The world has changed. How we do business has changed. Company operations and how human resources are used have possibly forever changed. With departmental budgets in flux with economic uncertainty and reliable in-house marketing expertise at an all-time low, many brands are researching options to outsource to a social media marketing company. If your company hasn’t figured this out already from its own exploratory searches, it’s a jungle out there. There exists a difficult-to-discern blend of the following types of social media agencies out there:
1. Brand damaging
2. Harmless, but useless
3. Legitimate game-changing
The Potentially Harmful Social Media Marketing Company/
In the earlier days of social media back in the mid-to-late 2000s, larger brands were creating their social media brand pages, opening their ad accounts, and testing this “unconventional” media outlet by posting some traditional ad content on social media and seeing what stuck. I remember back in those early stages, how everyone wanted to categorize social media as a potential fad that would fade as quickly as the dwindling attention span of the early X-Gens and Millennials that were the guinea pigs of this paradigm shift toward social media marketing. At the same time, users were quickly becoming addicted to the immediacy of connection to others online as well as a perceived validation from the number of their achieved likes, comments, and video views from their posting efforts. Aside from the Zuckerbergs of the world that had a clear vision for the future for brands on social media, the leadership at many companies was seeking brand validation by chasing the same likes, comments, and video views as the consumers were chasing for their personal social media profiles. Suddenly size mattered, and this spurned a decade of the C-suite staring at meaningless KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) for the wrong business objectives as a measure of success. If their social media page “likes” were growing faster than the competition, we must be winning, right? The C-suite was acting and thinking exactly like kids back in junior high school – the people sitting next to the most friends in the lunchroom must be the most popular!
The consequence of chasing vanity metrics led to the growth of the business model for a social media marketing company to include a suite of black hat tactics such as purchased bots for page likes, bots leaving fake comments, and bots creating fake video views for their clients. Nowadays, these fraudulent social media companies sometimes allow their clients to know exactly what they’re doing, sometimes not. Regardless, companies that partner with these types of agencies, knowingly or unknowingly, have nothing to gain from these tactics. Instead, they have everything to lose. First, they’re allowing their brand pages to be rendered useless for the purposes they were created for in the first place. What good is a bunch of brand awareness to thousands or millions of fake bots rather than an audience of real consumers?
The Harmless, Status Quo Social Media Marketing Company/
In our humble opinion, if a social media marketing company does not have the core competency of creating both long-form and short-form social media videos for their clients, the effectiveness of their services will be extremely limited. This means that this social media business at best can provide some brand photography and custom graphics to your social stream, and at worst, will solely rely on a limited amount of creative assets that a brand may have created for publishing to their website, print ads, or physical digital displays. Yes, we like to describe these service providers as harmless, status quo social media companies. They provide glorified admins that will write your social captions, post existing brand assets, and in some cases, will curate content from another source that sends consumers clicking away from your social stream. This can be difficult to believe, but many of these social media marketing companies are simply fulfilling a contract for X number of posts per week, regardless of if their practices are helping another company gain online traffic at your brand’s expense. While these are harmless activities that, at the very least, help create the illusion that a brand is not neglecting its social streams. At least something is going up each week, right? There is nothing wrong with maintaining the status quo as a marketing agenda. There just isn’t much to benefit for the brand from these efforts.
At the end of the day, nothing communicates and converts better than brand videos. If targeted to the right audience groups, videos are the ideal vehicle for business storytelling and to communicate a brand’s personality, mission, and competitive advantages as well as provide product education and consumer validation, and foster a more human connection between the brand and consumer. I’m not saying that brand photography and graphics don’t play an important role in social media conversions for brands. Some industries thrive on social photography alone such as many fashion and lifestyle brands. It’s just that many companies have products that require much more than a cursory glance at a brand photo on someone’s social stream to understand and appreciate the brand enough to investigate a product further by clicking on links to an e-commerce site or informational website.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen the importance of video on social media evolve from a brand luxury to a vital component of their marketing mix. A brand’s connection to its consumer base is no longer the one-way 30-second commercial banging them over the head with a singular marketing message. The relationship requires continual attention on social media. The relationship requires doses of inspiration, educational value, and imagination. Social media made it easier for brands to connect with its consumer but also made it more challenging to acquire and maintain their brand loyalty.
The Best Type of Social Media Marketing Company/
With so many changes in our economic climate and workplace environments, there’s a reason most established companies and emerging brands are moving away from their attempts to build an in-house social team. With the complexities of brand storytelling, video marketing, and social media management, it’s difficult to maintain consistency and quality of the brand messaging wat many companies with the revolving doors of exiting marketing and creative talent mixed with the influx of inexperienced talent that can, unfortunately, replace it.
The solution to relieving this stressor on the company is to outsource marketing to a social media agency that has a game-changing process that combines business consulting, brand strategy, marketing strategy, and the technical talent usually found at a professional video production company. Armed with social media video marketing and the execution of an agency’s social media marketing strategy, a brand has that continual story worth sharing with its social media audience throughout each year. The key to locating the right partner out there is to do your due diligence and determine if they have the agency capabilities to produce polished video content, and most importantly, have the expertise to use this content to achieve the desired brand initiatives, whether it be generating real online revenue, targeted awareness, or both. Partnering with the right social media agency can produce wonderful results, and in most cases, will be more cost-effective than building all necessary marketing and creative pieces within the walls of your company.
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