Maintaining an effective social media presence for your b2b brand is no easy feat, even if you limit your activity to one or two channels. These days, social media algorithms demand a dedicated content strategy for each channel that can be pivoted quickly to fast-changing rules (remember when Insta suddenly switched to reels?!?). Add content creation and scheduling, performance analysis and optimisation to this and you got a considerable job on your hands. And it can be a lot to ask of a small marketing team.
An outsourced social media manager can be a great solution for many b2b organisations. But how do you know if it’s the right move for you?
Hiring an in-house social media manager
One of the biggest benefits of hiring an in-house social media manager is that they’ll always be at your disposal, so you can get on-the-ground progress updates or ask questions as you please.
Plus, an in-house specialist will likely have a finger on the business culture pulse. This can make it easier to create posts featuring new hires, share insights from internal experts and generate content from social events. And beyond that, internal staff will also already know the stakeholders that need to be regularly engaged with and updated.
Another advantage of in-house social media management is that you are generally more nimble to respond to an issue or change. If something needing immediate attention comes up, then in-house personnel can react quickly. Whereas external social media teams typically have stipulated rules regarding response times.
Choosing to take social in-house usually requires more work from managers and business owners as more time will be dedicated to supervising, administration, and employer branding. Internal experience also may be limited, and as a result, they might not have the ability to capture the broader perspective of the market.
What’s more, if you choose to hire one sole specialist, you’ll likely have to pick and choose which limited skills you’ll need most, unlike an agency with a whole team trained in expert end-to-end social media management.
Also, what often happens is that internal specialists work on multiple projects and tasks at once - from designing posts to monitoring LinkedIn ads, even to writing a blog article for their colleague who’s on leave. Because they might be distributing their time and brain power, this can result in poorer quality output leading to poorer social performance.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly - the cost! Paying the salary for a full-time social media manager has a heftier cost than outsourcing the work to an agency. Companies can use up a lot of time and money on social management without seeing results. Hiring an in-house social media manager to help with these efforts is costly and doesn’t necessarily ensure a strong social performance. So if your budget is limited yet market competition is rife (story of a marketer’s life), then an in-house social media manager might not be your best option.
Choosing to outsource a social media manager
As the list of social media platforms and their optimal uses are ever-evolving, it’s a pretty involved job where one mere channel can require several hours of work in a week. By partnering with an experienced agency to outsource your social media manager, rather than trying to scrape together the hours, you can focus your time towards the more critical, strategic tasks and let the pros you called on handle the social stuff for you.
This has many perks because not only do outsourced agencies tend to be really results-driven (because they want to prove their value to your organisation) but they also have in-depth skills and expertise to manage social media, from content generation all the way through to reporting capabilities.
Plus you can sidestep costs like payroll, employee admin and the overhead costs of hiring and onboarding a social media steward. Rather, with an agency you’ll have access to a whole team of expertly skilled people geared up to manage your social media for a smaller total cost.
Another favourable factor of choosing to outsource a social media manager is their valuable ability to provide you with near real-time analysis of your social performance in a super user-friendly way, making results clear to all stakeholders.
This is because they’re equipped to translate complex, analytical data into digestible information that demonstrates your social ROI. That means you can easily gauge how your investment is performing. For example, they can show you key metrics such as post reach and interactions, audience growth, campaign success, content-specific statistics and plenty more.
It would be great if outsourcing social media was as simple as clicking a button, but in the spirit of transparency, there’s a little more to it. Hiring the wrong agency can cause frustration, stress and headaches (spoiler: it really doesn’t have to be this way).
But while there’s a sea of agencies out there all claiming to be the superior school of fish, there’s actually a gulf between good ones and great ones. Choosing a low-cost agency might seem appealing at first, but in time, you probably won’t see positive results and your investment will be wasted.
Then, there’s always that daunting idea of having an outsider speak on behalf of your company. This is a particular point of contention when having a clear and authentic brand voice is the bread and butter of successful businesses. Brand communication is an art form, and while it might seem like a piece of cake to internal employees, it might be less obvious to agencies juggling multiple clients. So they’ll need guidance to make your social presence the crème de la crème!
While workshopping tone of voice and key brand messaging with an outsourced agency might take up some time in the initial phase, this is offset by the time you and your team save by keeping social media management in the trusted hands of the agency in the long run.
What to consider when outsourcing a social media manager
So maybe you decide that partnering with an agency to manage and level up your social media is your best and quickest route to scaling content and optimising performance. There are devoted social media experts out there to help you draw in your audience, but now it’s a matter of tracking them down. To help you, we’ve outlined some key considerations before you go any further.
Brand voice, messaging and values
It’s important you can communicate your uniqueness in the market, can simply convey your brand voice and clearly outline your business values. This goes a long way in your agency being able to demonstrate not only your point of difference, but also what matters to your organisation, to your customers and how your product specifically reflects this. For this, you should provide your agency with a style guide that stipulates how you talk to your target audience, brand assets and creatives, as well as guidance for goals and KPIs.
Social media marketing goals
Picture this: you're on a wild web search to outsource social media management. You ask, what's our end-game? Is it about gaining brand awareness, becoming a customer service champion, or scoring leads and sales like a legend?
No wrong answers, my friend! But know this: your choice will shape both your budget and the agency's strategy. So, it’s important you think critically about the impact you want your social media presence to have on your organisation.
Choosing the right agency for the right price
As mentioned, you can’t just go off price alone. You need to go off proven expertise above anything else. Remember these trusty tips in your quest to find the perfect agency:
- Sneak a peek at their portfolio, testimonials, and track record. It's like flipping through their scrapbook of past victories.
- Gauge their capabilities and specific speciality areas. For example, are they incredible video content creators, or is their copy game out-of-this-world?
- Establish a realistic budget, and don’t be fooled by the lowest bidders. Remember, cheap capes don't always come with the power to save the day!
- As businesses are spoiled for choice, embrace your pickiness. Select the agency that matches your vision, aligns with your values and are the individuals that you actually want to work with. This can make all the difference.
Outsourcing a social media manager is a strategic dance. Get it right and you have a team of experts armed with unrivalled expertise, skill sets, and a cost structure that won't break the bank. Don't let scarce resources stand in the way of your social media conquest. Embrace the true value of outsourcing and realise the full potential of your digital presence with effective and holistic content marketing from the right agency.
Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.