Over the years I have worked with large companies helping them fix or implement their internal social media team and I have seen how much they have relied on large marketing or PR agencies to do most of their social media marketing. Obviously, I believe that agencies have a role in companies. I mean, that is a role my consulting practice takes on, but there is a point where you can rely on agencies too much.
Agencies are great to help create and run larger initiatives that a company just doesn’t have the day-to-day manpower to do. They are helpful in helping create editorial calendars, evaluating vendors for certain technology considerations, and helping you craft your strategy.
However, agencies can be extremely detrimental to your business if you rely on them too heavily. Things agencies shouldn’t be doing for you include:
Running your day-to-day social media accounts– I know it takes a lot of bandwidth to run social media accounts for a company. Agencies can really help in crafting an editorial calendar and help creating content to deploy to your social media channels, but having them post and respond to clients isn’t something they should be doing. Nobody knows your business better than you do and the customer service questions and answers are best coming from the company, not an agency that has a small grasp on the correct answers.
Maintaining relationships with bloggers– There really isn’t any issue with an agency doing the research on which bloggers to pitch and they can do the pitching if you are considering this a one off initiative. However, if you want to build an ongoing relationship with a blogger that grows over time you need to handle it from your company and from a company email address. Additionally, any of the blogger research needs to be handed over from the agency to you. Too many times agencies hold all the cards to these relationships and if you change agencies you lose out on all of these relationships.
Maintaining all your end relationships with partners– While having agencies run your ad spends is a great idea, having them run all of the ad spends through their accounts can have a detrimental impact to you relationships with companies like Facebook. By having a direct relationship with Facebook, and their reps seeing what you are spending and how you are using the platform, it can get you into various beta programs.
Executing to their own agenda– The biggest issue around agencies is when they begin to try and establish projects that is only adding to their bottom line and are not part of your marketing plan or agenda. While they may come up with some outstanding ideas, if they don’t fit within your strategy and accomplish goals you are trying to work towards it can lead to an expensive project that doesn’t help your long range view.
When it is all said and done agencies are a valuable resource in executing beyond your areas of expertise, but you need to make sure that they are executing on the right things and not hurting your social media efforts in the long run.