You’re thinking about getting into this Social Media world and need to find the right people to help you. The first big question is, what does a social media agency do?
Beside being an immensely cool bunch of people who love social media, they’re actually very busy!
There’s a lot of very technical things that an agency does that makes a substantial difference to your brand, business and personal time.
What do they do?
Five key things an agency is doing for you, whether you can see it or not.
- Create your content for you
- Branding your profiles and content
- Schedule and Publish your content
- Monitor and Engage to your users
- Strategic Evolution and Reporting
Quite possibly the hardest part of what you would have to do if you were doing it yourself, content creation is core to a social media marketing agency.
In some time prior to starting content publication, your agency no doubt had created a social media strategy for you. Once that’s done, they’ll be busy beavering away creating the content day in and day out, in line with that strategy.
This of course doesn’t mean things don’t change, they always do! The most important part here is the fact that the strategy existed to begin with and, whilst now approved, is being used to guide the content plan.
You should see a weekly or fortnightly content schedules being sent to you for approval, either in a word document, spreadsheet or perhaps software platform.
Whilst it may look very easy to simply find some articles to link, share a few inspiring quotes and throw up a product image, the process is actually quite labourious. As a result it takes a lot of time to create your content plan, so review it carefully!
Pumping out content is important but making sure it’s on-brand and speaks to your brand message is just as important. Having content floating around that doesn’t make any sense in the theme of your brand is pretty pointless.
Content and social media profiles must support your brand narrative and this is where your agency will come in to help. An objective outsider, your agency team will review and understand what it is that your brand stands for.
Once they know, live and breath your brand they can then apply the message to all of your content. Your message will simply ‘flow’ out of the screen, without actually saying it.
It could be as simple as ensuring each image that is posted has a tinge of blue on it, or that your watermark is on each image. Perhaps it’s a certain type of font that’s used in each of your inspo quotes.
With the increase in social media noise, the branding and brand message your content portrays has never been so important.
Once your content has been created, it’s on brand and you’ve approved it, that’s simply not the end of the story. It’s important now to get it out.
This is where the publish and scheduling comes into play. Different agencies do this different ways but essentially all will have a forward scheduling capability that releases content at a specified time.
The advent of more and more niche platforms has increased the complexity of the scheduling platforms, often resulting in agencies using 3 or 4 systems just to manage one brand. Never the less, this is where their expertise comes in.
You’ll notice on the top of your content schedule that each post has a time and day that it will go out.
This is quite deliberate and should not be ignored. Your community or account manager has taken time to review your reports and has make recommendations on when to release your content for best impact.
Help your agency out by letting them know about potential content changes as much in advance as possible. Some scheduling systems don’t easily allow changes within hours of the content being published so be sure to leave as much time as possible if you need to change something.
Monitoring and Responding
We’ve all seem that brand on Facebook that never replies to comments on it’s posts or leaves all it’s messages unanswered. Pretty pointless really, isn’t it? Certainly annoying from a consumers point of view – it ultimately leads to brand damage.
The issue here is that it takes time to respond to all those messages, heck it’s even difficult to be alerted to all of them!
Someone has to manually do all that work. There is no magic button to have a system do it for you. One must read all the comments or messages and answer them appropriately, in context and with the right information.
This is where your agency comes into play. Some agencies will offer the service 24/7, other less sophisticated agencies only offer it during business hours, some not at all. It really is however a quite important part of the service you need.
Your Community Manager will be monitoring for all the comments being left and will respond to them as quickly as possible with the best and most accurate answer they can possibly give.
At the end of the day after all of the content is out and the fans are engaged, you can’t just go to bed. The fun doesn’t stop here.
It’s important to review what you’ve done, look at the metrics and then make strategic decisions on what to do to make your efforts even more successful next week. This is where your account director or manager comes into play.
Each week after the content has gone out, your agency will review the metrics and make informed decisions about what to do next week. You may not see these recommendations until you meet with your agency in person the following month. Rest assured, they are being made.
Each little assessment will show the team what to post more of and what to post less of. Which words to use, with Hash-tags are most effective and what times of day got the most engagement. Using all this information your strategy evolves, step by step, little by little.
The overall effect of this is reflected in your monthly reports. You’ll see your metrics increase and your engagement improve. Ultimately, you’ll see traffic to your website increase and your sales improve.
An agency that doesn’t do this is a dangerous one.
Want to do it yourself?
So now you know the answer to the question ‘what does a social media agency do’, you might say, “heck, I can do this myself!” One of the perks of the digital age is that you have all the tools at your finger tips, so yes, you can do it yourself.
There’s two key things a social media agency will bring to the table that, until you’ve tried it yourself you may not realise. Time and expertise.
Creating content, responding to fans and coming up with new ideas takes a lot of time. Not to mention writing the actual content and publishing it on your social media profiles. This all takes a lot of time.
Until you’ve done it yourself it may not be immediately obvious but the amount of time required to run a social media presence is huge. Developing one weeks worth of content can take up to 8 or 9 hours in total. Right there you have a whole work day spent just writing content.
Not to mention the community management. Monitoring and responding to your fans takes quite a long time, allow another 3 or 4 hours a week right there.
Then, at the end of each week it’s important to look back over your metrics and identify what’s worked and what hasn’t so you can make improvements for the following month. There’s 2 hours.
Oh and lets not forget the running of your adverts.
So, for one profile you’re looking at nearly 2 whole work days, each week, just to run it. Can you afford that time?
Writing posts about your new puppy on your Facebook page is very different to writing posts about your brand. Knowing what to say and how to say it, along with the correct etiquette is quite a skill.
It’s this expertise that your social media agency will bring to the party. They already have all the knowledge on what to do and how best to do it, because they’ve already done it before!
Lets also not forget the systems and platforms. Your team have the unique skills required to best leverage and make use of each of the platforms. Add to that the complex skills required to run an advertising platform and you have quite the skill base.
Why is this important?
Well, have you ever experienced frustration using a new phone when you first get it because everything’s a little different?
Well multiply that by about 50 and you get the frustration you’ll find when using a social media platform.
The platforms change all the time and seldom tell you that they’re going to do it or why.
Okay, I get it now.
Now that you’ve got it all sorted and understand what your social media agency actually does, hopefully things will make more sense when they start talking seemingly gibberish.
Take some time to understand and value each of the steps as it will make a tangible difference to the outcome of your social media marketing efforts.