Reaping the benefits of social media is more than signing up for a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. It’s a serious time commitment that’s responsible for daily tasks like creating and scheduling shareable content, replying to social media comments, connecting with industry influencers, staying up-to-date on the latest industry news, and collaborating with other departments within your business.
For most small business owners, that’s a bit overwhelming. Either they don’t have the time or knowledge to develop and implement an entire social media strategy. That’s why they’ll either hire a social media agency or social media specialist.
To help make this decision easier, here’s what you should consider looking at when choosing an agency or specialist.
Social Media vs. In-House Social Media Specialist
Social Media Agency
- They’re experts. Social media agencies eat, sleep, and breathe all things social media. They’re composed of teams that have years of experience and are able stay-up-to-date on the latest news, trends, and technologies so that you’re always ahead of your competitors.
- They have more resources and tools. Social media agencies have the proper resources, latest technology, and connection to influencers to meet all of your social media marketing needs. This means that they’re more efficient and can complete tasks more timely than a single specialist.
- There’s a full team at your disposable. Unlike a specialist that is expected to be a Jack-of-all-trades, social media agencies have a full-time of experts ranging in areas like SEO, graphic design, and Facebook advertising. More importantly, having a full-time team means that everything doesn’t fall on the shoulders on one person. That’s necessary for situations like your social media falling in or moving on to a different company. You always know that there’s someone to pick-up the slack and you don’t have to be concerned with the costs of employee turnover.
- You have less control whenever you outsource a task to someone else. You have to realize you’re giving up a little bit of control. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have any input. It simply means that you’re not going to be involved with each and every decision that affects your business. An in-house social media specialist guarantees that you keep complete control of your social media marketing.
- You’re not always the highest priority. Social media agencies have multiple clients. This means that you may not be the most top priority – especially when one of their high-profile clients have an emergency. Even though social media agencies are professionals and aren’t going to neglect your business completely, there will be times when their focus is elsewhere.
- an active When there’s an in-house social specialist communication is fairly straightforward. You can pop into their office or at least have a direct line of communication with them. That’s not always the case with agencies. It may be more challenging to schedule a meeting or phone call. There may even be times when you don’t who exactly to speak to if you have a question or concern.
In-House Social Media Specialist
- You have more control. When you hire a social media expert they become an employee. That means that they answer directly to you, as well as gives you the chance to oversee what they’re doing.
- You’re the top priority. Unlike agencies that have multiple clients, an in-house specialist ensures that you’re always their top priority. In other words, you’ll always have their undivided attention and can rest assure that when a problem arises, they’ll immediately be on top of it.
- They’re a part of your team. As an employee, a social media specialist works side-by-side with the rest of your team. This ensures that there’s consistency across the board from marketing to sales to customer service. Furthermore, an in-house specialist knows the goals and culture of your business in-and-out so that they can more easily create content and respond to customers in your brand’s voice.
- More challenging to vet. Agencies have spent years building a reputation. That’s not always the case when a social media specialist walks in your door for an interview. Even if they’re qualified for the job, it may take more effort and resources, like contacting their previous clients and reviewing their portfolio, making sure that they possess the skills for which you’re looking.
- They have a limited skillset. As mentioned earlier, agencies have an entire team of experts in various fields. A social media expert typically only possess skills in one or two areas. This could be a problem when they lack certain skills your business needs to achieve its social media marketing goals.
- They’re more expensive. There are exceptions, but social media specialists are more expensive than agencies. For example, the annual salary for an in-house social media manager is around $50,000, while an effective social media company can cost you approximately between $15,000 to $18,000. That’s not even considering the costs of being in additional experts, such as a graphic designer, content creator, or SEO.
Should you hire an agency or a social media specialist?
The answer is totally up to you. It ultimately comes down to answering the following questions:
- What are your goals?
- Is it cheaper to hire an agency or employee?
- Who is more capable of delivering the results that you’re looking for?
- Who has more experience in your industry?
Additionally, there are alternatives to hiring either an agency or social media specialist. You could hire an intern, outsource tasks to a freelancer, or look in-house and see if any current team members can handle some basic social media responsibilities.
Besides hiring an agency or a specialist, you could also take advantage of social media automation that can save your business both time and money.
What are the most important considerations for you when choosing an agency or social media specialist?