Some companies are looking at outsourcing social media, just like they already outsource other services like advertising, branded material production, creative design, etc. I guess the main reason is because they don’t really have anyone in-house up to date with the constant changes and new technologies.
There is a danger though in that many companies are not just looking for help but offloading all their activity onto an outside agency that is not integrated into the company but still representing them in social media. I find that very risky as well as being really costly.
If you’re thinking of hiring someone to manage your social media accounts and handle your online networking, you may want to think again, because you might end up with exactly the opposite of what you’re after.
Of course the choice to outsource must be determined on a case-by-case basis based upon the company's culture and objectives. If outsourcing is already a core tactic your company uses to create campaigns or implement programs, then outsourcing some social media functions may make sense for the company.
In this first part we will see what is best to outsource:
- Strategy development: this is where you need the experts’ advice. Strategy is important and well as the implementation. A good strategy will provide you a map for all future activities and lead you to success...or failure.
- Staff training: Not everyone is familiar with social media, the agency or consultancy should provide a foundation course or training session where all employees could familiarize with the corporate aspect of social media.
- Employee policy: Have someone to draft a policy for employees with corporate guidelines or principles of communicating in the online world. Without knowing it employees can seriously jeopardize the company’s image and/or reputation.
- Content formatting and editing: if you’re not too sure about your grammar and/or design, have someone to review it for you. That way you’ll still communicate the way you like.
- Audio and video editing: these are definitely not my strengths, so to get a professional to tidy, enhance and add effects it is a good investment.
- Friend/Fan Requests: can save a lot of time having an assistant to filter out the obvious junk from your following, lists, friend requests, networking contacts and so on before you give them the final approval.
- Research Content: you might find an outsourcer can find information faster and higher quality, this again will save you lots and lots of time.
- Content uploads: it takes time usually to upload your content onto the various platforms than having someone to do it for you would be best.
- Online monitoring: Rather than sit watching reports and streams of search results, have someone else monitor your brand mentions and jump in to respond as and when necessary. There is also plenty of good software programs, check this post I did a few months back.
Hiring an expert, an agency or a consultant, to provide guidance on the tools and potential strategies is smart, as it will shorten the learning curve. But you can't outsource your voice.