Bringing social media in-house – let me talk you out of it
Bringing social media in-house – let me talk you out of it

It seems to be an ongoing topic of conversation within organizations, trade publications and conferences – to outsource social media management or bring it in-house. There are pros and cons to both, so make sure you’re clear on what’s what before you decide what’s best for you.

So, you’re knee-de.....

It seems to be an ongoing topic of conversation within organizations, trade publications and conferences – to outsource social media management or bring it in-house. There are pros and cons to both, so make sure you’re clear on what’s what before you decide what’s best for you.
So, you’re knee-deep in 2014 planning, reviewing the key pillars of your strategy and you get to social media. A slew of thoughts and new ways to piece together the puzzle likely fill your head – below are a few of those thoughts and things to consider before deciding to move your social media management in-house.
“We’re paying the agency way too much for social media every month.”
Investing in talent internally should always include a buffer beyond salary –not just for the insurance fees and taxes, but think about onboarding, ongoing training, development and performance reviews. Bearing the burden of additional G&A expenses can be overwhelming for some organizations. Allocating the dollars and cents to another body can often times just not make sense.
It’s important to think about “the agency” in terms of the full value they’re offering your business. Typically, when hiring an agency, you’re hiring a team of people with varied levels of experience, frames of reference and even salaries – and whether the C-level executive is working on your business or the entry-level creative guy, you’re paying the same amount.
Example Scenario:
Monthly Fee: $4,000
Average Hours Reported / Month: 260 Hours
Agency Team Members: Strategic Planner, Account Manager, Social Media Manager, Creative Director, and Application Developer
This group of talent could cost upward of $400,000 annually in-house and you could get them all for the bargain price of $48,000 on retainer. Your in-house team of one suddenly became a team of at least five for the same price. Isn’t the saying “two heads are better than one?” What about twice that many or more?
“We could pay an entry-level candidate to do it instead.”
Inc. magazine shared 11 Reasons a 23-Year Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media  – this alone should deter you. But just in case you aren’t convinced, I’ve added one more thing to think about.
While you’re certainly helping the economy by employing another college graduate, it won’t be their full-time job. At some point, you or someone else within the organization will question if social media management really takes 40+ hours every week and before you know it, they’ll be handed a stack of work completely unrelated. An agency devotes a team to your business without distraction. It’s the agency’s job to get smarter, understand trends, rules and regulations, go to conferences and more. If your “full-time” employee gets busy working on cover sheets for her TPS reports, she won’t have enough time to complete any of those critical responsibilities associated with managing such a rapidly changing landscape.
“We don’t need a team of people to come up with what we should post and do it for us - we know our business better than anyone else.”
While it may seem relatively easy and certainly possible for a creative person to develop the right message, with the right visuals, and post at least twice a day for 365 days a year, sooner or later you’ll run into a wall. Consistently creating engaging content that’s new and relevant, keeping up with trends and competitor pages, writing on walls, responding to comments, and all the other extremely critical (and timely) components of managing a social media program, must be considered. With a handful of people working on your business, you’re more apt to identify topics and opportunities your internal team did not consider. Not to mention, agencies are hip – it’s their job to do, well, all of the above.
Basically, working with an agency is better for your fans. And that’s better for your business. And what’s better for your business is better for you.
Note: In all reality, even the companies that bring it “in-house” usually have an agency they’re working with to help in some form or fashion (i.e. content development, graphic design, app development, etc.). And no, I don’t work for an agency.

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Alexis Barnett Gillette, named one of 1851?s “ 2013 Young Ones to Watch “, is a relationship-driven franchise and marketing leader. Most recently, Director of Marketing for MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, a leader in the “better burger” fast-casual segment, Gillette’s strategic vision for system programs, implementation of processes and procedures, along with innovation in technology and digital media resulted in nearly 100% unit growth for 2012. Contact Gillette via Email at [email protected]

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