If your child came to you with a great story or an issue they were having, would you outsource it to another person?
Of course the answer is no but ask yourself why that would be wrong. After all, a lot of other people probably know the answer or would like to hear your child’s story.
Undoubtedly, you see this notion as absurd and dangerous. It’s a bit facetious but I’m using this scenario to illustrate my point that there’s no substitute for the real thing. Online or off, people can tell when the message is forced or inauthentic.
If it’s wrong to outsource parenting then doesn’t it stand to reason that leaving your business’ reputation to just anyone is risky too? After all, you’ve spent your blood, sweat and tears growing your business and building your business relationships. But we must be realistic and in some cases, you have to trust others to deliver your brand’s message.
Many companies completely outsource their social media marketing. Most have really good reasons for doing so. However, they (and you) can easily fall into a false sense of security. We all get busy and after all, we’re paying to have something done on our behalf so why should we have to babysit them?
To avoid the pitfalls of outsourcing social media, please consider these 5 important tips:
1. Don’t take the “set it and forget it” stance.
Today, all social media marketing is a collaborative effort. Whether it’s a collaboration between you and your customer, you and your employees, your employees and your customers or all of the above, interaction is essential. If you’re outsourcing social media then you must collaborate with your vendor to provide the most valuable content to drive leads and sales. “Set it and forget it” just won’t cut it.
2. Don’t do anything unless you’re willing to develop an in-house process for content creation.
Nobody watches your brand like you do. Quality content takes time, skill, effort and a budget. Sometimes that’s more than you have. What you do have access to is hyper-local content (i.e.: the stories that occur on a daily basis within your organization). Simple changes within your operational goals will allow you and your employees to capture and document those stories. Hyper-local content is the most engaging, impactful and lead-generating content you can provide your customers and prospects.
3. Don’t leave your message in someone else’s hands without having control.
In the same vein as “set it and forget it”, require your outsourcer to meet with you regularly (i.e.: weekly at first then twice a month) to talk about goals. You should have specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that your vendor will need to answer for. Growth of audience, engagement, reach and number leads are some of the KPIs we use here at Kruse Control.
4. Don’t let a “stand-in” try to build your relationships.
As we agreed earlier, there is no substitute for the real thing. If you’re going to outsource, make sure you have a solid engagement strategy in place. A voice for your brand: someone within your organization who will monitor, respond, ask questions and lead the prospect down the sales funnel. I see a huge disconnect with companies who outsource social media and see no results. If you want results, you have to participate not watch from the sidelines.
5. Don’t necessarily leave all your social media marketing to one company.
Outsourcing social media can be the best option for your business at this point in time. Consider the answers you provided about why you’re outsourcing: maybe it’s a lack of time and resources, maybe it’s that you don’t fully understand it, or maybe you feel you lack the creativity. There are individual solutions for all of these issues.
You may have resources in some areas but not in others. For example:
- You may have the ability to collect valuable content but just don’t know how and where to publish it. Solution: training.
- You may have time for Facebook but not for a blog. Solution: hire a creative content writer to do your blogging for you.
- You may have a social media manager but your content isn’t getting results. Solution: hire a content strategist.
- You may have a horrible online reputation that doesn’t tell the true story of your customers’ experiences. Solution: hire an expert to help you capture your happy, loyal customers’ opinions online.
- You may not know what to do or even where to turn. Solution: hire a social media consultant to design a roadmap for your success.
By dissecting your social media and online marketing needs, you can easily tap into your own talents while utilizing others’ to build your in-house social media team over time.
The decision on outsourcing social media for your company is a difficult one. Use these 5 critical guidelines to avoid the pitfalls and you’ll find that you’ll be able to sleep better at night knowing you’ve made the right choices for your business.