Social media has got tremendous opportunities for businesses and individuals alike. Its primary goal is to expose brands to communities out of touch with the brick and mortar system.
However, the existence of multiple platforms with distinct character limits makes social media challenging for businesses to embrace.
For businesses to navigate through likes, dislikes, comments, reviews, and inquiries, they invest in the services of a third party or hire an in-person to take the lead.
One major challenge firms face when outsourcing social media services is deciding whether to pursue the assistance of freelancers, agencies, or full-time workers.
It figures there hardly a direct way of finding a successful social media manager. However, seeing one with a clear social media objective may be a good starting point.
Additionally, skills like freelance writing, blogging, digital marketing, SEO, and knowledge of keyword phrases must be relevant in individuals who want to get their hands in this job.
To find who is best to look after your online profile, we have highlighted the advantages of two distinct social media service managers in the form of freelance vs. agency. But honestly, everything depends on your business needs.
What Is A Social Media Agency?
A basic search on the term social media agency will generate for you endless strings of results. You soon realize there is an entire world of businesses offering social media services — each promoting differently.
A social media agency can be a group of marketing professionals providing social media functions to businesses. They can be small, comprising three-four people or a full-fledged company offering social media management and marketing services.
Advantages of Agencies
1. Tools, software resources, and AI.
Social media and digital marketing landscape have changed a lot. So as the tools aimed at making the process of management and marketing easier.
However, even with these changes, there hardly a one – size – fits – program. There lies a problem of juggling different mediums when implementing a social media strategy. A time-consuming action rarely a problem for agencies but freelancers.
For various reasons, one being marginal economies of scale, agencies are apt to raise their level of output at a reduced cost.
Large firms can harness the power of an in-house artificial intelligence team to develop systems (algorithms) capable of automating an organization’s social functions and responding to clients’ needs on a full-time basis.
2. Access to social media platforms staff and executive team.
Have you ever heard of the term business-to-business relationships? OK. For agencies, reaching owners of Facebook or Twitter is almost a phone call away.
Meaning, getting insider information on new service/product updates ensures they stay ahead of the competition: delivering more value to their subscribers.
3. Courses, teaching, and workshops on digital marketing.
A successful digital marketing strategy takes time and effort to pick. So as the ROI on key metrics.
Luckily, there is an incredible amount of resources out there to help. As a diversification measure, agencies today have included social media marketing courses in their portfolios as a way to improve their social media experience.
Some favorites include
- HubSpot Social media certification course lets you learn how to build an inbound social media strategy when you register on HubSpot Academy.
- Hootsuite Social marketing course is an online resource that teaches one how to become a successful social media manager.
- TweetDeck for managing your Twitter channel more easily.
Such courses not only portray these firms as industry experts in conducting successful social media campaigns, but also a great source of talent acquisition for tutors and revenue to business since they don’t come cheap!
Advantages of freelancers
Freelancers are remote workers offering social media consulting or management services to businesses. Their services span:
- Ad management.
- Lead generation.
- Page management.
- Social operation.
- Creating awareness.
- Social media customer services.
Freelancers can also be part-time independent managers brought to steer a business social media strategy.
They can also be social influencers.
One thing you realize is independent managers are real competition to large firms, and here is why.
If you are walking a tightrope in matters finance, seek a freelancer when building your digital presence. Unlike agencies that transfer overhead cost (use of software and other online marketing tools) to your monthly billing, freelance managers may stay shy from this.
Example of freelance vs. agency.
Social media management is a full-time job requiring one’s input 24/7–something hard to accomplish. One needs breaks, perhaps time to concentrate on family or recharge their internal social battery.
Since we cannot eat, breathe, or sleep social media, automation comes into play.
There are vast arrays of online resource freelancer use to make work easier which come at a cost. A cost freelancer often absorbs.
In truth, if you break down freelancers’ pay, you realize they hardly include the cost of using an online management tool while performing a client’s work, hence the low rates.
Agencies will pass this cost to clients generating high billing. No business absorbs the expenses used in production!
Here is another example of freelance vs. agency.
Most entrepreneurs know little on social media. They complain about having less time to engage and experience these platforms.
But when they explore a professional to handle their digital profile, they seek to learn the ins and out of social media.
The advantage of a freelance social media manager is the chap is happy to get you updated on the happenings around social media — for free.
It is because, as a standalone social manager, you either provide social media management services, consultation services, or offering social media courses.
If you are offering social media management/marketing services like many, chances are you might freely give clients hard-earned knowledge on social media without having them pay for those lessons or even realizing it.
Agencies, however, will charge for any workshops, tutorials, or learning provided with resources available at the agency resource channel (academy).
2. Flexibility and accommodating.
Without a doubt, it is comfortable working with freelancers as they quickly adapt to a client’s routine and style of operations. Agencies on the other side are full of bureaucracy constraints which may hamper services delivery.
Again, with freelancers, all communications are directed to a single individual. No corporate policy or connection to bots and computerized functions. No need to contract different departmental heads to sorted a pain which may eat into adequate time.
3. There are no vows, like getting married.
Unless there is a duly bidding contract, clients are open to end or onboard any moment. However, it portrays you, the client, as an unattractive to potential freelancers if you change managers often.
It is best to try things a few times or months before letting go of a freelancer.
Understand that your social media marketing efforts may take time before the KPIs go your way. Otherwise, you are free to reinstate or dismiss a freelancer at your convenience — no need to be set in stone.
Freelance vs. agency model
So who should you onboard for social media marketing between an agency and a freelancer?
If you ask me, this will depend on several factors:
- Cost or your budget.
- Your business goals.
Others may directly or indirectly affect your business.
But the most significant factor will be the ROI brought to your business by hiring either an agency or a freelancer for your social media plan.