About a year ago, I wrote an article with guidelines on writing a website design and development Request for Proposal (RFP), which received a great response. Now I think it’s high time to do the same thing for those wishing to engage an agency for Social Media Marketing and other Online Marketing and Advertising consultation and implementation.

Below are my suggestions of how to prepare an RFP for social media projects, retainers and campaigns. I also suggest doing research online and viewing other Request for Proposals to see what works best for your organization. Keep in mind that whatever format you choose will determine not only how long the responses are, but also what type of focus you are looking for from the respondents. Each section of the RFP is outlined below, along with some explanation and suggested questions. Have fun!

Information about your organization and project

Introduction

The purpose of this section is to give a brief overview of the company issuing the RFP and the social media project or desired work relationship between the company and the vendor. Provide as much information as you feel is necessary to allow vendors to prepare an accurate proposal. If you feel that there is certain proprietary or other information that you do not wish to make public, require a Non Disclosure Agreement be signed before receiving that information. This may limit the participation of vendors, but it is oftentimes necessary to protect private information.

1. Company Overview

Organizational history
Your business objectives
Your company’s history using social media or reasons why your organization intends to begin to participate in social media
2. Overview of Project

State the project objectives and how they relate to the business objectives stated above. Explain the type of vendor relationship desired i.e. Project-based, Agency of Record, etc. Explain the current involvement your organization has with social media channels and how they relate to both your organization’s primary presence and any related campaigns
Explain the social media channels you wish the campaign to involve, unless you are looking for suggestions of which to use, then please specify that to the vendors
Explain how the project fits into your overall marketing strategy (online and offline) and if there is another vendor involved in other aspects of your Advertising and Marketing initiatives
Explain the measurable outcomes you would like to see
Explain the duration of the work – is it a temporary campaign, or an ongoing organizational marketing platform?
3. Overview of Audiences and Stakeholders

List primary audiences for the company, i.e. demographics, psychographics, etc
List primary information needs of each audience group
Identify if any market or audience research will be necessary in the execution of the campaign
4. Overview of Response

Make it clear the type of response you are looking for:
Are you looking for a hypothetical approach, or an explanation of the vendor’s process of how they will come to create your campaign. Many times a hypothetical approach is not the best way to approach an RFP process simply because a vendor will be missing several key pieces of information that might negatively affect their ability to propose a specific solution. We suggest looking for more general responses and weighing the effectiveness of past client work heavily

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