When do you outsource your social media efforts and when do you house them internally?

Many companies are using social media to humanize their brand and connect with their audiences online. According to the Nielson 2012 Social Media Report, people are spending more time on social media than any other category of sites.  As companies are beginning to see why it’s important to be in these networks, they are also finding the time and energy put into managing their social strategies does not match up to their resource availability.

As some companies may lack time, talent is also another investment that many companies might not have. When creating a social strategy, it’s also important to have the right person managing the strategy, rather than layering it on top of someone else’s full time work.  One role is the Community Manager who will execute the overall social strategy. This role is in charge of creating a content calendar, acting as the hub for social messaging, and managing each active network. They will also be engaging with online conversations, actively listening to online mentions, and delegating the right conversations to the correct people. This role is customer- facing and will most likely be the one holding social media training sessions for those internally. In addition to the community manager, it is also helpful to have a Social Strategist and an Analyst on the team. In each of these positions, it’s important to look for the right person to fill that role.  Each role takes time and a deep understanding of each audience, competitors, products and overall trends.

Quality assurance is another important aspect to take into consideration when managing social content. As the timing and turnaround of the content plays a significant role in a company’s social success, managers also need to keep an eye on the quality of content. Miss spellings and quick thinking can sometimes lead to poor content that could reflect negatively on a brand. An efficient approval process and relationships be put in place to keep consistent quality content. With an effective approval process, content is spelled correctly, executed to represent the brand, and turned around in a timely manner.

There are benefits to outsourcing all or some of your social efforts, but there are also things a company may do better if their process is set up internally and the company employs the right talent. I have seen successful social media strategies from companies that house social internally, outsource a few items or outsource everything. So is outsourcing social media right for you? It depends on your resources, strategy, internal process, and execution. If you are not seeing results from social, it might be time to find a different team for your social efforts including strategy, analytics or even community management.

Read more about this topic.

Nielson. 2012. State of the Media: The Social Media Report.

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