Well, that depends. I mean, I could easily sit here and try to sell you on hiring an agency because - well, duh - that’s what we are. But the truth of the matter is, there is more than one right way to handle social media for your brand or business. And to really be successful, you need to figure out what’s right for you. Hopefully this will help.
Do It Yourself
If you are a team of one (or maybe two or three) and you’re just getting started, you might want to consider working social media tasks into your workload. This is a cost-effective option for start-ups that don’t have enough of a client or workload to fill out a full-time sched yet, allowing you room to take on other areas of the business such as bookkeeping, sales and marketing efforts (like social media!). The other scenario where this is the best course of action is if you are a personal brand - i.e. your brand is you (like a consultant or a private practitioner). If your social media profiles are listed under your name and your face, you should really be the one on the other end responding to comments and starting conversations. The power of social media lies in it’s authenticity - so you’ve got to keep it that way. It’s one thing for a bigger brand with multiple employees to assign representatives to handle (people expect that just as they wouldn't expect the CEO to answer at a call centre), but if it’s all about you - be you. Be real.
Disclaimer: If you’re an oh so very busy consultant or personal brand and you just feel like you can’t stay on top of social on your own - you can employ the help of an agency or an assistant to take on certain aspects (i.e. curating content and scheduling). But be sure you stay tuned in on the regular so you don’t find yourself in an awkward moment at a party one day with someone who had had an online conversation with you, only to realize your online self was a total fake. Not cool.
Outsource To The Experts
If your business is somewhere between 2-100 people strong, you certainly need to ensure you are well-presented on social media. But perhaps you find yourself in a situation where the “social media” work isn’t enough to warrant a full-timer. And while your marketers are a skilled group of people, they are focused on marketing operations, sales enablement and MQLs. They aren’t in a position to be creating Instagram Stories, following trending hashtags or responding to comments and DMs during evenings and weekends.
So how do you get it handled?
Here is where an agency can be a great help! Historically, startups have often turned to agencies to fill very specific roles in the business during their high-growth stages. This approach allows businesses the ability to work with highly-skilled experts without having to worry about being able to offer competitive salaries and competitive benefit packages. (Think about it… want to find one individual with skills in strategy, copywriting, communication, customer service, graphic design, video production and analytics? That’s gonna cost you at least 100k/year. When you could get exactly the amount of time/hours you need from an array of experts for about a quarter of that.) It’s as simple as finding a reputable group of people you can trust (look for testimonials!) and then defining a scope of work, a communication process and KPIs. This allows you get to keep everyone internal doing what they're great at, and you can rest assured that your agencies efforts will simply plug into and amplify yours. Voila!
Now, if your company has a few thousand employees, chances are you have a pretty substantial marketing department and, depending on your industry and how crucial social media is to your marketing strategy, it could be worth hiring some in-house support to handle it. The key to knowing when you’ve hit this milestone is when you can afford (and have enough work for) two full-time FTE’s. No - the job doesn’t have to be 100% social all day, every day. But you’ll want to be able to alternate shifts between each of them so you can ensure your accounts are regularly monitored (we’re talking more than once a day). You never know when a new business opportunity or (gasp!) a customer complaint may come through and in cases like those, time is of the essence!
Also, social media requires creativity and it can be challenging for one person to consistently think outside the box and create great stuff, day after day for the same brand. Teams (even small ones or two) often push each other in brainstorming sessions and also allow you to hire people with varying and complementary skills that combined, make for a powerful social media team.
Now, here comes the obligatory plug. If, after reading this, you feel like you fall into Category B and want to outsource to the experts, please reach out. I’d love to chat more about your brand, your business and see if we might be able to help.
And if your brand falls into Category A or C, but you could use a point in the right direction, we also offer custom Social Media Strategies to set you up for success!