There are two things I encounter on a regular basis in New York: the sickly sweet smell of vaped chronic and clients who “can do social on their own”. The regular scent of ionized THC and this concept of DIY social are both point to a rise in delusional thinking. On the THC side there are plenty of pundits and politicians out there and their opinions are not hard to find. But when it comes to social, I have a point of view.
Social serves many purposes, amongst which are customer service, building a community of engaged supporters, telling your brand story and selling stuff. SELLING STUFF. Many of these functions are best done in house: customer service, product questions, complaints, sales inquiries -- these need to be monitored vigorously and responded to accurately and promptly. This is a tactical level of engagement that can ONLY be handled by an internal team empowered to help the customer.
However, when you move on to social’s applications of publishing engaging content in support of driving sales and using social to directly drive sales, then it’s a task best given to an agency partner. This is not a question of capability, it's about capacity. Your agency has people dedicated to looking at the data, conducting rigorous A/B tests and optimizing content for both engagement and SALES. It's a full time job and one that is best accomplished by an experienced team. A team that benefits from sharing best practices across client types and who can recognize patterns in the data because that’s what they do for a living. Internal marketing groups have come a long way, developing or hiring the capabilities necessary to manage social and even develop compelling content. But just because one can doesn’t mean one should.
Brand marketers need to take a step back and delegate the data-driven sales and engagement piece to their agency partners. Then they will stop getting high on their own supply and start seeing the phenomenal sales results that professionally managed social can deliver.