Social Media RFP: Best Practices and a Free Template

Social Media RFPs are the starting point for solid social media strategies, award-winning campaigns and long-term collaborations.

But you get out of them what you put into them. Write a sub-par call for proposals, and the proposals you get from digital marketing agencies are only as strong.

Leave too many questions unanswered? Expect to spend time answering the phone and writing long replies to emails from interested vendors.

Don't waste your time or that of others. Learn what information to include in a social media RFP to attract the best companies and suggestions for your business.

Bonus: Get the Free Social Media RFP Template Create your own in minutes and find the right agency to help you achieve your goals.

What is a Social Media RFP?

RFP stands for "Request for Proposal".

A Social Media RFP:

  • outlines a specific project or need that your company would like to address
  • invites agencies, management platforms or other providers to develop creative ideas or solutions.

The RFP process offers a company the opportunity to Review ideas and vendors before committing to any meaningful collaboration or long-term agreement.

What is the difference between RFP, RFQ and RFI?

ON Request for quotation (RFQ) focuses on getting an offer estimate for certain services.

ON Information request (RFI) is something that a company can bring out to understand the capabilities or solutions that different vendors can offer.

An RFP should provide background information, describe the project and its objectives and outline the requirements of the tenderers.

The art of an RFP for Social Media Marketing Services is to provide the required amount of detail while leaving room for creativity. The better your RFP, the better the providers' suggestions are.

What to include in a social media RFP

Still not sure what to include on your social media RFP? Every RFP is different, but these are the common elements that lead to strong proposals from vendors.

A social media RFP should contain these 10 sections, in this order:

1 Introduction

2. Company profile

3. Social media ecosystem

4. Project purpose and description

5. Challenges

6. Key questions

7. Bidder qualifications

8. Guidelines for Proposals

9. Project schedules

10. Offer evaluation

We've analyzed each section so you can get a better idea of ​​what it should contain.

1 Introduction

Provide a top-level summary of your social media RFP. This short section should contain important details like your company name, what you are looking for and your filing deadline.

Here's an example:

Fake Company, Inc., the global leader in fake business, is looking for a campaign to raise awareness of fake social media. We are accepting proposals in response to this fake call for proposals by (date).

2. Company profile

Provide some background information about your company. Try to go beyond the boilerplate and provide information that may be relevant to an RFP for social media marketing services. This can include:

  • Mission statement
  • Core values
  • target group
  • Main actors
  • Competitive landscape

If including any of the above in your RFP would require trade secret disclosure, please note that additional information is available upon request and / or with an NDA signature.

3. Social media ecosystem

Provide vendors with an overview of how your company uses social media. Let them know which social channels you are most active on or which networks you want to avoid. Some other things that you might mention in this section could be:

  • A summary of the active accounts
  • Important Aspects of Your Social Marketing Strategy
  • Overviews or links to previous or ongoing campaigns
  • Relevant social analysis (e.g. audience demographics, engagement, etc.)
  • Highlights from your social accounts (e.g. content that got really good results)

A primary reason for providing this information is to avoid repetition. Without this information, you may get social media suggestions too similar to the earlier concepts. This is ultimately a waste of time for everyone. The better a provider can understand your social media landscape, the better it can deliver a successful concept.

4. Project purpose and description

Explain the purpose of your social media RFP. What are you looking for? What goals are you hoping for? Be as specific as possible.

Some examples can be:

  • Raising awareness of opening a new store in (location)
  • Gain new followers on a recently launched social media channel
  • Increase consideration for an existing product or service
  • Generate more leads through specific social media channels
  • Establish your company as a thought leader
  • Share company values ​​or initiatives with a target audience
  • Have a seasonal promotion or social contest

Remember that social media campaigns can and should have multiple goals. Each destination has a box in which a vendor's suggestion can be ticked. Consider using primary and secondary goal categories so it's clear what matters.

