My journey into the world of social media has been a particularly interesting endeavor. I started working in social media for the local government, assisting multiple State Senators to better reach their constituents online. Following my stint at the Statehouse, I moved onto working as PR/Social Media Manager in IndyCar. Now, here I am as a Social Media Manager for Dream System Solutions, and my experiences have been noticeably different in the time that I have been here.
In regards to which is better between having an internal social media managers and using a firm, I can’t help but think about the differences of working for just one company without comparing it to a firm specializing in the same field. Looking back, working as an internal Social Media Manager taught me a lot of valuable lessons about engagement, trends and what it means to represent a company. However, the negatives greatly outweigh the positives.
During my time with both companies, I eventually ran into many stone walls – mostly involving creativity. My biggest problem centered around trying to reinvent the wheel on how to build and obtain interest with my followers. I would frequently research new trends and how to reach out to people on Twitter and Facebook, but nothing seemed to really change. After months of spinning my wheels, I eventually had to succumb to the reality that as one person, I could only take my company to a certain height before levelling off in the online world.
…and that was where I was wrong.
When I first started for DSS, I expected the same old situation to happen, but in a new office. I half expected to start off strong creating new and exciting things to publish online, then level off on new ideas to do over time. However, this time things felt different. This time I am surrounded by people who have made their careers doing the same thing I have. Now I am working with others who can help me, who can understand what goals I am trying to accomplish for my clients. That moment could only be described as a weight taken off my shoulders, because now I could really do something special. Now I am with like-minded people that I could lean on when I hit writer’s block; I could see social media through a different lens and take new and different approaches to how I can do my job better. Now, things are completely different for me.
I have been blown away by the differences of what I was used to and what I was seeing. If asked what my unapologetic opinion is as to which is better for the client and their followers, I would tell you that utilizing a social media firm will change their online presence into something like arriving in the land of Oz. In that sense, everything I saw in social media was changed from the black and white of an internal position into a colorful and creative new way of seeing the industry while working in a firm.
With a team of social media managers, creative juices flow, new ideas are discussed and strategies are constantly being evaluated and refined. The biggest shock to me was realizing that we weren’t just doing social media for a company. We are bettering a client’s brand, building their business and making both companies more successful than the day before. For the first time, I am working in a company whose sole purpose is to focus on branding a client to the masses in a more engaging and invigorating fashion.
The simple truth of the matter is that with a social media firm, you are getting more bang for your buck. Yes, you are technically hiring one person to manage your online accounts, but you’re also paying for intangibles that you wouldn’t normally get with an internal employee. With hiring a firm, you get many more perks that remain behind the curtain. Perks such as knowing that your social media manager is working in a think tank every day to pull fresh ideas and new strategies. It’s a harsh reality to face, but that is something you cannot get with hiring just one or two people internally.
If you still are on the fence on which option is the best decision, I encourage you to consider what is in the best interest of your company. With an internal employee, you have someone who has a relationship with the company. However, a social media firm has more of a professional relationship with a company. Our sole focus is bettering a company’s business. If that goal isn’t met, the job isn’t done. Firms want to see a thriving trend of interest in a particular company, because that means they are doing their job.
For me, the best way to explain the relationship a social media firm has with a client can be summed up with Cuba Gooding Jr’s line in Jerry McGuire: “Help me, help you.” The better a firm does their job, the more success your business will see.