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Last week we researched some possible competitors in the social media management market. We looked around some companies and agencies who offer Twitter and Facebook outsourcing only to find a rather worrying trend. 

Not very social social media companies

Companies were offering services based on the amount of tweets or updates sent and many of them had lacklustre outputs themselves. One company even had an upgraded package which promised to “follow everyone back and manage DMs”. You’re really spoiling your clients! 

At WarwickTweetup we know that social media is not an automated job that you can put a number on.


Here’s the deal. Social media is just that - social! You can’t set out how many times you will interact, you can’t promise how many times you will retweet (it depends what’s worth retweeting), and you can’t make a big deal about Facebook timeline images and bespoke backgrounds and add, “Oh we’ll occasionally post something too”.

Since we started WarwickTweetup, we’ve claimed that posting for your own company is by far the best way, and we still stand by that, even though we now update social platforms for other companies. Why? Well, we came around to the idea that some companies simply don’t have the resource or skills to do it themselves. 

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Skills? Anyone can update Twitter and Facebook?!

Well yes, but how effective will it be? We have met and engaged with 100s of businesses who simply don’t ‘get’ social media, or just don’t have the time to do it. They know that they have to do it, but they don’t know how to engage, how to search, how to be found, or how to manage the huge time drain that social media is. So social media management is the only way. 

Unfortunately for some of them, they choose the types of company that we found this week, who think that sending a few tweets and updating their Twitter background will get them exposure. Updating your company bio on Facebook will not make the new likes come rolling in.  

Here are some of the social media outsourcing offers we found: 

  • To provide a basic output one company wanted £750 per month, but they did promise to answer DMs. Thanks!
  • One company will charge £200 to stick Twitter on your website (which is a free widget).
  • One company said they “used social media marketing to become the most memorable supplier”. They have 70 likes on Facebook and the Twitter button on their website is broken. 
  • One company reliably informed us that they would reply to tweets and Facebook posts. Surely that’s the whole point of social?
  • We found a company charging to ‘prepare’ 10 tweets and gain 100 followers. You’re going to prepare some tweets? Hang on, this could get messy, I’ll stand back! 
  • One company offering social media management had only sent ONE TWEET from their own Twitter account - one tweet?! I do that while the kettle’s boiling! 
  • One company said that they would spend 30 minutes every weekday on Twitter. How can you put a time on it? And how can you ignore evenings and weekends when it’s proven to be an area that businesses need to capitalise on because that’s when people have more time to read? 
  • And last but not least... The company that wanted £150 a month to just post 40 tweets but not do anything else. We worked that out at £3.75 per tweet. 

So there are some unscrupulous companies out there. Some of them may not even mean to be – they just don’t know what they’re doing and are after a quick buck. Most industries have cowboys. But the beauty of social media is that you can actually see what these companies do on social media, and you can see if they are actually any good. This is a fun game for social media geeks! 

After being surprised at the prices, we looked at the social output of the companies offering social media services. At best the output was a content rich auto-feed of SEO and blogs from buffer and basically designed to increase traffic to their site. At worst the company Facebook was spammy, the Twitter users hadn’t replied to any tweets whatsoever and the blogs were bullet points of news... about them... and actually not blogs at all! Not very social at all. 

I ask them all one question:

"If you were a builder, would you live in a shed?"

No? 

So why is your social media output so poor? It’s like being a mechanic with a broken down car. It doesn’t look good! 

We do it differently.

Most of these companies have hopped on the bandwagon, and a lot of them are marketing or SEO companies who have suddenly realised that social media has changed the game and they want a piece of the pie. 

The difference is that we live and breathe social media; we’re completely immersed in Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Google and online posts and forums. We enjoy reading up on the latest news and finding out the most up-to-date information about our industry, and we enjoy sharing our knowledge. 

  • We don’t tell you how many tweets we’ll send, as it depends how busy your industry is each day. We’ll be you, on Twitter, 7 days a week, all day, every day.
  • We don’t charge you extra for a digital spring clean of your channels; we do it anyway because it’s important.
  • We gain likes through targeted advertising, great content and working with you to sell your social better.
  • We don’t offer packages that don’t follow or deal with Twitter DMs or mentions; that’s basic housekeeping!
  • We don’t shout about our ‘tweet preparation’ because we tweet live. Twitter is live and its interaction is what makes it powerful.
  • We don’t totally disagree with scheduled tweets (they’re a good way to remember to do a bit of self-promotion) but they won’t be the main feed.
  • We link to our social media on our website because we absolutely want you to check it out. We get referrals thanks to our use of social media and blogging - people enjoy our output, and people know us because we actually interact with them. 

So follow us, like us, read our blogs, sign up to our newsletter, look at our website and make your own decision. 

We’d love to know your views – have you been stung by social cowboys?

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My name is Graham Todd and I’ve been immersed in social media for almost three years. I train, blog and manage social media for business.

Find me on Google+

Leave a comment

Posted by Nick Lucey on
An interesting article Todd,

The kind of business models you've come across seem to be born out of the idea that people need to know exactly what they're getting for their money (x tweets for x pounds for eg.)

I'd be interested to know if you came across anyone offering the kind of social media service that incorporates analytics to actually connect social activity with increased sales/business and a price structure based around that? Or if you think for the most part we are still all just obsessed with how many followers, likers and re-tweets we're getting?
Posted by admin on
Hi Nick.

I do feel that for the most part, these companies are giving thier clients what they 'think' they need. Everyone is obsessed by numbers and how many of this and that, but obviously the clue to your ROI is in your bank account. Do people work with you because of your activity on social media?

For us? Yes 90% of our business is from Twitter, Facebook and blogging (our chosen platform) some from Linkedin and Google searches and then word of mouth.

I check analytics constantly for my outputs. I know that for example, my open letter the Mary Portas yesterday got over 100 views in a few hours, Mary Portas read it and tweet me, and that it engaged around 10 people on Twitter, 2 off Twitter (private DMs) and it also gave me the chance to guest post on a platform I'd not thought of! Actual recorded business? None, but that's not why I did it, and I know things will come of it, and my other 102 blog posts - it's how content marketing works!

We always make sure our clients check their stats, although not all know how. We often take the login for thier analytics and do it for them, it makes our job easier. Many of the companies I found did offer this service, but again... there's no sure fire way to measure the ROI on social, it's just to darn busy and too organic to do correctly, and everything needs narrowing down to how and why they landed on your books, some won't even realise it's because of social. For instance lots of our 1:1 clients find us through a friend, that friend is one of our followers, and someone we met online, this is a direct social media lead as far as we're concerned.

I often feel like I'm selling the emperors new clothes. "You have to trust me, this is the finest cloth any man has ever seen, but you have to believe it to see it! ;)"
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