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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

In-house social media marketing

For your social media marketing, resourcing is a very important issue to consider. While having someone responsible for your social strategy in-house is crucial, managing all aspects internally can take considerable resources. Let’s look at the pros and cons of having an internal team working on all aspects of your social media marketing.

The pros would include:

  • Specific industry knowledge. Internal teams have great insight into exactly what your competitors are doing, and really understand what your key USP is in the marketplace.
  • Targets and crisis issues. In-house teams have a full understanding of target audiences and crisis issues.
  • Developing social media culture. A positive social media culture for your business or organization is most effectively developed by in-house teams.
  • Cost and flexibility on budgets. Budgets are easier to manage and navigate when they are maintained in-house.
  • Personality-based channels. Some content and platforms just work better from an internal perspective. So, for example, Snapchat, which is very much a personality-based platform, works best when there’s an internal social media team running it.

The cons would include:

  • Limited resources. Limited resources internally can be a challenge. You need to dedicate an entire role, if not more, to managing the social media platforms of your business.
  • Limited knowledge and expertise. Limited in-house expertise is another challenge. It can prevent ‘big picture’ thinking. Make sure that the individuals who are looking after social media in your business are upskilled.
  • Limited relationships. Limited relationships can also be a challenge. Building relationships with media and influencer networks takes time.
  • A lack of fresh, new ideas. We all suffer sometimes from a lack of fresh thinking or creative new ideas. It’s very important to stay motivated and inspired.

Outsourcing social media marketing

So, what are the pros and cons of outsourcing your social media marketing?

The pros would include:

  • Industry marketing knowledge. Agencies have extensive knowledge of social media campaigns across multiple industries.
  • Campaign experience. An agency’s campaign experience will help to prevent any first-time mistakes when launching campaigns.
  • Strategic and planning focus. Any activity planned will have a long-term strategic aim.
  • Tools. Agencies have access to a wide variety of tools, which you can leverage as a client.
  • Content creation expertise. Content creation expertise is usually higher in agencies, with dedicated staff for different content formats.
  • Synergy awareness. Agencies have a strong awareness of synergies and competitor activity. They can identify great affiliate partnerships, and opportunities for you to team up with other brands and like-minded media organizations.
  • Frees up internal resources. Outsourcing to an agency helps you free up internal resources.

The cons would include:

  • Costs. Outsourcing can be an expensive undertaking. Make sure that you have adequate budget to dedicate to it, to maximize your return on investment.
  • Company understanding. An agency may have a limited understanding of your company culture. Make sure that you have a fully briefed agency, who understand the intricacies of your business.
  • Reporting. Reporting can be inconsistent. This can be a challenge, especially if you’re engaging multiple agencies. Make sure that you dictate exactly what metrics and objectives you wish to use for reporting campaign successes and failures.
  • Awareness of internal expectations. An agency will have limited knowledge of internal expectations and boardroom politics.
  • No 100% dedicated team. An agency team is not necessarily 100% dedicated to your business. Agencies have a vast array of clients, so it’s likely that you’re just one of many clients on their roster.

Who can content be outsourced to?

62% of companies outsource their content marketing. It helps them introduce efficiencies and leverage industry experience. You can outsource your content marketing to:

  • Digital/social agencies. These are experienced within the social field, they’re content creators, and they understand the technical aspects of social media.
  • PR agencies. PR agencies understand brand marketing, they’re great writers, and they can funnel a huge amount of brand activity into one consistent message. They are strong relationship builders.
  • Advertising agencies. Ad agencies are good ‘big picture’ thinkers, but can be less strong at relationship building.
  • Media outlet creative teams. Media outlets are now employing creative teams in-house to create content for their platforms. While it may not be a long-term solution, it certainly could be a solution for a particular campaign platform or for a short period of time.
  • Freelance writers/journalists. Freelance writers and journalists, obviously, have great writing skills, so could help you generate content for blog posts or social media. Freelance graphic designers can also be considered in this arena.
  • Professional photographers/videographers. Professional photographers and videographers can also help you create great content for your social media platforms, and can introduce new innovative formats for you to utilize as a brand.

