Social Media Agency Staffing Solutions
Wish there was a way to expand your small business without having to hire more employees, pay escalating health insurance premiums and detract from your core business offerings? There is – social media consulting firms routinely offer a wide variety of solutions designed to augment your own marketing department for those special projects or add an entirely new team without the high cost or long term commitment. But not all social media consulting firms are created equal. In fact, some are better suited for specific types of situations while others are able to tackle a wide variety of needs. The difference is critical to the success of both the small business as well as the social media consulting firm; failure to provide needed services, expand upon existing infrastructure and incorporate growth are three of the most common complaints between both parties.
Today we are going to take a closer look into social media staffing solutions from both sides of the coin; the social media marketing firm and the small business side. The challenges facing social media consultants is of equal importance to their clients who need to understand how to evaluate, select and do business with a provider both today and into the future.
The Status of Social Media Marketing Firms
To begin, let’s take a look at the actual status of social media marketing firms. There is a wide range of firms from which to select; from sole proprietorships to mega agencies. Which is the best fit? It all depends upon the size, future growth rate and internal skill base of the small business. One thing is important to keep in mind; size does matter. A quick review of most firms claiming to provide social media consulting demonstrates a significantly skewed service provision with over 70% of firms having fewer than 5 staff members. Specifically…
- 35% are sole proprietors
- 36% have between 2 and 5 staff members
- 11% have between 5 and 10 staff members
- 07% report 11 to 20 staff members
- Remaining report more than 20 staff members
So, what does this really mean for the small business? Is a social media marketing guru less viable if operating as a sole proprietor? No, but don’t expect a one man operation to be able to do everything on their very own. Instead, view this as an extension of your own marketing department or specialized expertise to assist with creating unique campaigns. On the other hand, does your business really need to hire a company with 100 staff members? Probably not. Unless you are running a Fortune 500 firm, chances are the sheer diversity and lack of single contact source could actually make this less effective in the long run. The key is to find the right size firm capable of providing the solutions needed for today and tomorrow.
Speaking of services, this is where the rubber really meets the road when it comes to social media marketing firms. Remember, it’s possible to hire a social media consultant that works exclusively on one aspect or a firm that provides a single source of contact for nearly all your marketing needs. Most social media firms fall somewhere in between the two with the following representing the most prevalent services:
- Social Media Marketing: 83%
- Email, Web Design and Branded Marketing: 81%
- SEO: 75%
- Content Creation such as books or blogging: 67%
- Full-Service Marketing Outsourcing: 60%
- Direct Mail: 47%
- Public Relations: 45%
- Video Production: 44%
- Digital Media Purchasing: 36%
- App Development: 29%
- Marketing Automation: 27%
- Affiliate Marketing: 17%
If you are reading this and noticing a distinctly disturbing trend; well, you aren’t alone! Yes, even among social media consulting firms, some of the hottest segments are barely represented; automation at only 27% and even app development at only 29%. Mobile marketing is so rare is wasn’t even registered. Okay, perhaps we are a bit biased but given the importance of these trends, it only seems natural that small business owners would want the best possible options out there and in fact, a quick glimpse at what these same social media marketing firms hope to offer in the near future seems to support this premise.
What the Future Holds
A quick glance at what other social media firms are adding will quickly demonstrate unmet demand…
- Blogging and content: 22%
- Video production: 15%
- App development: 25%
- Automation: 13%
- Affiliate Marketing: 14% (nearly double the current level!)
While this sounds impressive, consider this…nearly 70% of social media marketing firms are comprised of fewer than 5 staff members which means they will either be constrained in their ability to grow or be forced to add new members and/or outsource their own offerings. Clearly, partnerships with reseller networks is a wave of the future so it will become more important than ever to know who is actually providing the work. Deal with reputable vendors that have a demonstrated capacity to automate, create desired apps and retain a working project management system in place.