Digital marketing agencies sometimes manage huge numbers of accounts across various social media channels, both for themselves and their clients. If only all clients were alike, at least that would reduce some of the workload. Some want an agency to manage the entire process, others only part of it. This can make social media management (SMM) overly complex, time-consuming, error prone and requiring numerous task-specific tools. This complexity can be detrimental to the agency-client relationship.
Almost all surveys or reports you read agree on the key challenges faced by social media marketing agencies - regardless of their size. These range from proving ROI to budgeting and staffing. The solution for agencies is to use a comprehensive social media management tool - it can help agencies become more efficient, reduce mistakes, manage budgets and staffing levels, and improve workflows and even improve client acquisition and retention.
The Key Challenges for Marketing Agencies...
Challenge 1: Varying client needs
Every client has different needs and wants. Some are satisfied with a Facebook account, most will want to cover at least two or three platforms, whilst others are convinced that being active on every social channel available is a necessity. This is where marketing agencies need to offer expert advice as to which platforms are best suited to their particular business model and for reaching their target audience.
Often agencies start off with one tool catering to the most commonly used platforms - Facebook and Twitter. Then when a client suddenly demands Pinterest or Tumblr management they are forced to use a different tool. The constant switching back and forth between tools and platforms is not only frustrating, but a massive waste of time and money.
It's impossible to predict which clients will take your advice and which will not. Having a tool that can manage accounts from every major platform, as well as blogs and image creation is critical for ensuring that you have the flexibility to meet the changing demands of current and future clients. The hours of time saved allows for better servicing of clients and the potential to take on more clients.
Challenge 2: Measuring ROI
The ROI of social was once considered an abstract that was virtually impossible to measure accurately. Today, whilst accurate measurement is expected, it remains difficult to concretely achieve. Difficult, but not impossible. For example, comparing sales results for a period with traffic and social activity for the same period gives some sort of correlation, but that is the old way of doing things and is now inefficient.
Robust listening, monitoring, analysis, and reporting features will give you the data you need to correlate your results with the client’s business results and find the nexus where they meet. The more data you can gather and properly analyse the better picture you can provide to the client. Further,with a full SMM system, it's possible to set up UTM codes that can be used to match a campaign or particular post to real website traffic where the conversion can be accurately tracked and reported.
Challenge 3: Budgeting
Not knowing whether you will be able to properly serve potential clients due to the limitations of your tools makes budgeting difficult. The (unnecessary) need to acquire new tools whenever needed makes budgeting difficult. Not knowing how your staffing needs to grow (or shrink) based on these uncertainties makes budgeting difficult. The more you can control your budget from a baseline level and keep it steady, the less budgeting will become an uncertain challenge.
Comprehensive tools have a set cost with very little room required for expansion or additional expenses. Even for the smallest agency, a top-tier piece of social media management software is affordable on a monthly basis, with the caveat that the agency is doing their work well enough to retain and gain clients. The best hammer in the world won’t build a solid house in the hands of an unskilled worker. Budgeting for such a system will reduce overall costs by creating a predictable monthly expense, reducing errors and the need for various tools, as well as increasing client satisfaction which in turn generates more income.
Challenge 4: Staffing Issues
I say ‘staffing issues’ because they vary from agency to agency. Some feel they need to double staff, others to cut it in half. Some have trouble finding talent and others
retaining talent. These issues can be terrible stressors on any business and cause many ancillary problems, from shoddy work to overloaded work requirements that cause burn out.
Once again, the right software can help. By allowing a central location from which all social operations can be managed, in concert with good permissions and workflow features, a small team can easily handle larger loads. On the other hand, a larger team with remote workers can also be well managed using improved workflows. The nature of such software allows for extreme scalability one way or the other while keeping management central, and it becomes much easier to determine the right size for your team. The addition of a single member can exponentially increase the workload handled, and a downsized team can still manage the load without massive stress.
It’s difficult to overstate the need for an agency to use proper social media management software in today’s demanding environment. As with any industry, the right software dramatically improves processes and relieves some major pain points, giving the company the freedom to expand, innovate, and improve more easily.
For social media marketing agencies specifically, the overarching three takeaways should be that with a comprehensive social media management tool they should be able to:
A. Increase efficiency - saving time meaning more clients per account manager and faster throughput.
B. Reduce costs and complexity - fewer errors, consistent reporting and better client retention.
C. Grow faster - win more customers by showing consistent performance in existing client social media
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