Should you manage your social media in house or outsource it?

I recently read a Sprout Social post outlining whether you should outsource your social media to an agency. I thought the pros and cons list in the post was pretty comprehensive and well put together.

I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read through the post -- that is, until the conclusion. Ultimately, the author wrapped up with that really is no definite answer on whether your company should outsource its social media: it depends -- on you, on the company, and your business goals. I believe the author is right, each company has a distinct set of needs to be met by a social strategy. But, instead of answering yes or no to the question of whether to take care of social media internally or externally, I think the answer is both. The best solution for tackling your social media strategy is a hybrid solution of internal and external resources.

I often work this way with my clients after we’ve gone through the process of creating a Playbook. After developing a comprehensive content distribution channel strategy during the creation of the playbook for my clients, they may need help with the implementation of their new social strategy. As the sprout social blog suggests, it’s not likely that there is a one-size-fits-all social media solution for every company. So, I’ve broken it down to three general levels of external involvement.

ADVISOR

In this option, I fill an advisory role during the implementation of the Community Playbook. Usually, this is in the form of scheduled weekly check-ins or monthly content planning sessions, but I also make myself available for questions and advice on anything that relates to the strategies outlined in the playbook. It’s a an excellent option for my clients to utilize an on-hand expert to help ensure their implementation is keeping in line with the content and distribution strategies identified.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

This option helps to ease the burden of controlling each and every detail of the content and platform strategies outlined of the playbook. I will adopt the role of a remote project manager, and keep an eye out on all of the components and tactics, ensuring that team members are completing the responsibilities assigned to them. This allows my clients to focus on the high-level goals and outcomes of the playbook. In addition to project management, I'm also on retainer for a certain number of hours throughout the month and available for questions, and typically also have an end of the month review where we analyze, evaluate and adjust our strategy accordingly.

EXECUTOR

This is by far the most comprehensive option and is the closest of the three to taking care of social media externally. Here, I actually have my Katie Felten, LLC team execute any strategies outlined in the playbook and monitor the tactics used.

Though these options (the last one in particular) may seem like you’re outsourcing your social media, in every solution offered, I use the same processes that the article listed as pros for internal social media teams. In every option I emphasize the need for internal employee advocacy; after all, your employees can be your best brand advocates. Also, in each role we determine a communication process similar to a plan that an internal team would set up.

Partnering staff within your company with an external expert or team means that your company gets the best of both worlds. You’ll get the deep knowledge of the company from your employees, and the comprehensive understanding of social media marketing from your team of experts. Having an external resource to rely on means increased flexibility and scalability, while freeing up your employees valuable time for other business growth projects.

And as long as you treat your external experts and your internal contacts as a single team who have a structured process for communicating with each other, you’ll lower the risk of miscommunication that comes with truly outsourcing. In a world where connecting is easily done, we aren’t limited to having to choose between an internal or external social media team. Choosing both is the best way to keep your strategy tuned, organic, growing and developing.

If you are interested in learning more contact Katie

 

Katie Felten

Strategy House, 342 North Water Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53202

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