These days social media is compulsory for any business or brand wanting to stay connected and relevant to their customers. With over three billion people now believed to be using social media, and this number only rising every year, social media is an essential platform for many people to communicate with friends and family, as well as build relationships with customers and clients, receive news and share content.
It’s one of the strongest ways to engage with both current and prospective customers, and social media in all its forms can drive a large amount of traffic, when used intelligently. Social media can be utilised as an advertising tool, customer service and relationship platform, as well as a tool to build brand recognition and loyalty. When left unattended, neglected social media accounts can seriously erode customer confidence if important messages or customer service opportunities are missed.
However, with new social platforms emerging every week, generating unique content, remaining responsive to customer enquiries and building a community that spans a multitude of social media accounts can feel extremely overwhelming. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, but don’t have the resources to support your social media strategy internally, it may be time to start thinking about outsourcing to a social media management agency.
How could an agency help you?
Initially, an agency would perform a social media audit, to see what is working currently for your business on social media, as well as identifying opportunities for improvement. Following this, a personalised and targeted social media strategy would be developed, with the intention of getting the most out of each social media platform. Based on this strategy, a packed schedule of quality content would be devised, and set up so that your audiences will receive consistent posts across all of your channels.
Handing over your social media accounts to a specialist agency can remove the time and cost-consuming task of creating, monitoring and measuring your social posts, as well as improving the quality of the content; agencies will have a greater experience and knowledge of what works well on each platform. On the other hand, your business may have concerns about authenticity of your brand voice, and a lack of critical industry-specific knowledge.
Deciding whether to hire a social media agency can therefore take a lot of deliberation, and you should consider both the advantages and potential drawbacks of outsourcing your social media. Here, I’ll outline a few pros and cons of using an agency:
How using an agency can be advantageous:
An agency specialising in social media management will be able to devise a coherent and effective strategy that is individual to each social account you’re active on, and tailored to your overall business goals.
You can use an agency to analyse your current social media presence, create a new strategy, and implement this by scheduling consistent quality content across several platforms. You can often do this months or weeks in advance, which will save you considerable amounts of time and resources. With this time saved, you can focus on other areas of your digital marketing strategy and/or wider business goals. Agencies are also likely to have scheduling or analytic tools that will speed up creation and monitoring on their end, enabling a higher output in a shorter time period than you may be able to achieve internally.
A social media agency will have the experience, knowledge and resources to not only devise a social media strategy that’s tailored around your larger business goals, but also to create high quality content within this strategy. Agencies will provide larger cross-channel experience than you may have in-house, which is useful as platforms vary from a content and advertising perspective. Using a social media management agency also means you’ll receive regular detailed reports, and support with tasks, thereby educating and informing your team on the brand’s social media successes.
Potential disadvantages include:
Companies may be concerned that social media agencies will take some time to build their knowledge and understanding of your brand’s voice and audience. Particularly if you work in a more niche industry, the agency you hire may not be as knowledgeable about industry specific news, topics or jargon as members of the team internally. However, whilst this might be the case in the early weeks or months of the partnership, a good agency will take the time to get to know your business and the industry you work in.
A perceived disadvantage of using an agency is around quality control of content regarding branding. A similar concern may be the time it takes to respond to your online community, as the resources within an agency will not be fully dedicated to your one account, and approval processes may take longer than if you have someone monitoring your social accounts internally. If this is a concern, make sure you’re comfortable that all content is on-brand, and develop a strong and efficient process for content and interaction approvals.
A common concern around using an agency is that they will miss out on valuable connections made via social media. However, a good agency will be able to distinguish between brand advocates, prospects and any potential partnerships, and flag these to key people in your business so that you can continue to build and develop these relationships.
Ultimately, deciding to use a social media agency can be a difficult decision to make, with pros and cons to weigh up on either side before going ahead. If you are interested in using a social media management agency, find out more here about how we could help you stay connected to your customers through social.