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In-house VS Outsourcing Social Media Services

The question of whether to outsource a social media company or manage it in-house has been going around for some time now. Some start-up companies’ concerns are budgets and some don’t even know what social media is all about. I personally believe that in-house social media management is more effective, but this does not mean outsourcing is a bad idea. It all depends on where the brand stands. The points below will help you decide whether you should be outsourcing social media or not.

Does your brand NEED social media?
To get a fresh start, you need to understand the importance of social media in general. Some brands believe that social media might be one of the approaches for driving sales. Others think social media is used for spreading the word and getting your brand name out there, or is it just engagement? What is the purpose of getting into social media when it comes to your brand? I would personally advice brands to start meeting professionals from that industry and ask questions and do research. What you also need to do before proceeding into any social media plans is to make sure you carefully understand your goals and objectives. This also might require a social media consultant to do that for you. For example, why would you want to have your own iPhone application for your store? Your target audience might not be mobile users! That’s why you need somebody who can steer you in the right direction and make sure you are on the right path before it’s too late.

When do you outsource social media?
To outsource social media, brands must know that it is not cheap, yet worth the investment to see exactly how social media works. Social media companies are well equipped with monitoring tools, software and specialists who know exactly how to engage, find brand advocates and get new followers. So back to answer the question, I would personally say the best time to outsource is:

1. When you are a startup brand and have virtually zero presence online
2. If you just discovered that social media is the right approach for you, yet, you don’t have the right people to do it for you in-house
3. If your competitors are way ahead of the game
4. If your employees are not tech savvy and not familiar with technology

When do you start your in-house social media?
In-house social media might be the right approach for your business, so investing in a digital team that knows what social media is all about can do the job for you. They need to be tech savvy and creative. Social media is not just about engagement and getting your name out there, it’s about coming up with conceptual creative ideas of driving your brand personality online making it viral and well known. Here are some tips on when to start your in-house social media management:

1. If you have your own digital team
2. Hiring one experienced social media specialist managing different  industries online can do the job for you
3. If your brand is a known brand, then this could become easier for you
4. If you have a good creative team and content managers to generate unique content

When to shift from outsourcing to in-house management?
Some companies start off by outsourcing social media management, yet they monitor the progress and ask for weekly analysis and reports. Reports help brands decide if they can cut down cost and start off their own social media management. Some companies take months to understand the dynamics behind social media and spend more money outsourcing it until they understand exactly how it’s done. When the brand is fully capable and ready to take over, it is advised to do so.

My personal conclusion and advice
It’s true that nobody is a social media expert due to a fast evolving field. To catch up with social media you must be hungry to learn and stay updated with the latest trends. A good social media specialist is simply someone who can always deliver the latest approaches and trends. A successful social media campaign is establishing the right online personality for your brand and properly calculating ROI. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter…etc. can act as a customer support for your brand now.

Social media is a sensitive field that can be catastrophic if not dealt with properly. I always tell my clients that social media is not just the cherry on top. Today social media is important to consider and investing in it should be considered more serious.

It’s not about having thousands of followers to your brand, I would rather have 20 people “engaging” with my brand, because THOSE people are the brand advocates and THOSE people are the ones to spread the word for you.

What is your current situation when it comes to social media? Are you handling it well?