Many businesses aren’t currently outsourcing their social media efforts. Of the most outsourced tasks about 1/3 of all business had or were planning to outsource content creation and 32% having outsourced or planned to outsource search engine optimization of their social sites. This is according the 2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report by Marketing Sherpa. I have a feeling more businesses will outsource this in the future once people have figured out systems for doing it effectively and efficiently. So should you outsource it? I’m going to give you some food for thought.
a. Outsource if you don’t have a marketing department
As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats. In a new business, social media can be a big help getting the word out and you might not have a dedicated marketing person working for you yet. There are many people who are experienced at social media who won’t cost an arm and a leg. Go to Odesk.com and post a job for social media experts. You’ll surely find one. Getting a virtual employee is often cheaper and more efficient than hiring someone to work in your office.
b. Keep it in house if you have the ability to develop the core competency
If you have a bit larger of the company, you can delegate social media tasks to someone who handles customer service or other marketing tasks. Since they are related (and customer service agent will have plenty of content to share on blogs and Fan Pages), it won’t take much for the person to add “social media marketer” to their job title.
c. Outsource if you want to run the leanest organization possible
This is slightly related to the small company problem earlier but many companies’ cultures are ones where they encourage lean behavior. One of my favorite books is called the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. He talks about creating businesses completely run by outsourced vendors. If you want to run a simple company with as little employees as possible then outsource Social Media Marketing.
d. Keep it in house if you have trade data that CAN’T be leaked
Let’s say you run a software company. Let’s also say that your software is very unique and expensive. For social media to be really effective, you have to have to be intimately involved with the product to come up with ideas to work social media sites. If you don’t feel comfortable having outside advisors use your software or that it’s so technical that it isn’t practical for a non-user/customer to become proficient, then keep your social media marketing in house.
Obviously, I haven’t shared all the factors you might want to consider. But this is a good start for you to think about. Only you know your business. Although less than half of most social media tasks are outsourced right now, more companies will see the value of outsourcing social media to experts. In my opinion, if you think you might want to outsource social media at some point, you should start now while there are plenty of good experts at cheap prices.
About author. Vic is conducting Web Usability tests and is doing Search Engine Optimization for a Toronto Internet Marketing company. He is also a seasoned front end web developer building websites for Toronto clients.