Now it is a common practice to outsource social media activities to an external agency specializing in social media. Similar to PR Agencies, Social media agencies (either an individual expert or a company) is entrusted with a task of managing and promoting a brand’s image in the online world.
However, while outsourcing this task to external parties, companies/brands miss a key thing. They don’t offer adequate authority to the agency to be able to make quick decisions and replies. If your brand is taken care by an outside social media expert or agency, be sure not to do the same mistake.
Is the agency authorized to accept mistakes and offer a discount/compensation to genuine customers? Whenever a customer complains about the brand, people manning the online account are clueless as to what to do. Typical response will be “We’ve noted your concern and will revert soon”. Nothing much happens after that, only customer satisfaction declines. Instead, train the agency to anticipate possible troubles/complains and authorize then to offer a feasible solution or at least a more effective response
Does the agency guy has enough contacts to get a quick response?
Assume a junior employee is the social media agency is managing the twitter and facebook page for a brand and suddenly something goes wrong- may be a goof up or a negative news breaks out etc. Is that junior employee capable of contacting a senior person associated with the brand, explain the situation and craft quick response plan OR that junior employee has to talk to his supervisor, who in turn contacts his counterpart in the company that hired him, who in turn will check with his senior to get a reply? This long chain of command causes critical delay (Recently Volkswagen goofed up on twitter stating women doesn’t know how to drive etc, which resulted in a massive backfire about which nothing was done for several hours while a simple sorry would have sufficed, eventually VW disowned the account- read details)
Is the agency in sync with rest of the publicity team?
Keeping Social Media agency in silo and not syncing it with other departments like marketing, PR, sales and customer service will result in a brand’s online pages having only forced positive contents with which real customers will not gel.
In summary, hiring external agency for managing social media is fine. But if they don’t gel well with your brand/company, the initiative is likely to fail.