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Socially savvy brands are increasingly demanding social hubs,or  aggregated social content feeds that integrate with brand websites for an omni-channel experience. Some agencies try to build their own solution to satisfy client needs. Yet creating a social hub for clients is expensive, time consuming, and can lead to problems in development and implementation. Get the top reasons why your agency should not DIY a social hub the next time a client requests one – and what you should do instead.

The Problems Agencies Experience With Social Hubs

Creating anything from scratch requires an up-front investment of labor, which adds to the expense and time for the project. If you don’t have the skills in house, this could mean an additional investment in employee training, so your team can get the social hub created.

Odds are, only a handful of your clients have asked for social hubs. For most agencies, it doesn’t make sense to invest staff time and financial resources in skills development for something that’s an occasional need. Nor does it makes sense to bring on an additional employee when the need is only short term.

If you decide to go ahead with your own social hub, you will likely experience:

High Cost to Hire Developers

Software developers are a crucial part of the development process for websites, applications, and social hubs. Unless you’ve got an in-house developer, you’ll need to hire someone for the short-term need.

Web development rates vary from $50 to $75 per hour for front-end development work and up to $150 per hour for back-end development. If there’s a time crunch—say, your client wants a social hub put in place less than a month before their website redesign launch—there could be rush fees associated with this.

Given that a social hub aggregates content from social media platforms, the job means interfacing with external APIs. This adds cost and complexity to the project.

It may be tempting to keep the work in house so you can avoid paying a developer, but if your in-house developer doesn’t have the right skill set, you risk paying higher costs in terms of low-quality work that’s not fully functional. This could lead to client dissatisfaction or needing to outsource the task last-minute because your go-to guy can’t pull it together.

Outsourcing has its own challenges—the costs may be higher than doing it in house, and there’s a loss of control associated with hiring any contractor—but this can be an advantageous way for agencies to honor clients’ unique requests without diverting talent from their central mission. The challenge here is finding a company that has the right experience, is available when needed, and fits the budget.

Need to Keep Up With Changes

While some development tasks may be “one and done,” that’s not the case with a social hub. Social media APIs power integration with websites and apps, and APIs are subject to change frequently.

Agencies were recently blindsided by sudden changes to the Instagram API. In the last round of changes, removal of the public media endpoint meant that agencies lost access to public accounts.

Looking ahead to December, your agency can anticipate upcoming changes to UGC that affect the way brands are mentioned in campaigns. Changes to the social media API may have the ripple effect of causing changes to the social hub.

If you are considering the DIY approach because you think it’s a one-time task, think again: To keep the social hub looking its best, you will need to keep up with API changes across social media channels.

UI/UX Changes to Implement Design Branding

While your agency can buy API access and CSS customization through platforms that aggregate content, to implement design branding for the client, this approach isn’t scalable. You would need to buy access for every client who uses the technology. Leaving aside the fact that UI/UX isn’t your area of expertise, it’s not a value add to take this on.  

Your agency provides marketing solutions. Any time you spend on building custom content solutions represents less time you spend creating unique experiences for your client.  

Priced Out of Direct Connection

Firehose API removes social media usage restrictions and gives data in almost real time, but it’s expensive. Agencies are priced out of Firehose, since the individual plans are too high.

When you outsource social hub creation to a third party, you can gain access to Firehose for less through data as a service plans.

Steep Learning Curve 

There’s a moderate to steep learning curve for social media aggregation. When you factor in the learning curve for a non-technical account manager and the hidden costs of in-house creation, it simply does not make sense to DIY a social hub.


Agency Goals

While a social hub comes with high costs, don’t forget that it’s also a sideways move from your agency goals.

Your chief goal is to boost your client’s ROI, so you are working in tandem toward their revenue goals. TINT social hubs humanize your client’s brand, which cultivates trust among the target audience and increases conversion rates. Social hubs help you meet client goals, but that doesn’t meet you need to DIY them.

Your agency needs to make revenue from clients. When you can provide better service than the other guys, you will maintain a competitive edge over other agencies. DIY social hubs detract from your ability to provide excellent service through customized strategy, creative, and service tailored to every client. By using TINT social hubs, your agency can focus its energy on mission-critical goals. Saving money without sacrificing service is a goal of many agencies. Less spending equates to bigger revenue, which you can reinvest back into the business.

An attractive social hub increases brand awareness for your clients, while increasing the brand reputation for your agency.

Solutions

Companies like TINT have built a social hub solution based on the needs of agencies. TINT makes it easy for agencies of any size, to offer its clients a product that meets their needs while saving time and money.

Using a social aggregator lowers your workload. Your team can start with an out of the box solution and moderate client content, helping your clients reach their social media goals without diverting from your core objectives.

While your agency should keep up with trends on social media, that does not mean you must do everything in-house. Creating your own social hub solution is not worth the hassle when you consider that elegant, cost-effective solutions exist. To learn more about how to maximize the efforts that your agency spends retaining and earning new clients, while creating beautiful content experiences, book a demo with TINT.