I know, strange topic to see here right? Being in the client services biz, why would I not want your service or your money? Surely I should be here screaming like many others – ‘pick me, let me look after your social media for you!’
Here is the thing, in business honesty is the best policy. Always, and the truth is that for some of you, outsourcing is not the right option. There are an abundance of posts listing why you should outsource social. In fact, if you Google – “why you should not outsource social media” the results returned on the first page are mostly why you should outsource social media apart from maybe two results.
‘7 reasons why you should outsource social media management’ , ‘5 reasons why you should outsource social media’ , ‘How to successfully outsource social media for business’ , ’30 reasons why you should outsource your social media to me’ (seriously wtf?)
Now, there are good reasons as to why you should outsource your social media, we are going to look at some of them here. Here are some of the good and bad points towards outsourcing as well as what you should do if you choose to outsource.
Why you shouldn’t completely outsource your social media
Bottom line, it needs to be you interacting. Don’t pay someone to come in and interact with people on your Instagram or your Twitter accounts on your behalf. You need to be in there listening, responding and engaging. If it can’t be you then it needs to be an internal member of staff.
1) The script.
For starters, when you outsource to someone else you are handing over to someone who is going to read from a script. There is a limit to the knowledge someone will have about your business. You and your staff have all the in depth knowledge and can deal with anything and everything quickly and off the cuff. If someone you have outsourced to find themselves stuck and have to check facts with you then how much time are you going to save? You may as well be doing it by yourself.
‘Not me, no I am authentic and always on hand to deal with anything for your business!’ Sure, you can be authentic but you are still reading from a script or you are still following preset guidelines. On top of that, who you outsource to will not be empowered to take action when needed. When a customer reaches out with a problem you can deal with it quickly but someone who is looking after your social media externally may have limited options.
2) It should be you!
Look at social media influencers or Twitter gurus. They talk about building relationships. They talk about how people buy from people and how important it is to network and build relationships. Then in the next breath they tell you why you should outsource social media to them and give them control of your accounts so that you can be free to do what you love.
Erm…what? If you outsource social media to someone then your customers are building a relationship with the person you have outsourced to, not your business and not you. Sure they can send you reports daily or weekly, they can notify you of significant interaction but it is still them building the relationship and network, not you.
3) You need to listen.
If you are getting daily or weekly reports you will undoubtedly miss something of importance. Hell you can get hourly reports I promise you are still missing something. You need to be in the trenches, you need to be listening because if you don’t do that then you don’t have your finger on the pulse of what is happening with your accounts.
If you are in there then not only are you listening but you can engage in a heartbeat and let your personality shine through. An external agency or someone you have outsourced to can’t do that for you. You also need to use social media to reach out to other leaders in your industry, you need to engage with them and start networking with them.
Trust an agency or someone else to do that for you?
What should you outsource
Okay we have established that you should be the one interacting through your social channels or a member of your staff should be doing it. Now, what should you be outsourcing, how can someone like myself make money to operate if I am not taking over accounts and running them for people? What are some of the tasks I take on and which you should consider outsourcing yourself?
1) Content creation or editing
Creating content is time consuming and hard work, be it a blog post, video, Instagram story, Instagram post…whatever it may be. Maybe you have something to say in a blog post and you are not the best at saying it, you need it polished up a bit. Or you could have a video that you want to throw some glitz and glam on to but have no idea how (I get it, video editing is hard). Getting someone to edit or create your content is perfectly acceptable. They can also upload content for you so you don’t have to waste time looking at upload bars and processing videos.
2) Brand monitoring
Outsourcing your social listening and letting someone to jump in on social interactions which you may otherwise miss is also a good idea. This is not handing over your social account interactions, this is allowing an extra set of eyes and ears watch over what is happening and they can jump into areas you may not be able to as well as assist you with what you are doing on a daily basis through social media, guiding you in the right direction for brand and business because as many of us know – extensive damage online can be done in an instant and can be hard to reverse.
3) Ad campaigns
When you lock in and realise how important advertising is on Facebook and Instagram it can be a good idea to have someone look after creating the ad and running the campaigns for you. They know how to target and reach the right demographics as well as running content on ads that sell.
4) General housekeeping
Spam, junk, friend requests and handling general tasks can all be carried out through outsourcing. You don’t need to be the one constantly tidying up.
What should you do before outsourcing?
If you get down to it and decide that you want to outsource then there are some things you should consider before making the step.
1) Are they interested in the biz and interested in what you want?
People who want to look after your social media love to tell you what they can do for you right off the bat. They can look after your Twitter, create unique content and manage with a personal style ect ect.
When I meet with people my first two questions are always the same, always! “Tell me about the biz” and “So what do you want to happen?” Because before we get into the nitty gritty tactics I need to know about who you are and what you are doing as well as what your expectations are. If you have ludicrous expectations it also gives me the chance to shut them down pretty fast.
2) Audit their work
Ask for samples of their work, make sure you like what you see and you are happy with what you see. Maybe that person is not the right fit for you and you need to look at someone else. Don’t worry about upsetting them if that is the case, this is business. Are they creating quality content on a consistent basis? On this point, don’t be surprised if you find that your business gets audited. Good agencies will audit prospective clients too so they can make sure the client is a good fit for them.
I audit every prospective client and yes, I have turned down work in the past because I knew the fit was not right. I could feel it, and I have been right every time so far. Don’t be alarmed if they say no to you.
3) Don’t be fooled with dumb metrics
People who brag about the number of followers of Twitter impressions they are pulling in are worried about dumb data. Someone with 100 followers can do just a good job on your social media as someone with 50,000 followers.
“But people with 50,000 followers can give me a lot of exposure!” Sure, but whose audience do you want, yours or theirs?
4) Don’t be surprised if you have to pay for someone’s time too!
This point is out of the blue a bit but one I want to make, want to meet with a social media strategist to pick their brain and get ideas? Great idea, the first meeting is on me so that you can get a feel for what I am all about and give you a little flavour for strategies. Want a second meeting to talk Instagram? Awesome, look forward to it. It will cost you though, you aren’t going to set up a meeting for your strategy and then get all those quality golden nuggets for free.
You have time
One of the most common excuses I want to finish on is this illusion that you don’t have time to run your business and social media. You have time, most of us have more time so the question really is do you want to put in the extra work required?
Out of your typical 8 hours per day working you are more than likely spending 2 of them on dumb shit. YouTube, Facebook…whatever it may be. Want more time to look after your social? Watch a few hours less of Netflix per week, play the XBox less. The time is there, I promise you that. You can easily spend an extra 10-15 hours over the course of a week on your social media.
Don’t want to to spend that extra time doing it? Fine, but I would question your motives behind business if that is the case. Everyone should live their life and run their business the way they want to but if you want to build something big you need to put in the work.