The Big Question: Should a PR Agency Be Active on Social MediaHave you ever hired a PR agency based upon a spectacular case study only to later find out they were just the arms-and-legs on the project?

Unfortunately, when evaluating a firm, it’s difficult to know where the agency vision stopped and the client input began.

That’s where looking at the firm’s own digital assets comes in.

This is especially true when evaluating a PR agency to do social media on behalf of your brand.

Taking a look at their own digital assets can give you a good idea of their creativity, understanding of new technologies, and their in-house capabilities.

Some PR agency owners argue they simply don’t have time for their own business development activities, such as keeping their social media channels up-to-date.

This week, we posed the question:

Should you hire a firm to do social media for your brand that doesn’t do it for its own firm?”

Here’s what agency pros and in-house communicators said.

A PR Agency Needs to Walk the Talk

Paula Kiger doesn’t buy the argument that PR agencies can’t be expected to do their own social.

It’s not like saying I am not going to use your accounting firm because you don’t print your own dollar bills.

If they don’t do social media for their own firm I would question a) if they are passionate about it (important) and b) if they are good at it (because lack of evidence).

I think a PR agency that doesn’t do social media for themselves would lose points on any evaluation I was doing.

Aimee West agrees with Paula.

I like that analogy Paula, I think if I ran into an accounting firm that printed their own $$ I would most likely run away! ?

But seriously—when I was researching some social media companies for a past job, I was amazed at how many I found that had hardly any social media and a few had none!

I mean how am I supposed to see your work if you don’t even talk about yourself?

A few only had a one page website even and you were just supposed to contact them for everything.

Karen Wilson has a good example to put this into perspective.

I think that’s fair.

I’m not against outsourcing social.

It’s not having a presence at all and making that offering for others that I think is disingenuous.

I know a blog coach who doesn’t blog and it makes me twitchy every time I hear recommendations she makes to people who are her clients.

“Join Instagram. It will help with backlinks” is just one example.

The Shoemaker’s Children Excuse Just Doesn’t Cut it

Michelle Garrett points out a PR agency social channels provide learning opportunities that aren’t on the client’s dime:

This makes no sense.

Why would you want to hire an agency to handle social media when it can’t do it’s own social?

Yes, there is a “shoemaker’s child” syndrome in PR/marketing, but the agency should be trying out techniques using itself as a guinea pig to see what works—and what doesn’t.

Aide Gomez Miguelez asks the question on many marketers’ minds:

Can I ask the followup question why wouldn’t they do it?

I mean how are we supposed to know how good they are at social media marketing or content creation when we don’t see it?

It’s Nice to Have But Not a Deal-Breaker

Malcolm Gray says it’s good to see a PR agency active on social, but not a necessity:

I don’t think it’s necessary for agencies to have active social accounts but it doesn’t hurt.

It would be great to see what kind of creativity they have outside of brand guidelines and restrictions, but a strong client portfolio should be sufficient.

If they do have an inactive social media page, hopefully it’s because they’re giving so much attention to the client that they don’t have time to curate their own.

Tamaryn Tobian notes PR agencies don’t do social because it would be off-target for their client work.

We don’t do a ton of social media for ourselves—because our audience is different than that of our clients; it’s B2B whereas our clients are B2C.

So while we do some of our own social media, we typically show our potential clients the other clients we’ve worked with and their social growth because it’s a much better apples-to-apples comparison.

Effective Trade Show PR

Exhibiting at a trade show can be a big expense.

You can earn more value from the investment by expanding your trade show goals beyond lead generation to include PR.

That brings us to this week’s Big Question:

How can you drive PR results from your trade show participation?

You can answer here, in our Slack community, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

If you answer the question and we feature your answer, you get a follow link to your site.

So get to answering!

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich