Should Social Media Be Outsourced?
Smart marketing puts your message right in front of your audience. With millions of people participating in social media each day, using social media platforms to market your business can be a smart move. If you’re warming up to the idea of social media and see it as a legitimate strategy, a logical step is to embrace it and find a team member or a trusted outsourcing provider to build up your social presence.
But before you sign over your social presence to an outside provider, it’s important to ask whether social media should be outsourced and, if so, how it should be outsourced to maximize benefits and minimize risks.
The Benefits of Outsourced Social Media
Like other types of outsourcing, social media outsourcing can save your company time and energy. Your business efforts are always more successful when they are closely linked with your core competency. For example, if your business specializes in virtual office services your employees and managing staff will have expertise in remote working, virtual office technology and all of the other components that go with working “in the cloud.”
Unless your company specializes in online marketing, social media skills aren’t part of your core competency. Your time and the time of your employees will be better spent on other projects. Outsourcing to a social strategy consultant or service can help you keep your presence consistent and your social presence running smoothly.
Using an outside vendor for social media can help your organization gain unique insight into the social process. With frequent platform updates and new measurements of success being introduced on what seems like a constant basis, it’s important that your company stays on top of its game. An outside vendor who specializes in this form of marketing can be a critical key in your social success. They can help you stay competitive and learn to stand out from the crowd with unique updates and engagement tools,
The Risks of Outsourcing
Despite all of these benefits to outsourced social media, the process isn’t without its risks.
The path to effective social usage for corporations has been littered with faux pas and missteps that have made many companies regret starting a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account. Chrysler’s account was a victim of a bad tweet in March and Nikon’s Facebook page underwent a fair bit of backlash in September, among many other examples of corporate social gone wrong.
In Chrysler’s case, an employee of the social media firm posted a profanity laden update on the official Chrysler Twitter account. The tweet was made in haste by a hired social media “expert” who either forgot they were logged into their client’s account or made the post in a moment of bad judgment.
Nikon’s social media agency made the mistake of implying that a photographer is only as good as their equipment. This is something that every real photographer knows is not the case, and the Facebook post received a lot of negative response from the Nikon fanpage community and photography blogosphere in general.
The lack of professionalism shown in the Chrysler case and lack of knowledge about a market in the Nikon case are two very real risks of outsourcing social media. But there are ways to minimize the risks and still reap the benefits.
Don’t Outsource Your Voice, Outsource Your Process
Social media outsourcing can still be very beneficial and help your company save time, remain creative and stay competitive. Rather than handing your entire social process off to an outside firm, you can seek out a social consultant or company that will get your company set up, train your employees and offer ongoing support as your social business needs expand.
A social media expert can show your employees how to utilize these channels in an appropriate way. Your employees know about your business and your field. They are invested in the success of your company and are less likely to make mistakes with regard to professionalism or lack of industry knowledge.
By using an outside vendor for social media training and support (rather than outsourcing updates), you can maintain control over your profiles while still reaping the benefits of utilizing an outsourced resource that has expert level knowledge.
What do you think about the benefits and risks of an outsourced social presence?