Outsourcing of social media has long been a debate in the digital and marketing world. Some agencies build their entire business model on being an outsourcing provider for social media and advocate and promote their ability to do all social strategy and implementation. Social Mediology, in fact, started out this way.
After years of experience we now advocate INsourcing not OUTsourcing your social media. And here is why!
Stages of Evolution
Few small businesses or even larger companies have a dedicated social media resource or team. This function often sits within a department or with an intern or graduate who has little real life business experience. This approach may be necessary for the stage of social media development that your business is in.
With the ever evolving world of social media there will be stages of evolution for your business. Your social media efforts may yet to be conceived, they could be newly born or at toddler stage. Few have yet reached primary school, because social media hasn’t been around for long and there are very few digital experts that have extensive experience or training in this field.
Ideally, you want to move to a place where you have a social media specialist within your business. It may take some time to get there, but it is ultimately the only way that your business will be able to engage with your customers and potential customers in an authentic and results driven way. This person must be someone who lives and breathes social media and has the passion and initiative to keep abreast of all the changes that inevitably occur in this space. Anything less than that will at the very best fumble their way through and at the very worst upset and alienate the very people you aim to connect with.
The Outsourcing Dilemma
For some businesses there just aren’t the resources to be able to manage social media internally and it may be tempting just to hand it over to a social media expert or agency to take care of it for you.
This is not advisable, regardless of the size of your business.
Only you or your staff can be the expert in your business. It is very difficult for someone external to the business to get the tone right in the conversation, let alone the right answers to questions which may be critical to sales or ongoing relationships.
Now don’t throw your hands up in despair. There are ways to make this work.
What is INSourcing?
Insourcing allows you to bring the skills you require INTO your business rather than sending critical information and processes OUT of your business. This allows you to retain ownership and authenticity in your social media conversation, rather than trusting this important task to someone who may not understand the nuances of your business.
You can insource:
- Strategic consulting and advice
- Coaching and training
- Legal advice for your social media policy
- Integration of social media across all aspects of business
- Analysis and monitoring
- Administrative support
By bringing someone into your business they become an informal part of your team. Their sole purpose should be to build capacity within your business and eventually do themselves out of a job.
We only have 3 clients that we manage their entire social media strategy and business plan. Our team have worked with each of these clients over a long time, become content experts in their industry and are involved in many aspects of their business, all in order to be able to speak authentically on their behalf. It is not a quick fix, it is not merely posting on their behalf and it is not cheap! We rarely agree to provide this service to clients and instead focus on coaching and training their staff and support where needed on strategy, policy, campaigns, and development.
Outsource with Confidence
There are of course tasks that are not core to your key marketing messages and your social media conversation. These tasks can be outsourced to support your internal strategy.
Some of the things that you can outsource with confidence:
- Setting up of social media platforms – make sure they know what they are doing! Some of this cannot be undone and we have clients with thousands of ‘Likes’ on a page that is poorly named and cannot be changed!
- Content research to provide the basics for you to generate content
- Content curation – finding great quality content written by others, for you to share with your audiences
- App development – you provide the brief, they deliver the service.
- Posting your content. Once you have created or approved the content, anyone with a basic knowledge of social media platforms can do the posting. Although there are many technical strategies to really make this work.
The key is to find what works for your business and go out and do it. Not having the resources is no longer a good reason to not do social media. Your competitors are jumping on board, so find a way that you can do. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming!
Need an INSourcing Solution?
If you need help within your business, Social Mediology can provide coaching, training, strategy development, policy development and other support. Drop us a line to talk through your social media needs. If you are looking for an easy way to get started, Social Media LIVE! is a half day workshop where we teach you how to use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for your business. See what others have to say about the workshop on LinkedIn.