How social media agencies are letting down their clients.

Social media management agencies and freelancers have been popping up at a rapid rate in South Africa. Coupling the realisation that businesses need to have a social media presence with the volume of work that is needed in running impactful social media channels, social media agencies have found a fruitful market. With the great marketing shift to all things digital and social, I have noticed many businesses been let down by agencies over the last decade.

The reason for the bitter disappointment comes down to one point: expectations.

Let’s dive into the various expectations that hinder the success of social media marketing for businesses.

Business strategy

More often than not, I’ve seen businesses clumsily handover all their social media responsibilities to an agency with absolutely no brief or expectation. This is probably because the business is not convinced of the impact and value social media has on its business.

The business and sales strategy needs to be clearly communicated between the agency and business. This should happen before a single post is drafted. If the business does not share what their expectations are then the agency cannot create content that supports the strategy.

For example, if the main objective for the business is to get immediate sales via its online shop, then the agency should make sure that all social posts are focused on generating sales. Tools such as Facebook Shop and Pixels must be set up correctly for all efforts to be effective.

Whereas, if the objective is to gain new exposure, focus on amplifying the reach through creative stand-out advertising.

The brand

In my social media workshops, I spend the first couple of hours only working on ‘what is the brand and persona of the business.’ It is an important exercise that will form the basis of all content created including comments on a social media page. It will also ensure consistency.

For example, if the brand is luxury, the tone will be classy and high-quality. Whereas a streetwear brand will use slang/casual language.

Many agencies forget to ask the business “who is the brand?”


There is an assumption that the kid straight out of high school is excellent on social media therefore can do marketing for a business. This can be disastrous for a business. The best person for this job is a copywriter with bonus skills in business strategy. This is the person who will get it and easily create high-quality strategically-aligned content.

Social media is ever-changing and this means we need to stay on top of it. Agencies should be constantly checking in on the landscape and staying ahead of the curve or at least just on it.

Webinars, courses, conferences and consulting with industry-specific (advertising, content, marketing) experts will keep an agency abreast.


Social media agencies need to learn how to manage their time and projects. I suggest setting reminders and appointments in their calendars for these milestones:

  • Contact clients to find out what are their business goals for the month ahead and discuss any new campaign ideas or social media trends.
  • Curate content (sourcing or photoshoots)
  • Creating content (actual posts)
  • Developing advertising campaigns
  • Scheduling posts
  • Client sign-offs for upcoming posts

The rest of the month should focus on engaging with users and gaining new clients for the business.


Creating meaningful social engagement is Facebook’s priority. I am still noticing a considerable amount of sales brochures disguised as social media posts. Content should be engaging and memorable. I understand that many businesses might push this onto the agency but it is the agency’s responsibility to educate their clients on best practices.


Social media advertising needs to be handled smarter to be effective. It is no longer optional to advertise if you want posts to be seen. Using tools like Facebook Ads Manager to create dynamic adverts and taking advantage of custom audiences is the key to success in social media marketing. Many agencies take the lazy route and simply boost adverts. This will result in an undesirable audience reach and waste in money.

Advice and education

Agencies should not shy away from providing sound advice regarding social media strategies and trends. This will comfort the anxious client who is still figuring out if they can trust you or not. Stay on top of your game and you will keep your clients happy.

Social media marketing and expectations can be managed if these foundations are put into place. We are working with creatives, clients, emotions and the everchanging world – which can be a messy business.


Afsana is passionate about developing brands and people to pivot the economic diaspora of South Africa to an abundant future for all our citizens. She has a B.A in Film and Media Production from UCT. Over the last decade in the business arena, she has adopted various skills in business strategy, marketing, digital media – websites and social media.

She founded Endor by Design (Pty) LTD, a website design and social media training company. The mandate of her company is to empower those who want to make their business a success by providing them access to technical knowledge to thrive in a digital world.