5. Challenges

Most companies are aware of the unique challenges they face on and off social media. Don't assume that uninitiated third parties have the same understanding. Identify roadblocks in advance so you can work together to solve or circumvent them.

The challenges can include:

  • Customer sensitivities (e.g. anything that would help a provider avoid pressing known pain points)
  • Legalese (e.g. cumbersome disclaimers and disclosures that often stand in the way of creative concepts)
  • Regulatory Compliance (Are there any age or other restrictions related to marketing your product?)
  • Differentiation (is it difficult to distinguish your product or service from competitors?)

Here, too, resource and budget challenges can be relevant. Does your company have enough people to provide the necessary customer service and community management? Be honest. The best suggestions could be invaluable solutions.

6. Key questions

It is somewhat common to find questions in social media RFPs used for marketing purposes. They often follow or are included as a subsection in challenges. In some cases, they simply ask: How will your proposal address these challenges?

Including questions is a way to ensure that suggestions provide the solutions or answers directly, rather than evading or bypassing them. If your company is facing major challenges, these answers will make it easier to evaluate the suggestions received.

7. Bidder qualifications

Experience, past projects, team size, and other credentials are important factors to consider when evaluating vendors answering your social media RFPs. You have provided background information about your company. This is where bidders share why their company may be uniquely qualified to take on your project.

Add skills that will lead to a successful project, help you evaluate proposals, and are important to your business. While it may not be relevant to a social media RFP, for example, your company may prefer B Corps.

Some things to ask:

  • Details on the size of the provider team
  • Evidence of social media training and certification (e.g., Hootsuite's social marketing training and certification program)
  • Examples of working with previous or existing clients
  • Customer ratings
  • Results of previous campaigns
  • A list of the employees – and their titles – who will be working on the project
  • Project management approach and strategy
  • Resources dedicated to the project
  • Everything else about the provider and their work that is important for you and the execution of the project

If you do not consider the bidder qualifications section, you may receive a number of applications that lack the information relevant to a decision. So include whatever you want to see from potential vendors.

8. Guidelines for Proposals

This section should cover the basics of submitting proposals: when, what, where, and how much. Include the deadline for submission, the formatting of proposals, and the level of detail you need to break down the budget.

If your company has a branding guidelines, social media guidelines, social media style guide, or other relevant resource, include links or information on where vendors can find them.

Make sure you add a contact point as well. Our social media RFP template inserts contact information in the header. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if you put it first or last, as long as it is available to the agencies for questions or clarification.

9. Project schedules

Offer and project deadlines should be specified in every social media RFP. In this section, provide a structured supply plan that vendors can follow. Unless your project is tied to a specific date or event, your project date can leave a little more room for flexibility.

A social media RFP timeline can include:

  • Deadline for participation in the RSVP
  • Discussion period with providers for preliminary discussions
  • Deadline for the agencies to submit questions
  • Deadline for submitting the proposal
  • Selection of finalists
  • Finalist presentations
  • Selection of the winning proposal
  • Contract negotiation period
  • When will notifications be sent to bidders who have not been selected?

Enter a fixed deadline or a planned project date. If important milestones and delivery deadlines have already been set, this should also be stated here.

10. Offer evaluation

Both you and potential vendors should know in advance how their proposals will be evaluated. List the criteria you will be measuring and how each category is weighted or scored.

Be as transparent as possible about the process. If a category template or scorecard is available, include it here. When reviewers leave comments, let bidders know whether they should expect to receive those comments or not.

Finally, state what role the specified budget will play in your decision-making process. Will it be communicated to the evaluators after they have evaluated the proposal? How are cost and value determined?

Social media RFP template

Need a Social Media RFP Sample? We have prepared a template to make your work easier. Use this social media RFP template as a starting point and customize it to suit your needs.

Social media RFP template with company and project name

Bonus: get the free social media RFP template Create your own in minutes and find the right provider to help you achieve your goals.

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