April 9, 2019

The Pros and Cons of Taking Social Media In-House

Charlie Balk

Nearly 91 percent of U.S. businesses use social media marketing. There are so many components needed to build a successful social media campaign that it can be hard to determine where to start. Some companies hire a team of specialists who handle social media as a smaller part of their larger role. Others have one or two generalists who focus exclusively on social media as their role at the company. And some companies entrust an outside agency like Likeable to help manage their social media. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of hiring an in-house team, and analyzing those pros and cons is important to determining whether your brand should bring social media in-house.

Pro: Convenience and Efficiency

Every company has regular meetings about the state of the business and what needs to be done in order to grow—and as much as agencies try to immerse themselves into everything about their clients’ businesses, they can’t be looped into every communication. An in-house team is fully dedicated at all times, which makes connecting the dots simpler.

Con: Lack of Expertise and Outside Perspective

While an in-house team does have the advantage of being fully immersed in the brand every day, this can lead to an inability to see the bigger picture and make it difficult to stay on top of trends within the industry. Agencies can look at your business with a wide lens and use their expertise from other clients to your benefit. This is perhaps the greatest advantage of hiring an agency—you have a dedicated team of people who are focused entirely on social media and are experts across every facet of the field.

Pro: Genuine, Direct Communication With Customers

One of the most wonderful things about social media is that brands can communicate with their customers directly. When social media is handled in-house, there’s no middleman between the business and its consumers, which can make the communication deeper and more genuine. Those who handle your social media are rooted in and part of your business, so they should be able to easily communicate your brand identity and company culture to your audience.

Con: Expensive to Begin

In order to start an in-house social media team, you need a leader and an HR team with enough knowledge to be able to effectively assess candidates for each of the necessary roles. At Likeable, we have strategists, copywriters, paid analysts, comms planners, designers, art directors, videographers, photographers, and more. While not all of those roles will be necessary as part of your in-house team (depending on the size of your company), most major brands need a team of at least several people to handle all facets of social media strategy and execution. For that reason, hiring can be difficult and involve some amount of trial and error. By outsourcing all these roles to an agency, there’s virtually no upfront hit to resources or your investment. Turnaround can also be quicker than you think.

Pro: Long-Term Value

According to Glassdoor, the average wage of a social media manager in the US is $55,199. But, as Internet Marketing Inc. points out, there are many more roles needed to do social media right. And while hiring, training, and managing a social media team can be quite costly upfront, once you have a strong team in place it will likely cost less than agencies, which typically range in hourly cost anywhere from $100 to $600.

Con: Training and Management Are Time-Consuming

Even if you are able to put all the right people in the right roles, you also need the leadership to make their roles clear and train them. Typically, senior marketing managers do not have deep knowledge of the technical aspects of running social, such as uploading posts, optimizing paid budgets, responding to customer complaints, etc. By hiring an agency, you’ll have more confidence knowing that all of the team members have extensive expertise in their specific roles and can take care of all the executional details.

Are you managing an in-house social team? We can help set you up for success.

Tags: Best Practices, Niche Networks, Strategy

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