Simon Pilkington
July 6, 2014

Is Outsourcing Social Media right for you?

Is it better to outsource social media management or keep it in-house? The answer is different depending on the resources of the business. Read more here.

We all know that the modern consumer interacts with social media on a level far from the unidirectional mode that traditional marketing utilises.  With the dawn of web 2.0 and social media, consumers have evolved to become less passive and more active, and it has become imperative that businesses and brands utilise this shift.  Brands having an online presence allows advertising and image representation to transcend the producer/consumer barrier and become integrated within users’ everyday interpersonal online communications, allowing scope for stronger overall customer satisfaction.  But running your brand or business’ social media marketing is far less straightforward.  If you are considering utilising social media marketing for your business, read on to determine whether or not you should be outsourcing social media to a specialised marketing agency.

You should keep your social media efforts internal IF:

Managing your business’ social media is a complex responsibility that requires efforts by a professional who knows the social media landscape, practices and trends like the back of their hand.  If you are thinking about keeping your marketing in-house opposed to outsourcing social media specialists, you will need someone whose expertise lies across all social media platforms; who knows their features and intricacies, psychology, rules and codes, ideal practices, audiences and psychographics.

They should be highly adept in keeping up to date with trends in social media and have an intricate understanding of the target audience.  Keeping media in-house requires the person or people dedicated to managing it to be across all facets involved in the process, including psychology, semiology, sociology, communications, marketing, sales, business, art, design, storytelling, copywriting, customer relationships, PR & crisis management, project management, data analysis, SEO (digital marketing), events planning, and anything else that arises with its demands.

Your social media professional or team is able to cover all necessary roles

Along with the core skills noted above, there are various roles involved in executing professional, successful social media marketing.  If you decided against outsourcing social media to a specialised company you should first consider whether your in-house marketing team is equipped to provide or emulate them.

The first and arguably most important role is the Community Manager.  Community management involves tactically producing high quality, engaging content, and interacting with audiences regularly and efficiently.

You will need a Graphic Designer to work alongside your social media professional to effectively produce any accompanying visual and design elements.  The designer should know your brand and its requirements, for example the brand’s style guide and social media graphics requirements.

Your web team will need to work closely with your social media professional/s to design and develop applications.  If you do not have a web management department that can offer this, you will need to consider attaining additional social web staff.

Your social media staff will also need to be an expert strategist, campaign manager, SEO specialist and analyst, in order to successfully execute data-led, results driven social media marketing.

You have the resources to support it

Along with having the necessary staff and professionals, your business will need the resources to support in-house social media management.  Social media marketing management software such as Radian6, Wildfire by Google and Spredfast are essential tools for collecting vital data, targeting audiences, scheduling posts, stimulating consumer engagement and expanding audiences.  Your social professional or team should be experts at utilising this software.

You are able to provide community management/customer liaison outside of business hours

In a recent survey by oracle, it was found that 46% of responders expect brands to provide customer service on Facebook.  This demonstrates that there is sizable scope for brands to utilise this as a competitive attribute to their image.

One of the reasons social media marketing has been so successful for brands is the ability to liaise with consumers on a personal, public and immediate level, presenting the perfect opportunity for sharing a positive image.  However, in order for customer liaison to be successful, community management must be immediate and regular.  For this reason, your social media specialist or community manager should be available to provide online communication outside of normal business hours.

Running your social media marketing in-house can be beneficial for many businesses.  No one knows your business better than you do, and being as close to your social media manager as possible can be ideal, allowing them to liaise directly and swiftly with different departments of the entire business when necessary.  However, if your business isn’t able to adequately provide the service necessary to successfully manage your online marketing, you should consider outsourcing social media strategies to a reputable agency.


An agency can provide all of the above

Outsourcing social media marketing to an independent agency combines all of the roles, resources and assets above into one easy liaison.  It takes the time, pressures and labour required in social media marketing out of your hands and into those of a team of trusted, dedicated professionals.

Outsourcing social media can provide you with a full team of dedicated experts and specialists

As previously noted, there are sundry roles to be optimised in the effective management of social media.  Aside from the separate in-house roles like marketing, graphic design and web management, other roles including community managers, social media strategists, analysts and content producers are essentials in social media marketing, especially for larger-scale businesses.

They have access to necessary resources

Along with having the expertise your business needs, social media marketing agencies have the access to all of the related resources needed to manage your social media.  Most specifically, agencies have unlimited access to the social media marketing/analytics software (as previously mentioned) required.  Agencies also acquire such typically costly software at a lower, industry price, making it more economical for your business to utilise than purchasing it yourself.  This also applies to web and graphic design software, as well as anything else required along the track.

Outsourcing social media can be more economical and time efficient

If you don’t posses the staff or resources noted, outsourcing social media to trained specialists can save your business time and money.  Keeping it in the hands of agencies who devote 100% of their productivity to social media management means otherwise time-consuming tasks can be completed efficiently, making it more cost effective.

You should consider the value of hiring an in-house specialist in comparison to time spent or needed on social media.  If your business is not equipped with the appropriate set-up for the scale of your social media needs, you may find that your social media specialist becomes under or over utilised.  For certain businesses, hiring a full-time professional may be less productive and cost-effective as outsourcing social media marketing to an expert agency.

An agency knows how to put your ideas
into words and business objectives, in order to align it with a social strategy

As we’ve established, managing social media for businesses is far more complex than simply being familiar with using social media platforms personally.  When being utilised professionally, decisions must be made with the same or more intricacy that would be placed in any other marketing campaign or development.

Putting your business’ social media marketing into the hands of a team of professionals does just that.  Outsourcing social media to an agency will create tailored strategies that suit your business and implement, execute, manage, measure, analyse, report, explain and adapt your social media to your exact needs.

As experts in social media, agencies are perpetually up to date with trending content formats, and know how to make it relevant, engaging, compelling and specific for your brand.

You will see results when outsourcing social media to an equipped agency

Countless businesses have already witnessed the positive impact outsourcing social media has had on their KPIs.  Other businesses and organisations have seen the impact poorly managed social media has had on their brand.  Outsourcing social media to an agency and improving your business’ social presence will undoubtedly enhance your targeted areas of development, may it be building interaction, profits or popularity.

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