If a CEO of a company observes that all his competitors are using social networks to engage fans and customers, he decides to finally join in. He may hire a social media Manager, with a salary of say $65,000. Hiring a full time employee costs more as payroll taxes, equipment needs, office space, etc.
On the other hand, what happens if he uses this $65,000 budget to hire a social media agency? The agency will not require health and other benefits. In addition, this budget can be stretched to cover a complete social media campaign. including: research, planning, strategy and execution. It could also include various services such as video production, public relations, community management, design, promotions, etc.
Agencies can play multi roles
You cannot be sure that the Social Media Manager you hire will have all the skill sets required to handle the campaigns, such as design, video production, PR, strategy and everything else we have mentioned before. He/she maybe a good writer and a planner, but he cannot do it all, unless he is a super human.
When you hire an agency, you are hiring a team of 12 people for the price of one. Most of the agencies are made up of designers + illustrators, copywriters, bloggers, PR representatives, etc. who have their own unique perspectives and experiences. So, the CEO can be rest assured that his campaign is being worked from every angle.
Besides, what will happen if the Social Media Manager is on a leave? Well, questions will not be answered, fans will not be updated and campaigns will not be managed. However, as an agency, not only can someone manage from where the person left off, but also have the tools and know-how to pre-plan/schedule posts when needed.
Agencies are the birthplace of social evangelists
You have twitter to listen to people who are talking good or bad about the company. Also, you have to have the ears to listen to people that need your company. Twitter has an amazing advanced search feature that agencies use to control and join conversations happening around the brand.
Agencies will have access to all the top recent tools and tactics emerging in the social world, either from the agency or from outside sources. In short, an agency will always challenge themselves to evolve and modify social campaigns as new (& better) alternative tools and tactics.
The decision is yours. There are certain companies that hire both, an agency and an individual.