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A strategy for fruitful social media partnerships

Optimise your relationship with your social media partner to maximise the success of your social media campaigns

Social media marketing is booming during the COVID-19 pandemic as companies reach out to their customers. Writing for Harvard Business Review, Torren McCarthy says that if you’re among the quarter of business leaders contracting out your social media campaigns to outside agencies, it’s time to review your strategies and your results.


Spending on social media hit a ten-year high in the first half of 2020, rising 74%, from 13% of marketing budgets in February 2020 to 23% in May 2020, according to The CMO Survey COVID-19 special.

Ratings for the performance-boosting effects of using social media also rose from 0.8 to 4.2 on a scale of 1.0 to 7.0. But while businesses who run their social media in-house reported that their campaigns perform well, businesses that depend on social media partnerships for their campaigns said they were less satisfied with performance.


1)Build and demonstrate mutual trust. Seek out less tangible qualities like integrity and confidentiality, as well as technical expertise, when selecting a social media partner. Put trust at the core of your alliance and you’ll achieve more creative, daring, and effective results.

2) Communicate regularly and well. Use the introductory period not only to introduce the outside agency to your customers, brand, voice, products, services and business model, but also to set out clearly how you will keep in touch – via email, calls, video conferencing, for example – and how often. Also have a plan for urgent communications.

3) Fuse your viewpoints. Combine your insider knowledge of your business with the agency’s broader view of external conditions and influences. Let the agency manager in on marketing and branding strategy meetings so their social media messages align with your priorities. Examine how closely their output echoes your overall marketing plan and make sure customers can’t spot messages that aren’t coming direct from you.

4) Define your goals. Establish objectives and target metrics for all social media initiatives and tell the agency how performance will be measured. Allow for adjustments as a campaign progresses.

5) Keep your eye on the ball. Be alert to customer feedback, as well as issues in the outside world – particularly COVID-19 related – which could mean reassessing social media strategy.

6) Choose nimble partners. The ability to pivot quickly, navigate change and take calculated risks when necessary is an essential skill for social media marketing.

7) Accept socio political guidance. Your outside agency should have a good handle on topical cultural and political issues that it may be prudent to respond to – for example, racial justice in the US. Let them advise you on when you should have a voice.

8) Learn transferable lessons. When your social media partnership works well, your company can use those successful strategies to shape other agency collaborations.

Social media experts have the potential to create a valuable two-way channel between your company and your customers. Select your partners wisely and nurture your relationship to get the best possible results.

Source Article: How to Get More from Your Social Media Partner
Author(s): Christine Moorman and Torren McCarthy
Publisher: Harvard Business Review