Agencies do great work. So, this post is not meant to be a rant on them at all… especially as we (at times) consider ourselves to be an agency, too. Plus we often recommend agencies to clients.
Disclaimers aside, what do we mean by the title of this post? Well, simply, that agencies are not the folks you want managing how you connect and engage with your target audience using social media.
Why not? Here are 5 reasons:
1. It’s not about quantity… it’s about quality of audience.
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That means the goal of your B2B social marketing isn’t to create a vast audience of millions of fans and followers. Leave that to the NY Times, Starbucks, and E! Online. Instead, you need to focus on building a quality social audience overflowing with prospects, customers, and influencers… even if you end up with only hundreds (gasp!) or thousands of fans and followers on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
2. As a B2B marketer you care most about what? L-E-A-D-S
Not brand awareness, not PR, and not social buzz. It’s about generating leads. And how good is your agency at that? Not great, since they most likely excel at crafting messages and launching campaigns (bells and whistles included) to reach the consumer masses. They are not the ones to answer the question, “So, how many leads did that campaign generate?”
3. Sure, social media works for broadcasting your message… but it really rocks at engaging folks on a one-to-one basis. (Agencies? Not so much.)
Re-tweeting, commenting on a blog post, liking a LinkedIn update, sharing a video, or gosh forbid, answering a question. All guaranteed to put you on someone’s radar. And what if that someone happens to be a prospect? Now, the sales team is paying attention!
4. Your prospects don’t want brand messaging (sorry).
Buyers and influencers want relevant and helpful content to make better decisions, impress the boss, and outwit their co-workers. That’s why we’re big fans of content marketing. And who do you think is best suited to engage prospects in quality conversations and create relevant content that’s begging to be read (and shared)? Hint: not your agency.
5. B2B social marketing really is different.
Would you ask your agency to manage your email marketing programs? How about answer customer support complaints? Maybe do lead qualification? No, probably not. Those tasks are different than developing and launching brand awareness campaigns… well, so is B2B social marketing.
When it comes to finding, engaging, and converting prospects into leads and sales, you need to take a different approach than using an agency to manage your social marketing… as if you were a B2C company. You’re not. You’re a B2B company.