Social Media Agencies Are Not Fit For Purpose

The agency model is broken across the board. Media, Creative, PR, Digital Agencies.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t great agencies. There are, and in fact, the industry is thriving in a digital sense. It’s just hard to recognise flaws in a system that has seemingly always got things done. That is until a better and more effective one comes along.

You know what they say, if it ain’t broke…

Social Media agencies have fallen foul to this and are no longer fit for purpose.

The sheer amount of work coupled with the lack of efficient processes means that staff end-up working beyond their means and their employment contracts. We all want dedicated teams, but dedication shouldn’t lead to burnout. An agency is only as good as the team it has.

Valuable time that could be spent working on actual social media related tasks, like creating fantastic content or amazing campaigns is taken up by firefighting. Endless back and forth trying to resolve client issues could be solved by simple and clearcut communication.

Another consequence of this is that agencies have also lost their ability to organize their community management resulting in ambiguous and unstructured plans. The content creation process is also affected. Content is at the core of social media and the lack of time (and effort) afforded, results in a lack of agility and fluidity.

There also seems to be fragmentation within the larger agencies. Social media departments are keen to assert their independence and authority but this clouds view of the bigger picture. Separate departments should be able to complement each other and work together. Adaptability and attitude are key. At the same time, standalone social media agencies are constantly fighting their corner.

So, what’s the solution?

A hybrid model has the potential to solve these issues; a merger of a publishing house and social media services. This solution would enable an agency to provide the best possible service to its clients and avoid the above inefficiencies, which only contribute to value loss.

A merger would enable an agency to maintain ‘always on’ coverage and provide quality services all day and every day. Something that is a basic requirement for clients and consumers, yet difficult to achieve and put into practice with limited resources. Why this make sense:

On the agency side:

A hybrid model would also further strategy. Staff could better plan and execute content and campaigns based on the marketing and business objectives of a client, simultaneously improving the client servicing process.

Remaining media agnostic is crucial, the marketing services company would retain its neutrality of where to creation content and not have the sole purposed of driving revenue for the media title.

On the publishers side:

Many media publishers are already creating custom content for brands but their revenue models are struggling. The social media services don’t produce enough of a return on investment to cover the lost making publishing department or entries doesn’t work either. However, they do compliment each other.

The same skills and processes that are needed to manage an online publishing brand are required to manage the social media accounts for any brand.

The Future?

The hybrid model would also accelerate the process of discovering content and using push and pull tactics more efficient as a whole. The future of the social media agency might not be an agency at all.