Most people young and old spend a lot of time on social media. Businesses are seeing the opportunity to leverage this time to establish a social presence for themselves. And, no matter the size of your business, there comes a point in time when you have to decide how you are going to do this.
Should you hire an in-house social media manager or outsource it to a social media agency?
There is no one answer to this question because it depends on the size of your business, marketing budget, in-house talent, the industry you belong to, and your social media marketing goals. For example, if you are a B2C business where sales and customer reach happens predominantly through social media, then you might want to consider taking the help of a social media agency. On the other hand, if you are a B2B business where customer support or lead generation happens through social media, you might want to consider an in-house social media team or manager. But this is not written in stone.
Social Media Skills
It is first important to understand what kind of skills you require to achieve the social media goals that you have defined for your business. It is also equally important to note that finding a social marketer with all the social media skills is next to impossible. Before we discuss this further, let’s take a quick look at what makes up a complete and optimized social media marketing design.
1. Social Media Publishing
This requires that the person take care of creating and publishing content on your business’ social profiles. It requires a deep understanding of your target audience. They should be able to create and maintain a social media content calendar. They should also have sound knowledge of how each social channel works and what kind of content works well on each of the social channels.
2. Social Customer Support
This skill is required when you run customer support through social media. The person or team handling social customer support for your business needs to be fully aware of the products or services you sell. They need to have a clear understanding of your customer personas and be connected to social channels round the clock. They also need to be ready with answers to customer questions. They require to be empathetic towards customers who come to you with issues and complaints, and be open to taking customer feedback. This skill is key to your business because the whole social media world is watching what you are doing and how you are responding to comments and messages.
3. Social PR
This is typically influencer marketing on social media. The person handling this does an influencer outreach program and builds a list of influencers fitting your business and the social channel that you are present on. They reach out to these influencers with a pitch to become ambassadors for your business or products. Most often this is taken up by the person who creates and publishes content on your social profiles.
4. Social Media Advertising
This is basically marketing but on social channels. The person handling this role needs to have a clear knowledge of your business’ target audience, the different ways of advertising on each social channel, a good understanding of social media analytics and how to use it to create better ad campaigns. While an experienced social media marketers will do this, it is better to hand this task over to a social media agency.
Types of Engagement
Now that we have outlined what skills constitute a good social media plan, let’s look at the kind of engagement that social media agencies offer. Not every social media agency offers all the services you are looking for. Sometimes they specialize in a particular set of services and sometimes they offer a complete package. Hence the level of engagement can vary from one agency to another.
1. Consulting Services
Agencies that offer social media consulting services work with you to help you set up your social media presence. They act as a guide to your in-house social media marketing team to create marketing strategies or train them on how to handle customer care on social.
2. Select Services
As mentioned earlier, there are agencies that specialize in certain skills. Hence, they offer those services to businesses. For example, an agency might offer social media publishing or social media advertising alone. In which case you need to find another complementing agency to work with. There are other agencies that help fill in the gaps where your in-house social media team lacks. In this case, you can find an agency that offers the kind of services which your team lacks as skills.
3. Complete Social Media Management
There is a third type of engagement where the agency offers all the services pertaining to social media. If you have a big marketing budget but no in-house team, then you can opt for an agency that offers all the services as a complete package. In such cases, the agency takes complete ownership of your social profiles and is responsible for ROI.
Working with a Social Media Agency
Finally, with all this discussed so far, you know what kind of skills goes into social media marketing and what kind of engagement agencies offer. Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of hiring a social media agency.
Advantages of Hiring a Social Media Agency
They have all the right tools required to achieving any of your social media goals. These advanced tools help them to help you grow your fan following and get great ROI.
Social Media Expertise
Having worked with multiple clients or businesses across different industries with different requirements, they have great experience in handling social. This helps you better invest your time and efforts on other business-related activities while the agency does the heavy lifting for you.
They have the expertise needed to run social on your behalf. They are a team of the best content, marketing, design, sales, and support people required for marketing your business and social channels.
Social Media Analytics
They have a great understanding of all the social media metrics for all social channels. Social media reporting is key to understanding customer behavior. This helps create better social campaigns and post the right kind of content on social channels.
They have the means to find out what people are talking about your brand. With this information, you can transform these conversations into sales-qualified leads with the right kind of response.
Disadvantages of Hiring a Social Media Agency
There is a lot of difference when between staffing an in-house social media team and hiring a social media agency. Your in-house social media marketer is completely aware of all that is happening with your business. They have an upper hand at taking advantage of this information.
It’s you and your team that knows your business and its working best. This helps you respond to customer messages instantly and with complete knowledge of the products that you sell. An agency might take a longer time to grasp the values and voice of your business and convey them to your clients and customers.
Not all businesses can afford a social media agency. Agencies that offer complete engagement are usually expensive. Since agencies use advanced social media tools this could add to the price of the service packages they offer.
Over to You
It might be difficult to know whether or not you require a social media agency or if it will fit your marketing budget. I hope this article helps you get closer to making a decision. Meanwhile, you can invest in a good social media management software that can help you manage your social profiles with ease. If you want to know how such a software can help you, register for a quick demo of SMhack and we will show you how social is done.