Should You Outsource Your Social Media Efforts?

With new social media networks sprouting like weeds, it can be tough to tend your own garden.

In a 2012 survey of 500 small businesses, Vertical Response Marketing found that a third of owners, proprietors, and CEOs want to spend less time on social media. Yet two thirds are spending more time online than they did the previous year, even though they struggle with the added workload.

As a result, many small-businesses owners are outsourcing the work to a marketing firm or consultant. Think you should do the same? Here are three questions to ask before handing over your social media efforts to a third party.

1. Does your staff have the time and expertise to effectively handle social media tasks?

It can take up to 32 hours a month for a midsize company to effectively manage just one social media platform, Forbes.com reports. Although small businesses are a bit more efficient, creating effective social media campaigns definitely requires a significant time investment.

Additionally, someone (you or your social media manager) needs to invest time in staying on top of the ever-changing social media world. If you aren’t posting regularly to your accounts, you may want to consider outsourcing the task, because your lackluster participation is most likely costing you potential customers and weakening your brand.

2. Will you recoup the costs of outsourcing in increased revenue?

If you’re handling social media marketing in-house, evaluate whether this is the best use of company resources. For example, if you’re relieved of your social media duties, what would you spend that time doing instead? Would you bring in new clients or increase customer retention by providing a higher level of service?

Calculate how much increased revenue your company could bring in by devoting social media time to other tasks, and compare the costs of keeping social media management in house with outsourcing the job.

3. Can you find the right person to manage your social media efforts?

Outsourcing your social media campaign isn’t the same as hiring a consultant to handle your IT needs or a landscape company to mow the grass. Because social media communicates your brand message in your voice directly to potential customers, it’s essential that your social media manager understands your mission and feels passionately about your company.

Keep in mind that the most effective social media campaigns are closely tied to a company’s larger marketing efforts, so outsourcing the entire thing often bears more fruit than handing off just the social media piece. Before hiring a firm or consultant to manage your social media accounts, make sure that they understand your industry, your customers, and your long- and short-term goals.

About Jennifer Goforth Gregory

Jennifer Goforth Gregory has more than 18 years professional writing experience and specializes in writing about small businesses. Her work has been published in Infusionsoft’s Big Ideas Blog, QSR Magazine, and the Raleigh News & Observer.
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3 comments
Williams Brown
Williams Brown

I am going through this post and thinking of it’s theme and trying to understand what is this post about. At last I can have found something from this post which feels pretty good.

flutter_mktg
flutter_mktg

You make some valid points. However, I find that there are some small businesses that do not want to do social media and do not have a desire to learn it. I think that is where a consultant can step in and try to help. A lot of time may be spent trying out strategies that best fit with the audience. It take time, but can be done.The brand will take on a voice it just may not be as authentic as the owner, health provider or director of a nonprofit. Its like asking a cook to be good at waiting tables. Its part of selling the food, but some find they are just not good as the wait staff. 

Katherine Tattersfield
Katherine Tattersfield

This is a big decision for a business to make. I think it's best to do everything in-house if at all possible. Agencies can be an asset, but social media is so personal that they need to understand your brand in & out. That's a tall order.

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  1. [...] at the helm of a rapidly growing business, outsourcing can be a desirable option and there are many social media marketing and management companies from which to choose. The key is to choose [...]