First off, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: changes in social media personnel are going to happen. Whether an internal team member leaves or a brand-agency "break-up" takes place (a more common occurrence than is often acknowledged), preemptive preparation is key. These type of splits may not run quite the gamut of relationship phases as we think of them (from the dumping and "ghosting" to the newlywed heart-eyes and the stability of long-established partnerships), but as with any split, it can be quite the upheaval . If you are experiencing a change in your social media team, whether in-house or external, we’ve got a few helpful social media-related tips to help you ensure the split is as painless as possible (though for those painful ones, may we suggest a few batch cocktail recipes?).
Your Social Media Checklist for Agency Transitions
1. Take Back Your Clothes (and Everything Else, Too.)
…AKA make sure you have access to all your social media channels before you end anything. We wish that everyone in the world acted ethically, but as individuals, we’ve all been through a breakup or two and know that sometimes, emotions make people forget the manners their mama taught ‘em. Unfortunately, social media pages are prime hostages to be taken if anyone is bitter—you don’t want your company Instagram getting thrown out the 2nd story window, or your Facebook being added to a burn pile on the lawn. We wish this were a far-fetched notion, but it isn’t: we’ve seen brands have to start from scratch because they couldn’t get their social media handles back!
- Ensure you have ALL login information, all passwords and usernames
- Ensure all emails used for password recovery or account access are linked to someone who is within your in-office team
- Change your passwords as soon as your old agency no longer needs access
2. Keep Score, but Dump the Baggage
It’s important for your new partnership that you know exactly why you’re leaving your current one. Set your next team up for success by providing context on your last relationship—this will best help them qualm any vulnerabilities you may have and address any baggage you might be bringing over. Don’t, however, make your first interactions with your new agency feel like an awkward date, where all you do is talk about your ex—know what is important and leave out the rest!
- Clearly outline your expectations and goals for your new agency partner, as well as how these were not met by your last agency. Be open to your new partner offering their own insights and feedback to these so that you both start off feeling like you’ve established measurable and attainable goals.
- Context is king! If you don’t already have analytic reports for your social media channels, make sure to get them! Reports will help you (and your next social media team) determine what worked, what didn’t, and what might be uncharted territory for your brand. These should include data on social channel engagements and performance over time, as well as information on completed ads and their ROI. If you have social media promotion recaps, we advise keeping these as well!
- Be fair: we all know it takes two to tango, and acknowledge that some disappointments from your last partnership may have been due to you too (at least in part). Give your new team grace as they get acclimated, and take this opportunity to learn about yourselves as well to make your next relationship more fruitful.
3. Don’t Burn Bridges
While it can feel easy to watch a bridge burn when a relationship that brought difficulty, remember that everybody knows somebody…who might end up knowing you. In a small “dating pool” (especially within the fresh produce industry), it doesn’t do either party any good to say or do things that they wouldn’t want other clients or peer brands to know about (while you might “know” your actions were—or felt—justified, the outside party does not). Also, with so many moving pieces, it is almost inevitable that you will need some piece of data or context in the future and will need to get back in touch. Don’t be the one texting the ex because you forgot their Netflix password…after you’ve said some things about them around town.
We’d love to help your brand know where to go next by doing a Social Media Assessment! And we want to note that if you aren’t “breaking up” with an agency but have decided it’s time to start outsourcing your marketing efforts, a lot of these rules still apply when setting up an outside social media team for success.
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