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Social media for recruitment: In-house versus agency

As a recruitment agency owner you’re no doubt aware just how important social media has become in recent years. It enables your business to increase its brand awareness, enhance its reputation and generate leads – to name just a few of its many benefits.

Two of the most common questions we hear from owners are ‘How can we manage our social media presence more effectively? And ‘Should we hire someone to manage it internally or should we work with a specialist agency?’ This all depends on your goals and the internal structure of your recruitment business. Once you’ve established these you will be able to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.

To help you with this decision, I have listed some of the pros and cons for hiring an in-house employee to manage your social media versus working with an agency.

Hiring an in-house employee to manage your social media

Here are some of the potential advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of:

  1. Day-to-day involvement

If you hire an in-house employee to manage social media they will be firmly embedded in the day-to-day activities of your business because of their full-time role. This means that they will have easy access to content such as behind the scenes images and employer of choice messaging.

  1. Dedication

As the sole employee working on your company’s social media accounts their attention will be focused exclusively on your brand and channels at all times. This means that any queries or issues that need escalating can be actioned quickly as they will know exactly what the internal procedures are and have direct access to their colleagues.

  1. Control

When hiring an in-house employee to oversee your social media, you have full control over your employee’s tasks and how they handle them. However, you or your marketing manager – if you have one – will need to have some knowledge of social media to ensure that they are managing your social media channels effectively.

Additionally, the cost of hiring the wrong employee can impact your business in the long-term as you will have invested time and resources in on-boarding and training them.

Hiring in-house employee can be a good option for you if:

  • Marketing is a core function of your business and it already has knowledgeable staff employed which a new employee can learn from
  • You are primarily focusing on utilising social media for employer branding
  • Your business model or areas of specialism are complex

Hiring a specialist agency to manage your social media

Here are some of the pros and cons you should consider when it comes to working with a specialist social media agency:

  1. Budget

With the average salary in the UK for a social media manager £30,854 per year, hiring someone internally to oversee your firm’s social media requires a significant investment. And this is excluding the regular training they will need to keep on top of the latest trends and features. There’s also the risk that your employee may decide to leave a short time into their employment which means that you have to start the process all over again.

In comparison, hiring a specialist agency to manage your social media is often far more cost-effective - especially if you look at a package tailored towards your business’s individual needs. An agency will also operate on a contractual basis which means that you can assess the impact that they are having on your business before deciding whether you should renew.

  1. Skillset

Reputable agencies hire individuals who are skilled experts in their fields. When you outsource your social media to an agency you will often get multiple people with specialist skillsets working on your account, such as content marketing, communications or digital marketing. This enables you to really benefit from a team whose skills complement one another ensuring you get maximum value from your investment – much more than one individual in-house employee could offer.

  1. Expertise

Besides having a team of experts, specialist agencies also invest in the latest tools and software to ensure they maximise the ROI of their activities for clients. This can range from social media scheduling tools through to SEO software.

They also invest heavily in training to ensure that their staff are aware of the latest updates and so that they can implement these into their clients’ strategies.

Agencies also have a reputation to maintain so while your employees will often do what you tell them with little to no pushback, a specialist agency will know when to say “no” and outline an alternative tactic or strategy that will put you on the path to success.

Hiring an agency will be ideal for your recruitment business if:

  • You do not have the budget needed to hire and develop an in-house employee
  • You don’t know where to start when it comes to establishing your recruitment business’s presence on social media
  • You have an in-house marketer or marketing team but they do not possess extensive social media experience

The three biggest social media challenges for recruitment marketers

Questions to ask a prospective social media agency

If you are considering outsourcing your social media to a specialist agency, here are three key questions that I recommend asking:

  1. Do you have experience with businesses in the recruitment industry?

As with the core principles of recruitment, there’s no one size fits all strategy when it comes to social media. Every business has different goals and objectives, areas of specialism and different target audiences. Therefore, the strategy and tactics that an agency used for a financial services recruiter are unlikely to work for a firm specialising in temporary staffing. Make sure that your prospective agency has previous experience in working with similar firms to yours.

  1. Which social media platforms should we focus on to reach our goals?

This is a key question to ask as the answer will show whether the agency has a real understanding of your recruitment business and its goals. At BlueSky, we always recommend against using a ‘spray and pray’ approach. This is where recruitment businesses establish a presence across all of the main social media platforms and start posting without taking the time to assess which ones their target audiences are most active on. Adopting a tailored approach where you use one or two platforms effectively is far more beneficial than being on them all.

  1. How will social media success be measured?

Being able to effectively measure the success of your business’s social media marketing is critical. An agency must be able to explain how they can measure social media ROI based on your overall business objectives and avoid what are known as ‘vanity metrics’. These are metrics that look good on paper – such as generating high numbers of post likes or building a large number of followers – but aren’t relevant to the goals that have been set.

Dan Stobbs-2Author: Dan Stobbs

21 ideas for engaging social media content

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