In-house, Freelance or Social Media Agency? How Should You Manage Your Social Media?
“Conversion rates are 6X higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters”
“Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.”
It’s no longer a question of whether social media works. There’s an undeniable tide of examples of it working for businesses in every sector, industry and location. IT WORKS – the question is how YOU can make it work for YOUR company or organisation.
The problem with the social media requirement that businesses now have is that it didn’t exist 2 years ago. The problem is finding the resources and expertise to do it, and do it well.
Businesses have approached this in many different ways, with varying degrees of success. So, to help you decide what’s best for you, we thought we’d take a look at the most popular solutions.
Employ a ‘Social Media Manager’
Sometimes the best option is to simply employ someone to manage your company’s social media in-house. This often makes sense for larger companies as it gives them both agility and control. Having someone managing your social media requirements from an in-house position also means they can integrate far more deeply with other departments within your company. This can often result in a more aligned strategy.
So what are the downsides?
Well, first of all, you need to be realistic with the skill set you can expect depending on the salary you’re offering. If you are looking for someone with proven social media experience in a corporate environment with an ability to take control of all aspects of your social media strategy, you’ll be lucky to attract the appropriate talent for less than £30k/yr (depending where you’re based). You’ll also have all the added extras that come with employing additional team members (PAYE, pension, travel, desk, computer, holidays, maternity cover etc. etc.). If you choose to go down this route, you’d better make sure that the person you employ is worth their weight in gold!
Find a Freelancer
The web has made connecting with freelancers easier than ever. You’ll find lots of freelance ‘social media managers’ on sites like People Per Hour. From as little as £6 per hour, you can find people who will post to your social networks for you, write blog articles and manage your community.
For very small companies this CAN be a good option. However, success relies on finding the right freelancer. For every good one there are many who are unreliable, incompetent and lazy. For something as important as your company’s external communications (which social media is) you need to think very carefully about who you trust with it.
The other downside to using a single freelancer to help with your social media is the range of skills and tools they have at their disposal. With freelancers it’s extremely unlikely that they will have first class writing skills as well as creative and competent graphic design capabilities. In order to make a living, freelancers need to be specialists. This usually means the skill sets on offer are usually narrow. Tools are another consideration. With social media tools and graphic design suite’s alone coming in at hundreds of pounds each month, it’s unlikely that your average freelancer is going to be able to afford to be fully set up with everything they need – and if they are, you’ll be sure to pay for it!
Related Post: ‘Why Should You Have a Company Blog?’
Use A Social Media Agency
The major benefit of using a social media agency are very similar to using a freelancer. You’ve got none of the added costs or commitments that come with employing someone in-house. You also have very low commitment. If it’s not working, you just try something else.
Remember: to get someone good, you’ll need to be paying them at least £25k/yr. This means over £2k/month. For the same cost, you could very easily have a whole agency team working for you – without the cost, commitment or hassle of employing that extra team member.
However, the major difference between an agency and freelancer is the range of skills, level of service, reliability and accountability. With an agency, you’ll get the combined skills of an entire digital team. This means specialist writers, editors and graphic designers. They are also likely to have animation artists, SEO specialists and PPC managers. This range of skills can mean that you are getting true experts in each area that you need support. It also means that thy will have every tool you could possibly need to deliver these services to the highest possible standard.
Another major benefit is that agency is a ‘proper’ company. They won’t disappear, they will deliver what they promise (as they have a reputation to uphold) and they will offer a professional level of service that you probably wouldn’t get with a freelancer.
So, what are the downsides? Well, the first response is usually ‘COST’. Though it is true that using an agency is very likely to cost more than a freelancer. However, how much more is extremely variable. Social media agencies charge anything from £1,000 – £10,000 per month for digital marketing services. Big London social media agencies will be closer to the top end of that scale, but there are plenty of others who are much closer to the bottom end and offer great value (our prices start at £999/month). The key is finding an agency where the pricing matches the size and aspirations of your business.
One important consideration when weighing up the options is what using a social media agency will cost against employing an in-house team member. Remember: to get someone good, you’ll need to be paying them at least £25k/yr. This means over £2k/month. For the same cost, you could very easily have a whole agency team working for you – without the cost, commitment or hassle of employing that extra team member.
Related Article: ‘The Value of Social Media – A Business Owner’s Guide’
It’s a very difficult decision that an increasing number of business owners are facing. There is no straightforward, simple answer. We’ve seen each of these options work really well for businesses. It all depends on how much time you want to spend managing your team, what you want to achieve and how much you’re able to spend to make it all happen.
It’s also very important to remember that these options aren’t exclusive. Quite often, the best option is a combination of options. It all depends on your unique situation.
At Greener Media we specialise in providing outsourced social media management services. We offer an outsourced digital team for anything from £99 per month. If you’re currently working out how to best manage your social media and online marketing, why not give us a call? We’ll be more than happy to explain how it works and what your options are.