Defining a Social Media Management Agency
Social Media Management. It’s a term tossed around all the time but what does it truly entail? As a leading social media management and marketing firm, we encounter clients that have dealt with less than professional agencies only to end up disillusion or even downright disgusted. Sadly, part of the problem resides in the lack of clearly defined set of standards and criteria for the field. In fact, nearly anyone can claim to be a social media expert but without a proven track record of success, talk is anything but cheap. It can be a downright expensive lesson learned through trial and error or by simply taking the time to continue reading this article!
There are many methods used to define a social media management agency; most include some mention about relationships, goals and predefined actions but is that a sufficient understanding? If small business owners across the nation are any indication…probably not. The field of social media management is still in its infancy. It literally didn’t even exist a decade ago and often that translates into a field with a great deal of variability combined with lack of oversight leaving small business owners floundering to find the right skill set for their social media management and marketing needs.
Fortunately, there are a few standards beginning to emerge; standards which every small business concern must consider before outsourcing their social media needs. These include:
1. A structured process for interaction and communication. When evaluating a prospective social media agency, take time to review their client communication process. Will you have a single point of contact or will you be forced to work with someone new for each and every initiative? The provision of a dedicated account manager combined with a structured process for interaction and client communication goes a long way toward making sure the entire experience is stress-free yet productive.
2. A dynamic social system of cooperative interaction with the express purpose of satisfying the client’s designated social media management needs. When working with a social media management agency, the focus should always be on the client’s needs but that alone isn’t sufficient. Even the best outlined social media marketing efforts are likely to fail if the company isn’t able to demonstrate a dynamic social system of cooperation. A company must be dynamic in order to deal with the ever-expanding rate of volatility and rapid change as well as “on the go” strategic planning. Cooperation is also essential in order to assure the client receives all the help desired without overt interruption of the core business cycle.
3. A system of inputs, process, output and feedback. We have already mentioned the need for a social media management agency to remain dynamic as well as systematic so taking it a step further, it is important for a prospective small business entrepreneur to evaluate the entire cycle including input or evaluation, process, output and feedback. The social media agency becomes an extension of the small business by providing important analysis, measurement, identification of trends or unique data and feedback when appropriate. This can take many different shapes including the use of simple alert systems to direct communication…just be sure to understand the availability of these important features up front.
4. A group of skilled, professionals. As you are aware, a social management system is comprised of people. The very heart of the company comes down to the skills, experience and expertise of those responsible for performing the diverse range of needed tasks to as well as the coordination and communication of identified organizational goals. However friendly the team of social media professionals are…the correlated skills and expertise must compliment the needs of the business to provide the best “fit” and value.
Skills can be quite varied from agency to agency but in general, expect to find a combination of the following offerings:
Production Capacity – The technical skills of a social media management firm may include everything from video production to data analytics plus apps and everything in between. Production can be costly to keep in house and very difficult to manage if a key person leaves the company. By outsourcing to a social media management firm, the business always has the latest production ‘know-how’ for a fraction of the cost required to hire an in-house expert without any worry over consistency in the future.
Marketing, Distribution and Exhibition Capacity – If production is closely tied to technical know-how then marketing, distribution and exhibition is most associated with time. Of course, time is the single most commonly cited reason for seeking outside help with social media marketing…even for those that know how to do it all on their own, finding the time while running a full-time business is all but impossible. Best of all, thanks to tax breaks, entrepreneurs often find outsourcing to be a win-win situation.
Coordination & Collaboration Capacity – Last but not least, a reputable social media agency will assist with the coordination and collaboration of social media campaigns both within a company and with outside partners. Thanks to higher volume business deals, social media management firms are often able to provide invaluable access to marketing solutions, tools and applications which may otherwise elude the best efforts of a small business owners going solo. The ability to expand internal staffing needs without having to take on long-term obligations is yet another clear benefit derived from the business owners perspective. Clearly, the coordination and collaboration capacity of a professional social media management firm is best when customized to the exact needs of the client.