In-house vs. agency: Who’s minding social media?
September 17, 2013 | Rebecca Harris | Comments
Given all the recent Twitter misfires (see this story to see what we mean), it may be no coincidence that the majority of brands manage their own social media.
In a global survey of more than 1,100 marketers, Socialbakers, a Czech-based social media analytics firm, found that 88% of those surveyed write their own content, 80% design content internally, 87% publish content internally and 76% manage social media advertising internally.
So, should more companies hand over the social media keys to a PR firm? On the “pro” side for PR firms, agencies have a breadth of experience that a lot of in-house teams don’t have, said Andrew Kinnear, vice-president of digital strategy at Environics Communications.
“[But] a good advantage for an in-house team on the client side is they can actually be quite nimble and quick in responding or creating content, so taking advantage of timely events or whatever it might be,” he said. “With that nimbleness though, there’s process that you might not be following, so [in the case of] tasteless or offensive tweets, it’s not following a defined process and being too quick to the trigger.”
Steve Acken, senior VP of digital practice at Environics, added that PR shops are still the trusted stewards of public conversation. “Communicators in general are really best suited to create and curate content that audiences want and they have the skills in place to nurture ongoing relationships,” he said. “And sometimes kerfuffles will occur when it’s a person [for whom] communications isn’t necessarily their first discipline.”
Martin Waxman, principal of Martin Waxman Communications and Digital Strategy, said having authenticity online is so important and sometimes the only people who can do that effectively are those on the inside, if they’re well trained. So while brands shouldn’t necessarily hand over the Twitter password, an outside firm could help marketers become more strategic overall. “[PR firms] should be trainers,” said Waxman. “They should be like directors or executive producers that help shape the content, help figure out what kind of editorial talent a brand has, help them figure out how to amplify it via various social channels, and let the people on the inside have the voice.”