Companies use Facebook to promote their business and connect with customers. It’s a great way to stay connect with the world without having to purchase advertising and without having to sell anything. However, effective management of a Facebook page is more complicated than might meet the eye, which is why many companies outsource their Facebook management.
Although agencies differ in what approaches they might take and what services they offer, sometimes the most important part of outsourcing Facebook management is just picking an agency. Many companies often make a Facebook page and expect to post to it when they have time or when they have something to sell. These assignments are sometimes shoveled off on an employee given a few hours of time throughout the week or to an intern that might know something about Facebook, but not the company. Some just pay part-time employees to run a Facebook page and consider it done, which isn’t as effective as hiring an agency.
Company Facebook pages are about branding and agencies understand this. Many companies make the mistake of assuming it’s just another way to sell something or a form of free advertising, which can present legal issues because Facebook has policies against types of content that can be posted on a page, including advertising. Agencies understand that Facebook pages are used for communication similarly to a face-to-face conversation with customers.
Most agencies have a crew of graphic design artists, copywriters, programmers, and marketers to go along with the other services they provide. Agencies can then design infographics or even make webpages to supply extra content. They might post a banner image designed designed to celebrate a company’s anniversary. Some might even have the resources to create videos for a company. In rare cases, agencies can even design and build apps. However, app design isn’t guaranteed and shouldn’t be a deciding factor in choosing an agency. Instead, choose an agency that best understands a company’s needs.
Look for agencies that include these types of services:
When it comes to communicating with an agency, distance might not be as big of an issue with video conferencing, telephones, email, and texting. But if agencies are going to be attending meetings or even shooting videos, the location of an agency might be important. Additionally, sometimes local awareness is more important than the tools and resources an agency has to offer.
A business that sells lobster equipment might be located in New England and deal mainly with the people in that area. The same for a surf board company near California. Agencies located in those regions might have a better and deeper understanding of what the people in that area are like. Companies hire advertising agencies to create different ads for different parts of a country all the time. That local knowledge may be worth paying a little more for a regional social media agency rather than going further away to save money.
Once an agency has been selected, it can’t be expected to research everything about the company. Communication is key and it’s vitally important. Communicate everything with a social media team.
As mentioned before, Facebook is similar to a face-to-face conversation. It’s almost a relationship with the customer. People expect there to be changes and even problems with a company, but if they feel they’re out of the loop then they’re going to distrust the company, too. Keeping a social media management team ahead of the curve will help them best manage a Facebook page and that communication with the public. This is especially important with negative news because anyone can access social media – even an upset employee looking for revenge or a rival company that, unfortunately, wants to run a smear campaign.
Here are a few things a company should share with an agency.
Most large businesses have customer relations departments. These employees are hired specifically to answer customer questions and concerns. Social media teams are similar in that they also expect to have their customers ask questions, too.
These types of questions are part of the communication process, which is more than a business only telling an agency what it needs. Since the agency is almost working as an agent between a company and the public, asking an agency what types of events and information they would like is extremely helpful. They can then also communicate what is working and not working back to the company.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. Social media is a tool of public relations and communication between a company, and its customers is at the heart of the issue.
Some of the things to consider asking a social media team include:
Some companies have softball teams, or participate in fundraising events such as marathons and walkathons. Sometimes they make funny videos as part of team building. Any time there’s a chance to take video or pictures of these events, do it, and don’t stop until the batteries are dead and/or the memory is full.
These types of media display the inner lives of a company and the people that work there. Investment companies that handle retirement accounts often want to showcase their financial knowledge and expertise. Usually, what sets one investment firm apart from another is how well their funds perform against others, and that’s not always enough.
However, if that same investment company posts pictures of a company potluck, or a softball game, then current and potential customers might identify more with that company. They feel safe knowing that the person behind the desk isn’t just working a job, but that they also have family that they care about. Stock pictures only go so far, and a simple picture of an employee giving their child a high five could be enough to show the value a business takes in people.
This is why it’s important to have a lot of extra “junk.” Although an agency will never use all of the pictures, and what they do use might be a small percent of what’s available, sometimes there’s a picture or a video clip that perfectly captures something that helps an agency exemplify a business.
Some things to consider video recording or taking pictures of include:
Along with taking extra pictures and video, sometimes it’s also a good idea to include links to videos or articles that a company aligns with. If a company makes chew toys for dogs and someone notices that a YouTube video features a dog tearing it apart, it might think about sharing that. Furthermore, sometimes just posting sharing humorous videos or videos that inspire because a company values those viewpoints is a good idea. Similarly, profiling customers that volunteer their time or that have accomplished something great could have a positive impact. Just remember to stay away from political articles – unless a company strictly works in a political sense.
Many agencies will offer similar services and ideas, so, when outsourcing Facebook management, it’s important to find the one that best matches a company. Sometimes, what’s most important in the outsourcing isn’t so much how much an agency offers, but how effectively they use it.