Social media is a great tool to build brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately create revenue for your company (see our article on social media ROI here). According to Clutch, over 70% of small businesses have social media accounts.
Social media marketing might sound like something easy that would be easy to handle in-house, especially when you and your employees are already plugged in during your free time: how hard can it be to post on Instagram a couple of times a week? My personal account is hilarious.
But for many small- to medium-sized businesses, social media marketing might be an inefficient use of time and company resources.
Should you outsource social media marketing?
Without a dedicated social media guru, many companies delegate social media to one team member (or intern) who posts when they have the time. When social media moves to the bottom—and falls off of—the daily to-do list, your depopulated accounts might look vacant… and a little depressing.
Good social media practices are a sustained, two-way conversation: if you post only when you have a specific sale or campaign to promote, you might turn away followers (and potential customers) because you only reach out when you’re asking them to make a purchase, instead of a cultivating a long-term relationship.
Strong results require planning and measuring, and a few sporadic posts a month won’t have a meaningful impact on your bottom line. If you’ve created social media accounts but have been frustrated with the lack of return, it might be worthwhile to partner with an agency that can take on that task full-time. Here are a couple of reasons to consider outsourcing your social media marketing.
1. Save time and resources
Effective social media marketing is time consuming. According to Forbes, managing just one platform could take 32 hours a month. Social Media Examiner conducted a survey that found that 64 percent of marketing teams spent at least six hours a week on social media.
Why does it take so long to send a couple of Tweets? It’s important to maintain a regular, consistent presence on channels to your target audience. According to Inc., social media engagement is highest outside of regular business hours—at nights and on weekends. By just posting from 9-5, you could be missing out on opportunities to connect more meaningfully with a wider audience.
Social media marketing also requires more than just posting content—it requires actively engaging with and growing your followers. Sprout Social interviewed over a thousand social media users and found that, despite the widespread use of social media for customer service, 89% of messages to brands went unanswered. Timeliness is a significant factor—while the average customer was only willing to wait four hours for a response, the average company took 10 to get back to them.
Small to medium-size businesses might find it difficult to allocate the bandwidth needed for the results you want. A dedicated social media agency would extend your reach beyond business hours and create a comprehensive, consistent brand presence.
2. Gain efficiency
Outside agencies have access to a greater arsenal of social media tools. With software like Sprout Social or Hootsuite, agencies can schedule Tweets in advance and leverage comprehensive analytics platforms. Often, they have databases of stock photography, icons or compelling visuals that can add dynamism and excitement to your content. Professional agencies offer quick turnaround and open lines of communication to ensure your approach stays up to date.
By outsourcing the basic daily grind of social media—responding to mentions, curating content to repost, researching and following other influencers—you can free your team up to focus more on higher-level strategy and planning. With their existing processes and software in place, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Leverage their expertise and make your dollar go further.
3. Leverage expertise
You know your business better than anyone, but experienced social media firms know how to translate that knowledge into social media success. That outside perspective can help you break down industry jargon into accessible, engagement-friendly copy in your brand voice.
Because of their dedicated experience and focus, agencies bring up-to-date knowledge on trends as well as the rules that govern each platform. Agencies have experience in piloting new, creative campaigns and ideas—and, perhaps more meaningfully, using the insights gained from testing to deliver the most impactful messaging. Social media ROI is dependent on a goal-oriented and data-driven strategy; agencies are familiar with developing plans that will deliver on your big-picture business goals.
According to depositphoto, 87% of marketers use video in their content, and for good reason. Twitter found that tweets with video attracted 10X more engagements than Tweets without video. Instead of relying on one person’s skill set in house, agencies give you a broad range of creative capabilities. Social media agencies leverage copywriters, graphic designers, strategists and video editors to develop compelling multimedia for both organic posts and sponsored ads.
How much does it cost?
According to Glassdoor, the average social media manager makes $60,000 a year. There are benefits to having an in-house social media expert—their educational background and professional experience, combined with increased access to your team, can help you create original content that accurately embodies your brand.
Agencies, however, are more flexible if your needs or workload varies from month to month; you don’t have to commit to an expensive long-term plan if that doesn’t work with your company’s goals. Packages can run from $1,000 to $20,000 per month, depending on the scope and extent of your business needs, according to the Content Factory. Agencies also offer a team of experts, versus one in-house employee or a freelancer, which gives you multidisciplinary creative expertise and greater bandwidth to respond quickly to social media conversations.
What can a social media agency do?
Social media agencies can help develop end-to-end, results-driven strategies for your company’s social media presence.
• Keyword and SEO research
• Editorial calendar and posting schedule development
• Branding for new or existing platforms
• Social media monitoring
• Original and curated content
• Customer service
• Multimedia creation: images, videos, infographics
• A/B testing and analytical insight