Not sure whether you should hire a social media marketing agency or tackle everything in house? I run such an agency, so people usually expect me to say that hiring an agency is always the way to go.
But that wouldn’t be true.
Sometimes, it’s better to run social media in house and only outsource a few things related to it, like image/video production or ads management. Other times, it’s better to outsource everything, just like there are companies who are better off keeping everything in house.
There’s no definitive, one-size-fits-all answer here. Whether you work with an agency or not depends on a lot of things – your budget, your staff and their social media knowledge, your goals, and many others.
To make the right decision, you need to know what a social media agency can do for you. Let’s take a quick look at what a good social media marketing agency can do for you.
What Does a Social Media Marketing Agency Do (and Doesn’t Do)?
There are two major perils when you hire an agency: asking too much or asking too little of them. A good account manager will start by moderating your expectations and explain what they can do for you. But since that’s not always the case, it’s up to you to do some preparations in advance.
1. Strategy Help
Most of the clients we onboard for social media and marketing services don’t have a clear strategy in place. They want more engagement, more followers, but they don’t really know how to connect these metrics with their real business goals.
This is where an agency should be of great help: they can tell you exactly how social media can support your goals. They should also tell you which goals can’t be met through social media – no marketing tactic is a cure-all.
For instance, if your goal is to increase your revenue by 10% this year, a social media analyst can tell you how much of that can come from social media and how. Whether it’s paid ads or special offers, they can pitch in ideas to help you meet your goals.
What a social media agency can’t do for you: they can’t help you set general business goals, unless, of course, we’re talking about a full-service agency that handles other aspects of your marketing too. Even so, you will have to take the lead in goal setting; they can act as consultants at best. Yes, there are some things you can never completely outsource.
2. Complete Management of Your Social Media Accounts
From creating posts and scheduling them to community engagement and reporting, an agency can take social media almost completely off your hands.
An agency can take over your accounts, manage everything and report back their results – this is usually done on a monthly basis. Pro tip: always read their reports and revert back with any questions or suggestions you may have (see more on this below).
What a social media agency can’t do for you: run your accounts with zero involvement on your part. Trust me, we’ve tried it. If the agency is completely disconnected from what happens within your business, there’s no way they can create timely, credible and ROI-oriented content. This is why I always recommend keeping an eye on your accounts.
Even if your agency has the best of intentions and the best of teams, it’s very easy to stray away from company goals when you’re not part of that company. So don’t just hand things off and leave the building. Check in with your agency regularly and update them on any changes in your business.
3. Advise You on Choosing the Right Solutions and Tools
Agencies have tried pretty much every social-media-related tool out there, from schedulers to calendars. In our first year, we’re trialed four social media management solutions before picking one for our team and our clients. And we keep on trying new solutions almost every month.
Because social media evolves fast and you always need a better way to streamline processes. We use our client’s tools if they already have a subscription, but always keep track of everything in our own social media management solution as well.
For the past six years, we’ve been working with Sendible and even gotten a few of our clients to switch to it. To us, it’s still the most robust and flexible social media solution out there and we love its in-depth reporting features.
But we know that other companies may need other features, so we’re always armed with recommendations in every price range possible.
What a social media agency can’t do for you: help you find a free tool that has the features of a premium one. I’m adding this mention here because we’ve gotten a lot of requests for this. The era of free tools that really help you streamline business processes is over.
Wrapping Things Up
Briefly put, a social media agency can help you meet your goals, provided that they are realistic. However, always keep in mind that they still need your support, just like any other member of your team.
Yes, they can free up a lot of your time but you still need to invest a few hours. Typically, our clients invest 1-3 hours every month in their social media marketing. But this can vary depending on how much of your social media management and marketing you outsource.