’s YOUR brand. You should always have the option to be involved. However, keep in mind that you ARE hiring professional marketers. Legitimate agencies know what they’re doing so it's important to go with a company you feel you can trust.

After You’ve Signed On:

Is there constant communication?

Did you sign a contract? Pay? Then they shouldn’t just disappear. If you’ve had consistently spotty communication before signing on, that’s not a good sign. They definitely could take your money and disappear.

Also make sure there is clear communication on both ends. Especially in quarantine when work is done with video call or phone call (which is usually just fine, but can have its flaws), you want to make sure each conversation is clear and you walk away feeling good!

Are the followers and engagement coming in real or fake?

Especially now in 2020, no company should be purchasing fake followers or engagement.

See a previous blog of ours to learn how to spot fake followers and engagement.

Is the work quality?

It’ll take some time for an agency to understand your desired voice and tone when it comes to your brand, so for the first month it may seem a little slow, but this is totally normal. Low-quality is not.

This is also why it’s important to be clear on the contract and expectations, and to look at their previous work. You’ll know if the quality of work just isn’t holding up.

Is your project constantly getting delayed with no legitimate reason?

Although Social Light is still young, we’ve learned what we can guarantee and what we can’t, and we’re transparent with our clients about that.

If it seems like an agency is forgetting about you, they probably are. Or they’re taking your money and sort of running away.

Are you getting the deliverables you paid for?

This ties in with the above point. Agree on deliverables before signing on and make sure they’re being done.

Are they dedicating hours equivalent to what you’re paying?

You can ask how many hours each task takes (you’ll want to understand average marketing labor costs as well). You’ll know what’s right and what’s not.

Social Light’s task-completion time will vary depending on if we create your content or you do, if you’d like to be extremely hands-on or not, and more. Most agencies won’t have an exact amount of time for you, however an estimate should suffice.

Social Light, as a team, spends at least a total of 10 hours a week on work for EACH client. Sometimes a LOT more, depending on what projects we've got in the works.


Remember, a single red flag may not be the end-all, but it’s important to know what to ask and research. If you’re able to communicate with the company that’s working for you (that’s another thing: they work for YOU), we recommend talking it out and seeing where there may have been any miscommunication.

Social Light anecdote: our clients are on TOP of us, and we appreciate it! There are open lines of communication and we allow them to be as hands-on as they’d like. It’s their brand. We’re here to be an extension of your brand and guide you to success via social media marketing. We apply our expertise but you always have the final say.

As it should be!

Curious about our services? Check us out! Let’s hop on a 30-minute discovery call to learn more about each other and your goals, and we’re happy to send a custom proposal within the week!

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