Surprise! Social Media Should Be Handled In-house!

originally posted on Concept Hub

The October 1-7  CMO Weekly Poll asked: “which of your groups is best equipped to help you with your social media efforts today?”

The overwhelming answer was in-house at 65.6%

15.6% Interactive Agency
9.4% PR Firm
9.4% Social Media Agency
0% Creative/Ad Agency

Business Week has a few quotes that explain the thought process behind the CMOS answers.

I have been telling clients this for years! When a client asks if they can outsource their social media efforts to me, I often ask them if they would be willing to send me to networking events on their behalf? to conferences? to sales meetings? Because in essence, if you are outsourcing your social media efforts, it is similar to outsourcing those key sales activities.

So, what kind of help can you get to be successful in social media?

Your PR agency can and should integrate social media channels into their efforts. This can include creating and managing a social media press room, identify and developing relationships with what I call “institutional bloggers” these are bloggers who act more like a journalist as opposed to “day in my life” bloggers, they can monitor for reputation management concerns and create a strategy for managing when things go wrong or leveraging the opportunities of when things go right.

Your Interactive agency can and should be optimizing your web presence for social media. This would include re-designing your email newsletters to include your social media presence, setting up and optimizing your social networking sites, making sure your social media efforts are working hand in hand with your SEO efforts and creating a website that is dynamic, interactive and buzz-worthy.

Your creative/Ad agency has the opportunity to position ads where your audience is most engaged with their peers about topics related to you. They can create ads that are buzzworthy and positioned to go viral.

What about your social media agency? What is their role?

From my perspective, a social media agency should work with all of the above departments to ensure that everyone is on the same page and there is a unified presence and message throughout the web. A social media agency should stay up-to-date on the latest tools and technologies that weave the web together. A social media agency should be able to research the web and identify where your audience is hanging out, what they are saying, and how they are feeling. A social media agency should be able to check out your competition and report what they are doing well and where their vulnerabilities are. A social media agency should be able to train your team on the hows and whys of social media, what each person’s role and responsibility should be when hanging out on the web, and how to best manage their time. At their best, a social media agency can also enable a company to leverage social software tools internally to make sure that the right information is getting to the right people at the right time.

By providing the intelligence, roadmap, and structure, social media agencies can empower their clients to be successful in this ever-changing noisy world. But ultimately, client interactions and engagement really cannot be outsourced.