Years ago, back when social media was catching fire like the gas station in Zoolander, everybody wanted a piece of the action. Thousands of “social media experts” showed up promising rainbows and unicorns to companies in search of ways to engage their customers. Social media gave companies access to do-it-yourself marketing and many companies wondered whether social media in-house or outsourced was best for their business.
Fast forward to today. Now that social media has matured and the platforms have recognized there’s money to be made from selling advertising, it’s not nearly as easy to succeed as it once was.
Many “social media experts” have faded from view and moved on to their next great adventure. But the big question still remains for a lot of confused marketers…
Social media in-house or outsourced…which is better for my company?
I was talking with a prospective client recently and she’s truly concerned about how to approach social media operationally. Many like her understand there’s a need for restructure to adapt to their customers’ shifting expectations.
Many like her also wonder…”Should I hire someone in-house or should I outsource?” The decision has been keeping her up at night. She’s tried a few scenarios and none of them have worked.
Let’s break it down.
As I always do, I asked to chat with her about her business goals. After learning about her challenges, I explained the positives and negatives to both in-house and outsourced social media marketing. She was able to figure out what made the best sense for her business. I could feel her sense of relief as we made plans to move forward with designing their content strategy.
Her sense of relief told me to share my experience with you.
I got to thinking…there are probably many other business owners who have the same quandary: Should I do social media marketing in-house or should I outsource it? If this is a quandary for you, then you’ve come to the right place!
Social Media In-House
There’s a real predicament happening and it has everything to do with company structure. Many small business owners believe they don’t have the budget to hire someone. To that belief, I would say have a conversation about your options because it may not be true.
For larger businesses who have the budget but aren’t sure what’s best for them, again I say have that conversation about your options. Gather all the best information before you spend any more time forcing yourself to decide.
You have a finite amount of energy and spending any of it being frustrated is counter-productive.
Positives of Social Media In-House:
- You’re able to grow your own. Someone (or a group of someones) who works within your organization, who knows your product, who interacts with fellow employees and customers is very well suited to manage your social media marketing.
- The hiring process uncovers a lot. There are certain talents and skills needed for social media marketing. There is support available to help you hire the right candidate.
- Your content is high-quality. Quality content drives social media and the web. With those daily interactions with employees and customers, content is richer, more helpful and dials right into customer questions, concerns and issues.
- Saves you money in the long run. Social media, unlike traditional media, can be less of a financial investment. Where the real costs are for social media marketing is in human resources. Paying for outside, sometimes disconnected help is more costly in the long run and you’ve got less control.
Negatives of Social Media In-House:
- The biggest challenge for most companies is not knowing for sure if their social media manager is performing well. If you’ve been contemplating hiring someone to do social media marketing in-house, these questions might sound familiar:
- How do I know if the person I hire will do the job?
- What’s their job description?
- Which goals do I set for them?
- How much do I pay them?
- What am I getting for my money?
- How will I know if they’re doing a good job if they know more than me?
The remedy is to obtain expert advice from a veteran social media consultant (someone like me) and have them oversee things for at least a few months. Having an expert’s eye on things delivers peace of mind and ensures that your investment is bringing a return.
- The other important component to having social media in-house is that unless you have a Facebook ads mastermind on staff, you’ll still need to outsource Facebook ads management.
Yes, the simpler Facebook ads can still be managed by your in-house person but Facebook ads have become very complex for most people. I advise Kruse Control’s clients to consider a trusted vendor to perform the more advanced lead-generation tactics of Facebook advertising, using their own written content strategy as a guide.
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Social Media Outsourced
The pieces to the puzzle that must fit here are whether or not your business, your brand and your goals are suited for outsourced social media.
Positives of Social Media Outsourced:
- You’ll have a presence on social media. Many small companies have little or no social media presence. Outsourced social media is a fine first step to take. As the client, you’ll learn more as you go and continue to make informed decisions.
- Facebook ads are managed for you. Facebook advertising is essential to your lead generation success on Facebook. Facebook ads management requires great skill. You can outsource this portion of your marketing more easily than you can content creation and publication. It’s a more “linear” job (“If you do this, then you get that.”) than the highly creative job of content.
Negatives of Social Media Outsourced:
- Your content will suffer (read: be unsuccessful) unless you designate someone inside your organization to collaborate with your provider on content strategy and creation.
- No one watches your brand like you do. No matter what the salesperson tells you, you and your employees are more connected to your customers. Outsourced providers are looking to scale, and social media is not scalable.
- Many providers who are interested in scaling their services won’t sit with you to discuss, educate, set goals and define strategy. They take it all away from you with a promise to deliver and that’s where things get murky.
- For a provider with integrity and a quality product, it will be more expensive in the long run. This is an area where you definitely get what you pay for. Check references and certainly consider getting advice from an objective 3rd party social media consultant.
When it comes to social media in-house or outsourced, your decision is not an easy one. However, the more good information you get, the better you’ll feel about your decision. Salespeople can say many things and make it seem like their solution is the only one. But no one knows your business like you do so stand your ground and don’t say yes until you’re sure.
Talk it out. Get the answers you need, then take the actions that make you feel excited and happy.
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Austin Visuals is a full-service 3D, 2D, Motion Graphics, Live Video, E-learning, Digital Publication studio. We’ve been creating digital magic nationwide for a decade. We work with companies of all sizes from startup to standout. Call us for a free consultation. 512-591-8024 [email protected]