To outsource or not?

9 09 2012

A number of cases of twitter ‘situations’ have recently been bought to my attention. The ‘situation’ included a company outsourcing their social media marketing, negative comments and a poor reaction from the agency. I started a new full-time role this week, stepping aside from consulting in marketing and social media strategy and my new employer outsources their social media activity. I’m in 2 minds whether outsourcing social media is good practice or not.
Yes social media is a great tool for organizations to support their other marketing activity and communicate openly with their customers or clients building their brand but it can go wrong very quickly!
According to the Social Media Examiner Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2012 between 2010 and 2012 those who were outsourcing their social media more than doubled from 14% to 30%, with only 6% outsourcing the actual updates and 4% for community management. The report also outlined that those with experience were more likely to outsource the design and development of social media over beginners.

These are the tasks marketers are outsourcing;

source: Social Media Examiner social media marketing industry report 2012 pg 33.
This clip When outsourcing Social Media Marketing Makes Sense gives a great snapshot in 60 seconds about outsourcing social media. The key points outlined are;
• Look at the resources and skillsets you have internally,
• Eventually all organizations should be managing their own social media
• Social media companies should be upskilling your staff so that eventually they work themselves out of a job.

In my opinion an industry professional with 20 years experience, that understands & values your brand, and has the brands best industry at heart can respond better in a difficult situation than an ‘intern’ or recent graduate without the life experience or risk management skills required, but it should be assessed on a case by case basis.

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One response

10 09 2012
Lidia K

Hi Renee, thanks for your post 🙂 In theory, managing your own social media makes sense. But this is just theory. It really does depends on what level of expertise, passion and commitment an organisation has internally. If the organisation employs the right person/team with the right skill set and attitude to manage its social media platforms, then yes, it can be a success. This is because employees understand the brand better than any external organisation (I agree). As mentioned in the video, agencies can then assist with selecting platforms, developing a content strategy, coming up with creative concepts, monitoring etc.
However, most of the time, organisations don’t take social media seriously. The person they employ often thinks that social media is just about setting up a Facebook page and posting sales messages. They often don’t have the drive to investigate how to create value and engage with consumers online. This can be very detrimental to a brand. So I ask, this question: what is the real cost in going internal?

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