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Social media: The in-house vs. outsourced debate (page 2 of 2)

agencyMouse99 and DigitalDiva
Social media: The in-house vs. outsourced debate (page 2 of 2) agencyMouse99 and DigitalDiva

Issue: Access
agencyMouse99:
A third party just doesn't know what's going on in your company or with your brand on an intimate level. They don't have access to inside info, gossip, stories; they won't have an inherent understanding of your office culture or the tone of your conversations. Insider info should, of course, not be leaked out into the social media space, but having that inside access will fire up new ideas and innovative ways to share information appropriately and connect with people. And more importantly, understanding the inner workings of your company means you also know what not to say.


DigitalDiva: Think about it -- do you really want the customers to have access to your office gossip, or to the atmosphere at your company? I didn't think so. As long as you give the agency folks some space and allow them to feel like a part of your team, they will reward you with great work. Think about how to best engage them. Let them participate in meetings. Ask them for opinions and listen to what they have to say. Be communicative and open-minded. Give them the access to your brand and it will transform your social media strategy into intelligent, authentic, and informed campaigns.


Issue: Accountability
agencyMouse99:
Sure, the agency is accountable. But how do you know that they're not leaving your trusted brand in the hands of an unpaid intern? You can have a wish-list of what you want, but at the end of the day, agencies have their own priorities and their own daily dramas, and the very important job of communicating with your customers might get relegated to someone who really has no business handling it.


DigitalDiva: Are you paying the agency or not? Sure, there are some sub-par agencies with unmotivated employees out there, but the solution is simpler than you think. If they are not delivering and fulfilling the objectives of the campaign that they themselves set up, fire them. Are they doing a good job with the account or not? As long as they are interacting with your audience on the social networking sites and as long your fanbase is growing you have nothing to worry about.


Conclusion
After long and draining argument about the virtues and flaws of agencies' social media expertise, we decided to agree to disagree. But we can see the other's point of view, as both arguments are valid.



Which side do you trust the most? Would you or would you not hire an agency to do your social media campaign? We'd love to hear your thoughts!


Editor's note: This article was submitted to iMedia under the condition of anonymity. We felt that the opportunity for an unobstructed view on debates that are likely going on behind closed doors throughout the industry would be valuable to our readers. Should you have questions for the authors, or our editorial staff, please feel free to leave a comment below the article, or

Comments

to leave comments.

Commenter: Stacy Jones

2010, June 21

As an advertising professional who handles social media for different clientele, I believe that the key to having a successful campaign is absolutely dependent upon the agency personnel being passionate about the client's brand. We do NOT need to know the intimate details and gossip around the client's office, but we definitely need to know what the marketing, sales and management teams are working on so that we can interact with their customers in an informed and authentic manner.

Creating a calendar for campaigns, contests and industry posts is helpful for both the agency and the client. The client also has to be able to trust that the agency staff are constantly promoting the brand and addressing customer issues in a timely manner. And, for that, you have to have an exceptional working partnership between client and agency. If you don't have that, you need to hire or train one, possibly more, people to create, manage and assess your social media strategies.

Commenter: Michelle Ashby

2010, June 18

I agree with the Diva

Commenter: Dean Rodgers

2010, June 18

It depends on a lot of factors and saying one is better than the other overall is absurd. At the end of the day it comes to who is in the best situation to provide COMPELLING content that resonates with the community you are trying to reach.

The fact that neither of you really addressed the community aspect of the equation in any significant manner is a bit of a surprise.

My business model is to try and take on clients about which I am personally passionate. For example, I help Cycle Oregon (www.cycleoregon.com) with its social media presence. I have a deep understanding of social media AND Cycle Oregon. But, most importantly, I understand the community because I am actually part of the community and have been for several years.

Being and experienced communicator is the second most important factor. Most seasoned communications agencies have an innate understanding of how to package the information the client wants to convey in the way the community wants to receive it.

Commenter: Jose Ramos

2010, June 18

There are some good arguments on both sides here, but I have to jump on the agencyMouse99 bandwagon on this one. Too many things have to line up for an agency rep to have the same sort of skin in the game and impact as a client when it comes to engaging directly with customers. I don't believe the authenticity and connection are going to come through with this kind of activity being outsourced. We all know what happens when conversations between two people are interpreted by a third party. Context gets lost, facts get twisted, and misinterpretations are made. If social engagement is supposed to be as close to a face-to-face conversation as possible, it is best that we minimize the interference in that conversation.