Social Media Agencies are Dying – VMO’s Rise from the Ashes
By now we all know what social media is… If you don’t, well, first, welcome to Earth, and second, here’s a brief rundown:
Social Media is a form of digital communication that allows a group of users (sometimes in the millions) to share ideas, messages, information and content with each other. In essence bringing the world together on a platform, typically guided by a general feature or attractiveness (Facebook for its general social-ness, Instagram for it is it’s photo sharing ease).
This concept of ‘social networking’ has proven to be a useful tool in getting information shared quickly and effectively due to the very nature of the networking process (1 tells 2, 2 tells 4, 4 tells 16 etc etc).
Once a post is popular, it can easily go viral around the world in minutes. This could be viewed and shared by millions of people in a rather short period of time.
I wonder what businesses would do with such power…
What About Business Applications of Social Media?
Every business in today’s marketplace should aim to have a presence on social media. It’s essential. These are useful tools that help to promote your brand/business to a wider cross section of the population to know what you offer… And plus, it’s where all of the eyeballs are
This is a great ‘new way’ to strengthen the brand of your business. For some companies, it can remain a daunting task. That’s when they may choose to hire a Social Media Agency or a VMO (Virtual Marketing Officer) to handle the online/social promotional area of the business.
Hiring Help for Social Media and Publishing
Typically, a Social Media Agency would be responsible for acting in the best interest of the business on social media through careful planning of posts, and perhaps audience engagement (comments, likes, whatever the kids are calling it these days).
This helps the business to remain relevant and active on all the big platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and a few others.
Some have made such dire comments as ‘If you’re not on XXX or YYY then you do not exist!’
Harsh words, but maybe there’s some truth to it?
Finding Social Media Agency Pricing too high? Us Too!
If you’ve investigated the pricing of Social Media Agencies, you might be hoping for a better way… A more affordable way.
An alternative for your social media marketing is available if you can’t quite stomach the price tag of a an agency…
ENTER the Virtual Marketing Officer or ‘VMO’
What is a Virtual Marketing Officer
A Virtual Marketing Officer is a single person who is responsible to develop strategy to place your company in prime position when it comes to all aspects of online marketing. This can include not just social posting, but search optimization, and email marketing as well.
We all know the importance of having a strong presence online, and how it can turn into a way to really bring in new customers/clients. BUT maybe you just don’t have the time to do it yourself, or the budget to spend multiple thousands of dollars a month on an agency. The VMO limit costs and will also focus on web development, online marketing, brand building and customer relations (to whatever degree you are comfortable with).
Two Different Approaches – One Common Goal
These two very different methods of promoting your business are both quite effective and can matter differently to various businesses based on wants, needs, and budgets. It’s not that either is good and the other bad… It’s just a matter of what you need at this stage of your business.
Let us look at some benefits of Social Media Marketing.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (the main players at the moment) help in getting the information of your business in the public space in a visual and easily digestible manner.
Essentially, this is promoting the services and products you offer by using pictures, videos, and text. The aim of this is to get the attention of the most people at any given time – And at the very least plant a subtle hint of your existence in to their memory.
Brand recognition is key in marketing.
You are your brand, your brand is you. It is one in the same. Making your brand more prominent through consistent posting (let’s not get spammy though, okay?) easily allows people to identify who you are and your marketing activities could luckily aim to get people of influence (otherwise known as influencers) to talk about you (can be tricky if you’re just starting out – But one can hope!).
No matter the size of your business, the main aim of any type of marketing is to capture clients for your business.
Your marketing activities will be focused on making the brand accessible and capturing the attention of visitors. You want to convert these visitors into clients and this will lead to more traffic when they leave glowing reviews about your business (another valuable reason to make sure you claim your business on Google My Business!).
Competition will always be lurking around in the social media space. There will be many businesses doing the same things as you and will be competing for the same eyes. However, having a directed focus on your marketing activities will help to put your brand ahead of others or give you similar visibility.
The main rules of consistent posting on social media remain:
- Be yourself
- Be unique
- Just provide value!
Benefits of using a Social Media Agency
Knowledge and Experience
Agencies usually have more combined experience in the space. They will know exactly which groups to target and will be most suitable for your brand. They can also dedicate more staff to your business which will give your more results in a shorter time.
They can also easily conduct A/B testing to see the effects of your business on different target audiences and see which one responds best.
You can hope that you will get quality work as the agency will always assign their clients to the best suited worker in the agency. Their full potential will be dedicated to producing the best posts, campaigns and websites that will seek to match your goals.
They also tend to schedule meetings for updates to check if the direction of the marketing is achieving what you need… That’s cool if you like ‘meetings’…
Benefits of using a Virtual Marketing Officer
The benefits for using a VMO may see you saving 20%-70% of your social media marketing budget instead of using a larger agency. You can save many formal fees that a single VMO may not charge compared to a larger agency.
It may be a cost effective option for a smaller business, or even larger companies who are a little more timid when it comes to social media marketing, and online branding in general.
What can you do? What return can you give me on investment? You may be surprised at the answers to these common questions.
You can hire a single VMO at a set fee and gain all the business processes an agency could provide. You can save a ton compared the fees you would spend with an agency and still get all the benefits when using a single individual. The difference here is a complete re-imagining of how a marketing company should function. One individual working remotely with the best interests of your company in mind.
The VMO may have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the field marketing and possibly in many different complimentary environments. This may include start-ups, SMEs, non-profits or corporations. They may be flexible to adapt to different situations and can be offer out-of-the-box solutions that an agency employee wouldn’t think to entertain.
It is important to note that choosing either an agency or a VMO will both have it’s pros and cons.
It will be a decision that will be based on the needs and resources of your business. Either approach may give you similar results so the one you choose may come down to your actual business. I often view the VMO, Virtual Marketing Officer, as having more of a personal touch to their work. You’re dealing with the individual responsible for all aspects of the job, as opposed to just an employee of a greater agency.
It has been argued that a smaller business may receive a better experience using a VMO and get a greater value proposition for their money. They may also be personally invested in your business and more flexible to give additional hours and learn things so they can assist clients on your behalf (brilliant!).
After all they help your bottom line, you’ll be happy to keep paying their moderate fee!
For a larger business, an agency may be more appropriate, they can dedicate more staff members and can be scalable if the business has to grow. They can gauge different needs of larger firms and will be able to dedicate the appropriate staff to the areas that need attention. For instance, customer support could be factored in under an agency, whereas a VMO may not be able to handle such tasks at certain levels of volume.
Each business is different, you would have to review your needs, resources and what you want to achieve. The fact is, you would have to be receiving the best return on investment per marketing dollar spent, it’s just a question of how many dollars you can set aside for such things.