Earlier this month, digital and social media marketers were buzzing about Nike’s decision to bring all social media marketing efforts in-house. Many in the industry applauded the move, and even more predicted other big brands will pursue similar strategies in the near future.
The news rehashed a social media debate that’s nearly as old as social media itself: Should brands/businesses outsource their social media marketing efforts to an agency? Or is it best to keep all social media efforts within the company?
Unfortunately, the answer just isn’t that black or white. Despite working at an agency, I’m adamant that some brands should absolutely keep all social efforts in house. I’m equally assertive that other brands need the social media expertise agencies can offer.
If you’re currently outsourcing your social media marketing to an agency but are contemplating following in Nike’s footsteps, check out these 3 questions to ask before taking social media in-house.
Nike took its social media in-house as part of a broader aggressive digital marketing effort to gain a deeper understanding of how its consumers interact with the brand on its social networks. The company had a reason for auditing its social marketing efforts; it didn’t fire its agencies because @nikebasketball lost a trivial number of followers or simply because its competition was looking into bringing social media in-house. (I’m talking to you, Reebok.)
Auditing your social media marketing for the sake of auditing is a waste of company time. If you’re satisfied with day-to-day engagement and the social analytics your agency is providing, you’re social media marketing is A-OK as is. However, if you constantly find yourself inundated with emails from your current social media manager asking you to answer questions about product specifics and your numbers are below projections for the fourth month in a row, an audit may be in order.
Bringing social media in-house isn’t as simple as removing administrator privileges and changing a few passwords. The process can actually be quite tedious (not to mention expensive after hiring those new social media experts), even messy when you take long-time business relationships and ironclad contracts into consideration.
If you’re dissatisfied with your social media marketing’s ROI, work with your agency to discover if there is a simpler solution to your difficulties than completely cutting ties. Maybe all you need your social media marketing needs is a strategy reexamination, or maybe you should finally take your agency’s advice and focus on creating more high quality content to spur engagement. Like in any relationship (business or professional), if there’s a problem, it’s best to talk it out before making any big decisions.
So you’re not satisfied with how your company’s social media marketing efforts are performing, and talking it out with your agency has resulted in a stalemate. What next? Ask yourself if your company can actually handle all that comes with managing social media engagement and strategy.
People outside of the marketing industry vastly underestimate how much effort it takes to succeed in social media. If they don’t think social media managers check auto-scheduler boxes on their blogs or schedule every last tweet and post, they think we post haphazardly without any rhyme or reason. In reality, social media managers at agencies like Kuno Creative are engaging daily, analyzing weekly and re-strategizing whenever necessary. Does your company have the resources and expertise it takes to do what agency social media managers do (or the budget to get them)? If the answer’s no, bringing social media in-house will likely do much more harm than good.
Are you considering bringing social media marketing in-house? Lay out your rationale in the comments section below!
Photo Credit: Robin Geschonneck
Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist and researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.