Your business shouldnt engage an agency to manage your social media.
It should happen organically.
Hear me out. I said ideally….
In an ideal world if everyone understood social media then idealistic communities would evolve organically.
Relationships, engagement, and interaction would just happen.
Think about it for a moment.
The holy grail of social media is therefore to make it seem like it’s happening organically. And to make it seem like its happening organically it should happen organically.
Most small to medium businesses engage an agency to manage their social media.
How can an external party authentically represent your brand online and live your values, vision, mission, and truly engage with your audience.
I would argue that your employees and appointed champions are much better positioned to engage with your audience online via the relevant social channels.
In my experience though most employees don’t truly understand how to leverage the available social channels nor do they have the time in between meetings, management, sales calls, and doing their daily jobs.
So how do you overcome this?
If you truly affect cultural change and demonstrate the value and ROI to them then I guarantee you they will find the time and make it a part of their daily routine.
Most businesses are a little unsure of what to do with the available social channels or if it’s worthwhile for them.
Some are having a really hard time justifying the investment in a dedicated resource or on an ongoing agency relationship.
Typically this is because they cant see the ROI, don’t have a clear strategy in place, don’t have transparency and don’t have insight into the performance of channels used.
So what role should an agency play in helping your business use social media to drive sales, communicate with customers, and to culitvate a community?
•They should collaborate with you before any work is done to map out a high level strategy that’s aligned with your business objectives along with establishing the benchmarks for success.
•They should understand your business. This isn’t going to happen after a few meetings..
•Ideally they should have worked in your industry or have developed a relationship with you based on an intimate understanding of your industry.
•They should work with you to help you understand the channels available and what your competitors are doing online both here and in the US and UK.
•They should help you affect cultural change so your employees are empowered to represent your brand online. Accept that sometimes things won’t always go to plan. You can minimise the chance of encountering issues by having clear guidelines in place and regularly meeting with your staff to discuss how their using the available social channels, what’s working and what’s not.
•They should be visionary and understand what’s coming up in the digital world. The digital world changes every minute so in other words if your agency or consultant is just talking about Twitter and Facebook when it comes to your social strategy then you probably should sack them now.
After this they should hand over the reins to the business owners, employees and appointed champions!
Remember, having a Facebook page or tweeting every now and then isn’t a social strategy. It’s dabbling and not doing your business any good. This approach is somewhat schizophrenic and means you lack consistency, you’re failing to truly engage, missing the opportunity to drive conversions and probably not going to get the ROI you need in order justify an increased investment in what is going to be a primary channel for every business in the future.