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Businesses Use In-House Staff Most for Social Media Marketing, Followed by Social Media Marketing Software and Digital Agencies, New Survey Finds

Businesses Use In-House Staff Most for Social Media Marketing, Followed by Social Media Marketing Software and Digital Agencies, New Survey Finds

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Businesses primarily use in-house staff for social media marketing, followed by social media marketing software and digital agencies, according to a survey from The Manifest, a B2B news and how-to website.

Of those surveyed, 85% of businesses rely on in-house staff to execute their social media marketing. The most popular external resource is social media marketing software (43%), while 28% use social media marketing agencies.


Social media is increasingly essential to marketing success, yet many businesses don't understand how to find the proper resources for the process. In-house staff reduce costs, but their talent gaps can leave businesses lacking key skills or short on manpower.

Each solution requires a different approach to the varied social media challenges. Social media marketing software provides functionality to enhance a company's workflow and social media presence. Digital agencies better serve those seeking to enhance their team's expertise and execute big-picture goals, such as a new strategy or rebranding.

Businesses Primarily Use Referrals to Research Social Media Agencies

The largest percentage of businesses (43%) rely on referrals when searching for a social media marketing agency. Peer recommendations better predict a quality partnership, as referred agencies are more likely to have relevant experience and a suitable price point.

When businesses make the final hiring decision, cost stays top of mind, but interpersonal factors also weigh heavily. Of those surveyed, 40% of businesses cite price as the most important factor when hiring an agency, while 31% seek a culture fit.

When a business feels personally comfortable with an agency, it helps enable success.

"From my perspective, the most important factors in choosing a digital marketing partner are 1) can they do the job, and 2) do you like working with them? In the end, that's all that matters," said T. Maxwell, owner of Emaximize, a digital agency.

Despite the emphasis on comfort, agency partnerships often challenge businesses. The core issues in agency partnerships are performance tracking (43%), limited understanding of company strategy (41%), and a lack of innovative or practical ideas (37%).

Businesses and agencies must align their personalities and expectations to create a successful collaboration.

Search for Social Media Marketing Tools Is Less Personal, More Practical

The search for and selection of social media marketing software is more focused on functionality than familiarity. Though businesses most often use referrals (24%), they also use Google searches (21%), marketing content (17%), and advertisements (4%) to learn about social media marketing software.

An effective social media marketing solution offers features that meet the company's specific needs and marketing goals.

Businesses emphasize usability when making the final purchasing decision for a social media marketing software. Reflective of this, businesses choose their software based on features (40%), price (32%), and free trials (27%). 

Read the full report here:

For questions about the survey, a comment on the findings, or an introduction to the industry experts included in the report, reach out to Riley Panko at

About The Manifest

The Manifest is a business news and how-to site that compiles and analyzes practical business wisdom for innovators, entrepreneurs, and small and mid-market businesses. Use The Manifest as an approachable tour guide through every stage of the buyer journey. With three main offerings – data-driven benchmarks, step-by-step guides, and agency shortlists – The Manifest strives to make your business goals a reality.