Like CEOs and business owners everywhere, TAB Members understand the ever-growing value of social media engagement. At the same time, they often despair of finding the time and resources needed to get fully involved in the social media realm—and thereby ceding its potential market value to their competitors.
A key element of this problem is determining whether to add yet another full-time position (in-house social media manager) or bring in a marketing agency that specializes in social media. Compelling arguments can be made for both options, but it comes down to each business’s place within its industry and the assessment of just how important social media can be in terms of future growth.
Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of the two options:
Social media agency
A social media agency has a lot to offer with respect to building platforms, generating content, posting at the right intervals and overall strategy. After all, these agencies “eat, sleep and breathe social media, and they have an array of experience across numerous industries,” notes marketing expert Jason DeMers. Such firms likely “have an understanding of which networks your company would most benefit from, and they know the ideal approach for execution of your campaign.”
Just as importantly, a first-class agency knows how to produce content on a regular basis—the type of content designed to draw prospective customers’ interest and otherwise steadily build greater awareness of your brand. They’re also experts in social media analytics, compiling and evaluating data that helps formulate a comprehensive social media marketing strategy.
The biggest challenge is, simply, the services of a good social media agency aren’t cheap. Fees will vary, but they’re often beyond the reach of startups and other early-stage businesses, as well as companies with limited budgets. An agency that contracts to provide a full range of services can run up a sizeable bill in a short period of time.
Also, a social media agency is unlikely to know the nuances of your brand, core products and services, and the audience you serve. The time involved in learning these subtleties can only add to the overall expense.
Social media manager
While it may take time to craft the proper in-house job description, then recruit and hire a social media manager, it’s still worth considering. After all, it probably takes just as long to search for and find the right social media agency. And when you go the in-house route, you get an individual who’s attuned to your company values and vision (especially if you’ve promoted from within)—the kind of knowledge that works best in communicating your message on social media.
“Having a person sit in your morning meetings, engage with your audience on a daily basis, and be privy to internal and external conversations will only make your platforms stronger,” notes marketing strategist Alex Honeysett.
An astute social media manager can, if the situation demands it, build from the ground up. This means establishing a solid foundation on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and any industry-related platforms on which your business should be represented.
Perhaps the greatest drawback with the in-house option is deciding to add “social media responsibilities” to an employee’s existing job description. As DeMers points out, when your employees are already busy, adding another task may be “simply asking too much.” This can easily “spread members too thin, leaving other areas of your work to suffer.”
It’s also critically important to hire an individual who’s well-versed in social media and has the right instinct for which platforms to target and which to bypass.
In the end, business owners must determine for themselves whether in-house or external resource is most appropriate. But we can all agree that, in 2018 and beyond, social media is a force that must be reckoned with.
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