I have worked with the social media channels of many of North Studio clients. Those channels become my babies: I nurture and grew their communities, I remembered those on the networks who were most generous with the retweets and the shares, I reciprocated, and I connected on behalf of the client businesses.
Then the inevitable day would arrive: the day I was to pass the social media work to the clients to run on their own. Oh, how reluctant I was to let go of these babies, these social media accounts I had coddled and nurtured and had to pass into the care of others!
But it was for their own good. For in many considerable ways, social media channels are best managed in-house by the companies the channels are created for. Yet, there are also considerable ways in which companies can benefit from outsourcing some of their social media work to marketing consultants rather than handling it all in-house.
Social Media: Inhouse / Outsourced
North Studio is an agency that provides social media services to a number of businesses. We have managed clients’ social media accounts for a number of years, posting content to their channels, engaging with their networks, running sales, contests, and other promotions.
However, we are increasingly encouraging our clients to take on more of their social media work in-house (reluctant as I personally have been to let these ‘babies’ go). Yet passing the accounts over does not necessarily sever our work completely from our clients’ social media accounts.
We’re an agency knees-deep in the most current social media marketing techniques and content marketing trends, and we a broad perspective on social media marketing strategy based on experiences with a large and diverse pool of businesses we work with. But in the end, we can never know enough about any business’ internal culture and day-to-day events to make the most of the ‘social’ part of social media.
Pros and cons of doing all the social media work in-house
Intimate knowledge of day-to-day events that are worth sharing on social media
Attendance at company events with more opportunities to gather media such as video and photographs
Intimate knowledge of company culture and personalities
More posting/networking time per dollar
Company may not have a suitable social media expert in-house or may end up with mediocre posting/networking by existing staff
If the in-house social media person is not focused exclusively on social media marketing, they have less incentive devote time to learning and understanding emerging trends and opportunities, which an expert in an agency does.
- Content and posting style can get stale if done for a long time by the same person.
Pros and cons of outsourcing all the social media work:
Agency social media experts may be the best bet for initially getting the channels launched and started.
Agency social media experts may recognize competitor and industry trends specifically on the social media channels, and have a good idea how to compete with in that playing field.
Agency social media experts are familiar with the latest tools, trends, and opportunities to make their work most effective
Agency social media experts have experience with reporting and documenting their work, making it easier to pass on to someone else within the client’s company.
Agency social media experts have experience running contests, high level promotions, and running paid advertising campaigns on social media channels.
Less posting/networking time per dollar
Agency social media experts can never know as much about their client company’s internal events, company culture, personalities etc. To gather that information requires significant communication time.
Agency social media experts struggle with getting enough media content from their clients in the forms of videos and photographs, etc.
The Winning Formula Both In-house and Outsourced Combined
There are pros and cons on either side of this issue. What we’ve found to be the optimal way for many companies is to handle most of the day-to-day posting in-house after consulting, strategizing, and training with us first.
We’ve seen our clients do great social media work after training with us, yet we still work with them when it’s time to run a contest, to launch a new product, or to identify areas of strength and weakness. Some clients have us monitor their social media channels and support their internal work with supporting content and network building.
If your company can afford an experienced full-time social media expert, you may well have no need to outsource any of your social media work, though even large companies work with agencies for special social media campaigns.
So here it is, our recommended formula: a company should handle most of the social media management in-house, with some social media expert consultation outsourced. This is the best of both worlds with less expense for optimal efficacy.
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