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Parsing the pros and cons of outsourcing social media

3 min read

Brands & Campaigns

Many companies understand the importance of social media, but can’t seem to find the necessary time to devote to it. So when it comes down to allocating resources to time on Facebook and Twitter, many businesses turn to outsourcing. Rather than using in-house staff, they hire outside firms to manage their social profiles. Is this a good idea? Does it make sense to outsource your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest use? To help answer these questions, let’s consider the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing social media activity.

Pros: Outsource your social media activity, and you free up your time, gain expert help, and boost your brand. Here’s a look:

  • More time: Hire someone else to manage your online profiles and you are free to focus on what you do best — your own work.
  • Expert help: As with anything else, hiring specialists means hiring people who know more about an area than you do. The firms and freelancers that offer social media assistance are equipped to give you a leg up over the competition. After all, social media is what they do all day.
  • Enhanced branding: The reason everybody’s telling you to get on social media is because being on social media boosts your brand. By outsourcing this responsibility, you still reap the benefits of increased brand exposure and customer connection.

Cons: Benefits aside, outsourcing your social media activity does carry some drawbacks. From giving up control to increasing your costs, here’s a look at the downside of asking someone else to represent you online.

  • Less control: Delegating anything means relinquishing a level of control. When you’re not the one updating your Facebook feed, you aren’t the one with total control over what gets said.
  • Less personal touch: It’s hard to make personal connections with your audience when you aren’t the one interacting with them.
  • Greater risk: What happens when the freelancer or firm you hire says the wrong thing on Twitter? How do you recover from a social media blunder? When you outsource your social media, this is always a possibility.
  • Questionable payoff: The return on investment with social media is hard to quantify — but the cost of outsourcing your activity won’t be. Will what you pay for social media assistance be worth a sense of better branding or a chunk of followers on profiles?

What should you do?

Considering the pros and cons of delegating your social media efforts, how do you know what to do? Does it make more sense to outsource your activity, or should you keep it in-house to retain more control? To make that decision, consider your capabilities and needs. Then, figure out the option that’s best for you. According to some experts, the best option is usually a bit of both — manage some in-house and outsource the rest.

“The companies that have the most effective social media communications are those that have a combination of internal and external people doing social media,” says Eve Mayer, CEO of consulting company Social Media Delivered in an article at Forbes.

Your thoughts

How does your company handle its social media efforts? Do you do it yourself or enlist outside help? Does reading this article get your wheels turning about ways to divvy up responsibilities in the future? How might some outsourcing or some in-house social media use be good for your brand?

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Web design firm headquartered in Chicago, providing specialized SEO, Web development and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.