I am an advocate of working in-house, I’ve spent the last 10 years working client side.
Working client side gives you access to information about a company that would normally be hard to extract. You have a feel for what the company is about, you are able to live and breath it’s ethics, it’s values, the reason for it’s existence.
You can experience things that are just not possible to experience from outside, you get the inside track on latest events and are able to stay in the loop. You end up “soaked” in that companies culture and have a passion for it.
When you reach out to customers via social media, that experience, those values and ethics exude through in your words and actions. This is something that is difficult for any Agency to replicate on your behalf.
Apart from the fact a Marketing Agency has other clients to manage too, it just can’t get under the skin of it’s client like an employee can. It’s not able to live and breath the company culture 24 hours a day. Of course, an Agency can advise on up and coming trends in the sector, maybe even offer advise on best practise methodologies.
But an Agency can never have the passion an employee carries for what he or she is doing day in day out.
Engaging involves emotion, to show emotion requires a connection, to get that connection takes time and involvement. There are no scripts when it comes to using Twitter or Facebook. Replies to questions need to be timely and natural, waiting for approval through a sign off process or canned responses will kill the conversation. Without guidelines Agencies can be lost, unlikely to have direct contacts deep within the company for those hard to get answers, there again the conversation dies.
When was the last time your Agency went out to meet your clients? Would they be able to say thank you on Twitter to a client for making that additional purchase on a Friday afternoon? Would they be able to give blow by blow updates of new products coming off the production line? It’s possible but unlikely, but an employee can.
Given the right tools a passionate employee can, and will gladly, Tweet whilst on holiday or on a Sunday afternoon, all the time adding personality and feeling into the interaction.
Passion and experience are priceless, for everything else there’s an Agency.