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Think Twice Before Outsourcing Your Social Media
By: Kevin Weaver
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It's no longer a question of whether or not a business should utilize social media. In the last few years, social media has proven itself as a valuable tool that all businesses should be showcasing. Even though most companies have gone social, that doesn't mean they are doing it correctly or efficiently. Some brands don't have the resources to operate their own social platforms. So, in an effort to save time and money, it gets outsourced. While there are positives to outsourcing, it's most likely not the answer to your problems.   

There's no way around it — outsourcing is convenient. Small business owners have too much to worry about as it is, and spending time and money on something that you don't fully comprehend is risky. For some businesses, outsourcing social media can be a great way to get the ball rolling. A lot of business owners know that they need be in the social world, but aren't exactly sure what to do once they get there. With the help of an agency full of professionals, brands are able to develop a credible presence in a digital environment.

Outsourcing, when it comes to social media, is nothing more than a short-term solution and should be used as a means of establishing a brand's social footprint. Using consulting agencies can be a great way to educate your staff. Once a brand feels it has control and a good idea of what direction to go with their social strategy, they should take the wheel. 

That's all fine and well, but none of that casts a shadow over the negative impacts that outsourcing can bring. One of the riskiest aspects of outsourcing is losing control of your brand's image. In order to steer away from this, agencies and consultants who offer social media to their clients must be knowledgeable of a client's goals, strategies, products, culture, clientele, etc. That is a difficult thing to do and it can be time consuming trying to find the perfect agency to match your business. Working with someone who doesn't understand your business can have a negative ripple effect. It could result in information being posted that doesn't resonate with your target audience. It could also cause a decline in customer service if there is a lack of urgency to respond to customer inquiries. This hurts credibility and doesn't make you seem knowledgeable about your product.

Brands should strive to be thought leaders and should use social media as a venue to showcase that. However, if consultants aren't well educated about your industry, your social presence becomes stagnant or worse, irrelevant.

What's important to remember when considering outsourcing is that a mistake made on the consultant's side causes your brand to suffer. Your followers don't know what is going on behind the scenes. They see your logo on your Facebook or Twitter account and they assume that you are running the show. This is where trust is lost and that is a very dangerous thing. Trust cannot be outsourced.

There will always be some debate on whether or not outsourcing social media is a good or bad thing. My opinion is that the positive effects only put brands on par with competitors and that the negative effects leave them in a more difficult situation than when they started. I'm interested to know your take on the subject. What's your opinion?

   

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About the Author
Kevin Weaver is a marketing professional in Wichita, KS with two years of experience. Past and present work includes email marketing compaigns, client e-store development, social media, and destination marketing.
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