There’s no escaping the power, and importance, of social media in marketing today.

However, when working with agencies, many businesses don’t know if they should outsource their social media to an agency or keep it in house.
Even after deciding to give the work to an agency, the type of agency a business should choose is still ambiguous, as social media is truly a marketing avenue that blurs lines between digital, PR and creative.
The wide array of social media activities (content creation, engagement, community management, paid campaigns, and analytics) mean that businesses need to plan ahead be very thoughtful about who, what and how they are handing over the reigns to their social media accounts.
A recent article in Ad Age sparked a team discussion where we dove head-first into which type of agency (media, search, creative or PR) we think is best suited to handle social media marketing for a business.
We agreed strongly with the article that a shared approach, in which social media services are divvied up among multiple agencies, isn’t effective.
Picking one partner – why it works:
You don’t want one team creating campaign graphics and another team handling your paid campaign strategy; that leaves too much room for miscommunication and mis-matched digital assets.
Not to mention, social media moves fast. If you want to be responsive and effective, you have to be efficient. Nobody would argue that working with multiple people across different departments is an efficient way to work. It’s not.
In order to create a cohesive look for a brand, one agency should handle all creative assets. Whether it’s for a billboard, Facebook ad or Twitter cover photo, it’s much easier for a business to have one agency to go to when requesting a graphic.
Who to pick – making a move:
When deciding which type of agency you should work with to handle your social media marketing, you need to think about your goals for social media.
Are you on social media to generate sales? Are you trying to build a community? Is your primary goal to increase website traffic?
Your main goals are going to be what drives the decision for which agency to work with.
Media agencies, while skilled in paid promotions, aren’t usually creative. If you’re going to put energy and effort into a paid promotion, it should be paired with great graphics that help generate awareness and attention.
Search agencies, while stellar at generate clicks and website impressions, don’t usually understand marketing strategy. While it’s great to work with a company that can help your website be found easier, they probably won’t be able to deliver a multi-pronged strategy that breaks down how to best use each social media channel to move the needle on your business goals.
While social media can be looked at as the digital version of public relations, PR agencies aren’t typically well-versed in analytical tools and/or tactics. While PR agencies can definitely excel when it comes to community outreach and influencer campaigns, they usually aren’t analytical. In order to shine on social, you need to constantly analyze your insights from each social media platform to see what works and doesn’t.
We believe that Creative agencies are best-suited to handle social media marketing for a number of reasons:
  1. Imagery drives clicks: It’s known that images on social media get more attention, awareness and action than status or link updates. The better the imagery, the better the results. Creatives know how to make graphics that generate eyeballs and excitement.
  2. Paid promotion: Creative agencies are well-versed in the importance and power of paid promotional campaigns. Working with a creative agency likely means that you’ll have a one-stop-shop to go in order to get your graphics and strategy created for a specific paid promotion.
  3. Timely and trendy: Creatives typically stay up-to-date on what’s timely and trending on social media. This means that they’ll be able to jump on opportunities to create on-brand content in a timely manner.
In summary, there is no “perfect” type of agency to work with when outsourcing your social media marketing. Each type of agency has its strengths.
We think that more important than the type of agency is the people you’re working with.
Seeing that your social media profiles are your public-facing brand elements, you need to work with people that you trust to stay on-brand and take advantage of unique opportunities.
At the end of the day, your social media team are the people who interact with customers, handle complaints and carryout campaigns. If they aren’t fully immersed in your brand’s mission, vision and values, the service is going to fall short.
–This is a response to an article from Advertising Age from May 27,2016. The response was written by Telesco Creative Group Social Media Director, Julia Jornsay Silverberg.
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