Social media is increasingly essential to marketing success, yet many businesses don’t understand how to find the proper resources for the process. New research from B2B news and how-to website The Manifest finds that businesses primarily use in-house staff for social media marketing, followed by social media marketing software and digital agencies.
Of those surveyed, 85 percent of businesses rely on in-house staff to execute their social media marketing. In-house staff reduce costs, but their talent gaps can leave businesses lacking key skills or short on manpower. The most popular external resource is social media marketing software (43 percent), while 28 percent use social media marketing agencies.
Each solution requires a different approach to the varied social media challenges. Social media marketing software provides functionality to enhance a company’s workflow and social media presence. Digital agencies better serve those seeking to enhance their team’s expertise and execute big-picture goals, such as a new strategy or rebranding.
Businesses primarily use referrals to research social media agencies
The largest percentage of businesses (43 percent) rely on referrals when searching for a social media marketing agency. Peer recommendations better predict a quality partnership, as referred agencies are more likely to have relevant experience and a suitable price point.
When businesses make the final hiring decision, cost stays top of mind, but interpersonal factors also weigh heavily. Of those surveyed, 40 percent of businesses cite price as the most important factor when hiring an agency, while 31 percent seek a culture fit.
When a business feels personally comfortable with an agency, it helps enable success.
“From my perspective, the most important factors in choosing a digital marketing partner are 1) can they do the job, and 2) do you like working with them? In the end, that’s all that matters,” said T. Maxwell, owner of digital agency Emaximize, in a news release.
Despite the emphasis on comfort, agency partnerships often challenge businesses. The core issues in agency partnerships are performance tracking (43 percent), limited understanding of company strategy (41 percent), and a lack of innovative or practical ideas (37 percent).
Businesses and agencies must align their personalities and expectations to create a successful collaboration.
Search for social media marketing tools is less personal, more practical
The search for and selection of social media marketing software is more focused on functionality than familiarity. Though businesses most often use referrals (24 percent), they also use Google searches (21 percent), marketing content (17 percent), and advertisements (4 percent) to learn about social media marketing software.
An effective social media marketing solution offers features that meet the company’s specific needs and marketing goals.
Businesses emphasize usability when making the final purchasing decision for a social media marketing software. Reflective of this, businesses choose their software based on features (40 percent), price (32 percent), and free trials (27 percent).
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