Considerations for hiring an agency

Considerations to take into account when hiring an agency include:

  • Budgets. Are their hourly rates comparable within the industry? Is their plan or pitch coming in on budget? Are they outsourcing to an expensive third party?
  • Reputation and awards. Consider their reputation within the industry. Have they won awards? Do they have a good name? Do they have comparable brands and clients in their stable, who would be at a similar level to your own brand or business?
  • Conflicted clients on their roster. Is it possible that their client base just isn’t compatible with your business? Do they have conflict procedures in place?
  • Team profiles. Have a look at the profiles of agency team members. Research the people who you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis. Are they thought leaders within their industry? Do they have a good profile online?
  • Experience in the vertical. Consider the agency’s experience within your vertical. If you work in an industry that has specific marketing codes, such as alcohol or pharmaceuticals, do they have experience working with clients in that industry?
  • Local knowledge. Make sure that you’re activating with somebody who has in-depth knowledge of your local audience and your local consumer.

Putting together a people plan

If resourcing internally, it’s important to plan effectively. Items to consider when resourcing internally include:

  • Plan ahead. For example, if video content is an objective for you and you’ve noticed that the social platforms are prioritizing video content, look ahead and consider hiring a videographer.
  • Involve stakeholders. Make sure you involve your key internal stakeholders. Get their input into decisions around resourcing, such as resources you could pull from their departments or divisions.
  • Define goals. Always link resourcing back to delivering on a business or brand goal, to help support your case for hiring additional employees.
  • Job descriptions. Define job descriptions internally, to make sure that everybody knows exactly what their role is in terms of the social media marketing mix.
  • Training/hiring strategy. Have a hiring and training strategy, where you invest in your staff to upskill them. Try to spot opportunities where people’s natural talents can be amplified and built upon. For example, if somebody has a creative flair, they may benefit from a design course. You can then further utilize this asset internally to add towards your team.
  • Exit interviews. Make sure you conduct exit interviews. Use the insights you glean to optimize your team and plan for the future.

Structural challenges facing companies

Some structural challenges to consider when trying to resource in-house include:

  • Budgets. Budgets are under pressure from a number of key areas when it comes to marketing. So make sure that you carve out a dedicated budget for your social media marketing purposes.
  • Education on the value. Educating organizations on the value of social media marketing can be a challenge, especially in more traditional businesses.
  • Breaking down silos. Organizations can have many silos, so it can be difficult to align all areas to produce cohesive content plans. Making sure everybody is on the same page with your social media marketing strategy will help break down these silos.
  • Complexity of B2B sales. B2B sales can be a very complex area. They require more in-depth content, relationship building, and thought leadership.
  • Highly regulated industry. If the industry is highly regulated, navigating particular codes of conduct or standards authority guidelines can be tricky. Make sure that you’re fully up to speed with the regulations in your particular vertical.
  • Risk of lacking a human voice. With any brand or business communication through social media, it’s always important to use a human tone of voice and not to appear cold or corporate.

Content team skills

Just like snowflakes, no two content marketers are the same. So what traits should you look for when hiring a content marketer?

  • Creativity. Creativity is essential. You are looking for someone who will add ideas and flair.
  • Active across social media. They should be active across social media, be social media savvy, and have a good online profile.
  • Self-motivated and visionary. They should be self-motivated, and have a vision for what they want to do and what they can bring to your business.
  • Great listener. Try to find people who are good listeners and who focus on solutions, not problems.
  • Multi-channel disciplined. Someone who has got some understanding or experience in other marketing areas such as SEO, PPC, or PR would be very beneficial.
  • Analytics driven. Somebody who is results- and analytics-driven will be able to understand results and use them to optimize your content going forward.
  • Good communication skills. Ideally, you want somebody who is a good communicator, both verbally and visually.
  • Strategic thinker. Look for somebody who doesn’t jump on trends without solid, strategic reasons.
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Seán Earley

Creative Director at Teneo PSG Digital

  • Creative Director at Teneo PSG Digital with five years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Social, and PR Agencies
  • Founding member of Teneo PSG Digital
  • Former Director on the Board of the Irish Internet Association
  • Passionate about creating content that captures audience imaginations and delivers business objectives

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

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    Content Outreach
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    This module begins by introducing the concept of content seeding and provides insight into how to use content effectively over multiple social platforms. It then looks at the different ways you can promote your content on social media, covering audience profiling, blogging, influencer, and word-of-mouth marketing. It equips you with the tools and techniques needed to analyze the effectiveness of your content, and helps you form a solid content outreach strategy.