In this article, Thinktank Social Founder and Director of Social Media, Sam Mutimer, provides her reasons why organisations should consider selecting an agency over an in-house social media employee/team…
Believe it or not, but at Thinktank Social, we love answering this question!
Why? Because we believe passionately in the value we provide businesses as a Social Media Marketing Agency.
Allow me to begin this article by stating that, whilst the owner of a Social Media Agency and having a vested interest in new business acquisition (don’t all owners?!), I am not naïve to the reality that hiring an external agency will suit all businesses.
Nike is an example of an organisation that, very publicly, decided to go the in-house route, stating that it was to gain a better understanding of how their customers interact with the brand.
My question to this approach; is cutting out agencies and doing it all yourself really the best way to go? Not in my opinion, and I’m certainly not alone in this assertion.
For an organisation to take more in-house control over their social media requires three primary factors: capacity, budget and buy-in – do you have the time and resources to dedicate to it, the money to commit to it and management who truly believe in it long term?
A dedicated in-house team certainly has the advantages of brand expertise, rapid response and strategic hindsight, but there are drawbacks to going it alone as well, drawbacks such as bureaucracy, and the exclusion of the manpower and innovations that a decent agency will offer a client.
This leads me to my three key reasons for selecting an agency over an in-house social media employee/team…
COST of hiring an employee/s
As a business owner myself, I know that the cost of an employee doesn’t end at an annual salary figure. On top of a salary, there are other considerations and expenses such as superannuation, payroll tax, training costs, desk space, equipment costs, leave, etc.
Using a hypothetical scenario, Company X decides to hire an in-house employee to manage the social media presence for the organisation at a salary rate of $70,000 (plus additionals as mentioned above).
At a cost of $70,000 (plus benefits) to Company X, the organisation now has ONE person accountable for social media research, planning, strategy + execution.
At Thinktank Social, we would be stretching that budget of ONLY $70,000 (NO benefits or additionals) across not only social media research, planning, strategy + execution but services such as design, video production, public relations, social community management, short-term and long-term campaigns + promotions, social aggregation, analytics + reporting, and more.
This leads me onto my next point…
Two heads are better than one and three heads are better than two…
A successful social media marketing campaign includes research, design, PR, strategy, and everything else I mentioned earlier. So, unless the single employee that Company X has hired holds a Doctorate in Social Media and by night dons a cape as a superhero, we can’t really be too certain that they will have all of the skill sets required to handle all aspects of the campaign.
It must be noted that organisations are becoming quite strategic with hires in social media and, in most cases, will acquire an employee with a vast array of skills.
That said, we are still talking about ONE person…
Enlisting an agency, on the other hand, is like hiring a team of 10+ people for the price of one. Most agencies – like Thinktank Social – are made up of executives, designers + illustrators, strategists, copywriters, bloggers, social enthusiasts, PR representatives, web developers, even entrepreneurs; all of whom live their own lives and have their own experiences that they bring to the table.
Imagine a team of 10+ individuals from different roles and different backgrounds all coming together for a brainstorm and/or strategy session on your business?
Lastly, what happens when Company X’s new employee goes on leave?
Moving on to my last point…
EXPERTISE & tactics
Did you know that there are social media tools that can act as an aggregator for both your own social media content as well as elective content, all pulled through one feed to showcase to your clients and the world?
No? That’s OK because we do.
Did you also know that a new social tool was launched by the time you began reading this article? The social world is always evolving.
Agencies, like Thinktank Social, make it their absolute priority to stay-up-to-date with and learn all about the new tools and tactics emerging in our social world; either from each other inside the agency or from outside sources.
In other words, an agency will challenge themselves to evolve and modify social campaigns as new (& better) alternative tools and tactics appear on the scene.
So there you have it, my reasons why an organisation should consider using a social media marketing agency over hiring internally.
Keep in mind that I’ve also known many companies, some of our own clients in fact, who use BOTH an internal resource AND an agency.
The organisation will have a marketing representative act as a conduit for the marketing department and utilise agency services to deliver on the strategy.
I look forward to discussing next steps into the social world with you very soon.