It’s a question as old as blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Should you outsource your social media duties?
Social media is unavoidable, even for companies that believe they’re doing fine without it. They may be finding some new clients without social media, but they miss important opportunities for growth. Outsourcing allows a company to take advantage of these opportunities, often cheaper or more efficiently than they could manage on their own. The trade-off, of course, is relying on someone else to manage one of your company’s most visible outlets.
You can avoid the learning curve.
While blogging, tweeting and many other aspects of social media are often designed to be user friendly, they still have a learning curve. Rather than dedicating company resources to learning the difference between a wall post and a direct message, or what actions might be prohibited by Facebook or Google+, outsourcing to an expert means you can start a social media campaign quicker, avoid costly setbacks, and maximize your message’s effectiveness.
Drafting blog posts and tweets, planning a Facebook marketing campaign, and developing and maintaining profiles on a variety of sites can take a considerable amount of time, and even more if you don’t have staff knowledgeable in the various forms of social media.
If your staff is unable to handle the additional workload, this can result in paying overtime, or bringing on additional staff and all the costs associated with that staff, such as benefits and taxes. Outsourcing to a third party can allow your company to grow a social media presence by paying for the resources you need without diverting your staff from their current duties.
Your representative becomes you.
Your clients, your competitors and the media will treat your social media campaign as an extension of your company. This means that what your accounts tweet or post, whether or not you approved the message, reflects upon you and your company. You have to rely on your social media experts to clearly understand your company’s vision and message to prevent your clients from receiving mixed messages.
More importantly, you have to rely on these experts to provide security to your accounts. If your account passwords are common knowledge at the company, then a disgruntled employee or a lapse in security can tarnish your brand through harmful or offensive posts.
A hacker that learns your company’s password can quickly gain access to your clients and customers, collect sensitive information, or direct people to submit personal information. Depending on how closely your accounts are monitored, it can take hours or even days to cut off unauthorized access.
You’re one step removed.
While you can insist on reviewing every message before it goes out, this may slow down communication with potential customers and clients and create a bottleneck. If clients or customers turn to social media to voice dissatisfaction, then your delayed response can further complicate the situation.
By outsourcing your social media operations, you can save precious hours learning and adapting to the nuances of social media, but there is a risk in relying on a third party to manage how many people will see your company. To most people, your social media presence is an official channel to the company, so you need to make sure your message is consistent and professional.