Why would you need a good social media agency, you ask?
Because customer conversations do not happen on your laptop’s C drive, they happen in the Social space!
Say what? Yeah, okay, I kind of jumped the gun there. I should explain further.
So let’s start at the beginning.
As we meet clients and talk to them about Social Media initiatives and strategies, we often realize that what we are advising the client on something that a client can easily do themselves. Well, maybe not all of it, but quite a few of the simpler portions.
So then, why does the company need us? Why can’t they do it themselves?
Here are the answers to some of those questions:
1. Unless it is a day job, it does not get done well
There are times when there is a 'mood' to jump into Social Media. It usually starts somewhere at the top levels of management, and to appease this mood, the plunge is taken. A Facebook page is started or a Twitter account initiated, or some blogging takes off. It may even go on for a few months. And then, one of many things could happen:
a. The ‘champion’ of the project leaves the job, or
b. A joint venture initiative comes up, which occupies the mindshare, or
c. The CFO asks some awkward questions on resource utilization, etc.
And the effort dies down. Slowly but surely, it fizzles out. Nobody even tries to clean up the mess. The ‘fans’ on the Facebook pages are left high and dry. Nobody responds to the tweets. The blog looks like an abandoned ghost town.
How does this, if at all, impact the brand? I'm sure you can imagine the kind of impact there will be if fans are left hanging!!
With an agency being involved in Social Media for the brand, these loopholes will be taken care of.
2. You know all the stuff, but you do not how to present it
The business belongs to the client. She knows her business better than anyone else, and we, as Social Media consultants cannot even come close. However, even with the client’s knowledge of her business, and her ability to put content together about the business, there may be a shortfall in the area of presentation.
A very long blog post may be written, that no one reads through. Posts may sound too technical and boring. There may be a struggle to communicate in 140 characters for Twitter. And of course, fundamental language skills may not be good.
Here again, the Social Media Agency will fix all of these issues and create content of suitable size, suitable style and present it well.
3. There are only 24 hours in a day
Often we find when it comes to good intentions, clients score 110% - they want to go after Social Media and want to crack the puzzle, they want to blog, they want to tweet, they want to do everything that comes between. And they want to do it all themselves.
With that kind of earnestness, the task begins and is taken up. The ‘honeymoon’ period passes like a breeze. There are frequent blog posts, there are regular updates on Facebook, regular tweets on Twitter, etc. And then... a big tender / RFP comes up. Getting that business could mean wonders for the client. Or perhaps there are some regulatory / compliance issues that come up and eat into the time of the client. Usually, the first casualty is the Social Media plan, because it is not delivering any kind of short term results!
A Social Media agency guards against gaps of this kind.
4. The best things that you do are also often, your best-kept secrets
Most companies have, over time, worked on some amazing projects - some outstanding work for their clients. In doing so, they have satisfied their clients no end, perhaps even earned some bonuses for themselves. They have probably even made a case study document of this, with an intention of showing it to another client, if a similar case comes up. There are also times when companies have come up with a brilliant presentation about themselves, that they've shared with their bankers or potential investors or while pitching for some new accounts.
Such case studies or presentations are then left hanging around somewhere, in the C drives of computers. And in that space, there's no chance to impress anyone else. A Social Media Agency prompts the client to come out with such 'secrets' that are showcased strategically, via Social Media, leveraging it onto a much larger space to reach and impress a wider audience!
5. The extent of exposure is restricted
Within the company, all the learning is restricted to one brand. However, an agency works with several brands targeting various types of audiences, including B2B and B2C businesses, creating a wider canvas. Their level of learning and understanding is far deeper, and more expansive; so I'm sure you will understand how beneficial it is to your brand when all this experience and learning is applied to your brand.
6. Social media is much more than a Facebook update
For a dynamic social presence, we need to create videos, images, infographics, etc, all of which require different creative skills. It's not possible for one person to possess all the skills, and it's best to leave this kind of work to an agency which possesses multiple skills.
7. It doesn't work in isolation
Social Media is part of an integrated marketing plan. It may involve media buy ins, integration with a website, integration with search engine optimisation, offline marketing activities, etc. So for this reason too, an agency can ensure that all these activities run in alignment with each other.
Social media is a soft skill, due to its elements of storytelling. Here's an apt anecdote from the Dachis Group on the challenges of community managers attempting to run real-time marketing:
- Community managers aren't stand up comedians.
- Community managers aren't copywriters.
- Community managers aren't creative directors.
- Community managers aren't regulatory experts.
- Community managers lack seniority (most are relatively junior marketers).
- Community managers go to sleep sometimes.
Can a one-man army within a brand be all of the above? Perhaps a team of people, with different skills, at the agency, could have a better chance to accomplish these.