In an ideal world, businesses would handle their own social media. But depending on the company size and resources, this may not be realistic. As the saying goes, “Do what you’re great at and outsource the rest.” Ahead of deciding whether to maintain social media management in-house or outsource to an agency or consultant, you must decide how important social media is to your business. You’ve also got to determine how it could support your overall business objectives. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Engage with Customers? Learn Insights? Generate Leads? How can social media help?
It’s important to keep in mind that if you just want to post a few times a month, you’ll likely never achieve meaningful business outcomes (successful online marketing is more than posting a few times to social!) Once you decide how you’d like to use social media to support your business objectives, the next step is to map out available resources (e.g.: time, people power, budget.) When you know this, use the pros and cons listed below to help you make your decision.
Outsourced Social Media Cons:
It’s not free. The cost of working with a consultant or agency will vary. However, you can expect management to start around $500 CAD per month for basic management and up to $4000+ CAD for full management. Depending on the resources you have available, hiring a social media manager might be stretch. [Learn More About Cost]
Limited Knowledge Of Your Industry. Depending on the consultant or agency, they may have limited knowledge of your industry. With that said, some outfits will niche down and focus on specific industries such as insurance, real estate, hospitality, oil and gas. In which case, it can actually become a ‘pro’ because they’re aware of what works and what doesn’t in your respective industry.
Limited Knowledge Your Business. It takes experience and effort to truly understand the inner workings of a business. Consultants and agencies may not have adequate time to do a ‘deep dive’ of your company. Not knowing your business well enough can mean poor judgement when it comes to managing your online presence from the content created and shared, to engaging with your customers.
Decentralized Control. If you work with an agency, you may be assigned an account manager. However, agency turnover rates can be high, which means accounts will be moved around. This could mean that your social media program won’t live nor be controlled from one place (which can impact consistency and clarity.)
Slower Response Times. The nature of social media is speed; many customers and prospects expect a response time on social media within one hour of posting a question or comment. If you have an agency or consultant handling your social media communities (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.) they may not be able to respond within the expected timeframe. Always clarify your expectations before moving ahead with a social media manager.
Difficulty Establishing Brand Voice. It can be difficult for agencies and consultants to adequately understand and convey your brand voice without appropriate immersion and research. Ensure that everyone is on the same page so your business is represented appropriately online.
Outsourced Social Media Pros:
Knowledge. The best reason to hire a social media manager is their knowledge. Not only will reputable social media managers stay up on trends and tactics (for which you will benefit) but they also understand principals of strong communication, marketing, advertising and branding. These folks aren’t just be technically proficient with social media channels, they know how to use social media and digital marketing to help you achieve business objectives.
Experience. Typically it won’t matter which social media channels they have the most experience with, because the technical side of social is easy to navigate for most. Strategic business experience is where you’ll really benefit from hiring a social media manager. They work with you based on all of their broad experience across industries (or perhaps they’re experts within an industry) and most will have worked on many types of campaigns and projects.
Strategic. A reputable social media manager will never approach social media or digital marketing without a strategy and plan in place. The reason for this is that social and digital is more than just throwing your stuff online and hoping that the right sequence of events happen. Instead, an SMM will put a strategy together with your business objectives in mind; and they’ll be able to analyze and report to you throughout the process.
Save you time & Frustration. Something that may take you a few hours or days to learn, may take a social media manager just minutes to perform. This time savings could be spent working on another aspect of your business.
Education. Most social media managers stay on top of trends and tactics. In doing so, they’ll pass that education onto you (informally and formally.) A huge benefit is learning vicariously through them!
Take time to understand what kind of value a social media manager could bring to your business. But also be realistic about your objectives and goals. Will hiring someone help you achieve them faster than you could yourself?
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