Episode 4 – Outsourcing your Social Media – Good Idea or Bad?

The concept of outsourcing Social Media is relatively new, but it’s happening, with approximately 25% of large and mid-sized business owners currently outsourcing (SocialMediaExaminer.com). The real question is what MUST you keep in-house and what can you safely hand off to a 3rd party?

In this issue of The Voice, Jud Rasmussen discusses the subject with Dave Hale – the founder and CEO of Ottawa-based Soshal Group, a rapidly growing ‘Social Media engagement agency’.

Produced at the MediaStyle Studio at The CodeFactory.

Comments

  1. Danny Starr says:

    I think the REAL myth is that communities DON’T need management. The reality is that communities need some level of management, otherwise you’ll run into a situation where you see the typical Power Law which states 90% don’t participate (lurk), 9% sometimes participate and about 1% are considered active. More info http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2009/03/power-laws.html

    Given this, it’s not hard to see how a community may need some “help” in changing that distribution otherwise communities of even thousands of people will only have a few handfuls of active participants.

    The other point is that I believe the real opportunity is not in the nuts and bolts of running a company’s social media presence but in helping firms orient themselves in the fast movie world of social media and then integrating it into their business.

    We are by nature social beings so I will tell a company that if you’re not social, you’re not hiring the right people. The problem is that a firm’s inherent abilities to be social are often held back by old views of the business environment and old management thinking.

    I think the best thing those people that sell social services to businesses can do is help the company change their view and then step back.

    Great discussion on this episode and this is a fascinating topic.

  2. Bad Idea. A good business will get their hands dirty, and try to figure out what their community needs. Relying on a 3rd party, who doesn’t have intimate knowledge of your company, is a recipe for disaster.

    Plus, it’s cheaper in the long run to train an employee, and have them manage SM in house. A third party won’t be around when crap hits the fan. Every sector in a company needs to have a finger on what people are saying online. Not just one person, and certainly not a third party. If a SM campaign is going to be effective, it needs to be implemented from top to bottom in a company. It’s not a one man show. Unless a third party is working exclusively with your company, they won’t do as good of a job.

    If you absolutely must, rely on the third party in a training capacity. Third parties don’t care about your business as much as you do, so why give them the keys to the castle.

  3. Thanks for the feedback to the podcast Danny and Joshua. I think you both make valid points! I think a lot of it comes down the size of an organization. Smaller companies are not outsourcing, and that term still needs to be better defined, as much as larger companies and there are numerous reasons for that…but I believe one of those reasons is that smaller companies WANT to be using SM (sales and brand growth), whereas many (I’m generalizing) larger companies feel like they HAVE to be using it. We could list out a slew of reasons (i.e. building a brand versus managing/protecting a brand) as to why this is the case. Either way, it will be interesting to see how Soshal Group, and other ‘outsource’ type of companies do. I think a greater percentage of larger companies will outsource portions of their SM/Community Management and that smaller companies, where every cent counts, will continue to keep it in house.

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