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Four Reasons to Outsource Your Social Media (and Four Reasons Not to)

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The subject of outsourcing one's social media is still quite controversial, a taboo subject in the most elite digital circles, and perhaps so without a good reason.

After all, though 45% of respondents in a recent study believe a rise in marketing activities done in-house will increase in the future, only 32% of respondents believed there will be an increase in outsourcing.

So, should a company outsource its media social?

We've compiled a list of four solid benefits of outsourcing your social media, followed by four things that might make you reconsider outsourcing.

Pros of Outsourcing Your Social Media


1. A valuable outsider's perspective

When all your marketing is done in-house, you risk becoming too introspective.

The intervention of a third-party agency can challenge the ideas, notions, and concepts you start to take for granted. Though no one knows your brand better than you do, sometimes one needs to get some objectivity to understand your company from a consumer point of view, something key to identifying and exploiting your USPs.

2. Advanced expertise

A professional social media agency will almost certainly have a more in-depth working knowledge of social platforms than your company does. (If it hasn't, find one that does!)

Just as PPC specialists need to keep on top of the latest AdWords tweaks and SEO experts have to be up to date with the latest algorithm changes, social media managers must keep abreast of the latest features and tools available through networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

If you can't commit to continually learning, then leave it to the experts.

3. No more neglect

When customer issues arise or important deadlines loom, certain aspects of your marketing will take a back seat. Unfortunately, all too often that ends up being social media. The value of social media is much harder to quantify than more traditional forms of lead generation, but that doesn't mean you can afford to just abandon your profiles for a time.

When you enlist the help of an agency, this is its sole responsibility, so you can guarantee it won't fall by the wayside.

4. Competitor insights

An agency can provide you with valuable insights about the techniques and approaches your competitors are adopting. It'll likely also have a better understanding of the social landscape within your industry.

Cons of Outsourcing Your Social Media

There are always two sides to every story. Some 83% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business yet over half of trained social media managers (53%) don't measure success, according to recent research.

By outsourcing your social media, are you really any better off?

1. Competitor insights

Though we mentioned that your agency could provide you with valuable insights, that works both ways. There's always the risk that the agency you're working with could use insights from your campaign to aid your competitors.

2. Delayed company updates

The beauty of carrying out your social media marketing in-house is that you have instant access to company updates. If you won an award, received a praising letter from a client, or became the first to comment on industry news, you should be sharing this as quickly as possible to gain full advantage.

When you work with an agency, however, there's the delay of approval as well as confusion over who is responsible for correspondence. Plus, if you're feeding an agency the content to use, you eventually may question the cost-efficiency of outsourcing.

3. Customer service

Social media is increasingly used as a customer service tool. Customers find raising queries or airing their views (good or bad!) through Facebook easier than battling the frustration of being put on hold "until a line becomes available."

Naturally, many companies feel like such a delicate area is handled best in-house. If a customer has a complaint or needs help with the more technical aspects of your service, can you rely on your social media agency to deal with this correctly? If so, fantastic. If not, you either need to reconsider your options or work on developing a better understanding with your agency.

4. Content sharing

Arguably the biggest selling point of social media is its ability to maximize the reach of your content.

Now if your social media company also happens to handle your content marketing then you're onto a winner. If not, you'll need to make a concerted effort to ensure that all content is passed across platforms and is being taken full advantage of.

Moreover, the relationship with your agency is something that needs to be worked on for your entire campaign to be successful. You'll have to encourage regular meetings to make sure you involve the agency in everything you do to ensure it gets a true feel for your brand.

* * *

In summary, outsourcing can have its benefits, but it almost always works better if you already have an understanding of social media in-house, too. In an ideal world, you and your agency can work together to combine your strengths.


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Ben Austin is CEO of Absolute Digital Media, a UK-based agency specializing in an integrated approach to online marketing.

LinkedIn: Ben Austin

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  • by Davina K. Brewer Sat Aug 16, 2014 via web

    Good list of 'pros' but the 'cons' speak of a lack of integration, a lack of planning and understanding SM. Ex. customer service - if it's to be done via SM it makes sense that's in-house function, perhaps w/ outside training; and fully integrated with marketing and any other business communications that would use SM. Delays .. again that speaks to a lack of planning between the agency and client, perhaps a client that wants to just turn everything over w/out participating? One of the first thing to establish in this situation is that it's not vendor/client but a working partnership. Approvals and processes are mapped out for maximum efficiency.

    Then there's con 1: competition. If you've got an agency taking your info for another client??? what kind of relationship is that? Non-compete, non-disclosure.. any ethical practitioner I know respects their client relationships and would recommend, honor such arrangements. Fear of that kind of thing means you need to find honest business partners, a better agency. FWIW.

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