To Outsource, Or Not To Outsource your Social Media

“Should I outsource my social media?” is one of the most popular question that a lot of businesses ask these days. The truth is there are many things that factor in and you’ll to look at them before considering making any decision about outsourcing social media.

The first thing I want to clarify is that social media outsourcing comes in many shapes and sizes. It’s important to realize that just because a social media service provider offers a specific package or arrangement for their services, doesn’t mean those are the only options out there. There are lots of ways you can work with social media professionals to make your social media effective and it doesn’t have to just be someone posting for you. I think the reason many ask if they should outsource social media is because they are overwhelmed. They don’t understand how the tools work, they don’t know where they should post, they don’t know what to post, and they don’t know how much time and money they should invest. So, they find someone to post for them and all they get is joy of paying someone else to be as scattered and random in their postings as they would’ve been doing it by themselves.

However I would say yes, I believe most small businesses and entrepreneurs need external help with their social media. This would enable business owners to really focus on what’s important and that’s to generate revenue and find new customers, but I don’t think you should hire someone else to simply post for you. Rather, the scenario looks much more like a partnership than an outsourcing agreement. 

So, how to find the right help and relationship to have with a social media company? Ask yourself the following questions to determine what you need:

  • How big is your company?

    Are you a one-woman (or man) shop and everyone knows it? Or, are you a small business, but customers interact with several employees on a regular basis? Regardless of size, social media needs to be transparent. Don’t ever use a ghost poster and intentionally hide that person’s identity or appear as if they are someone else. If multiple people post under one profile, they should always sign their posts with their names or have separate profiles so they can be identified. You don’t want to turn people off by losing the personal connection they can feel by knowing who they’re interacting with. If you’re a one-person shop, it doesn’t make very much sense to have anyone else posting for you. Your customers come to you for a reason and so you should always be the one posting. You need to interact with your customers personally to make the connections with them that draw them to your business.

  • Do you like doing social media?

    If you absolutely can’t stand social media and get frustrated with it frequently, you probably shouldn’t be the one posting. Definitely don’t do it because you “have to.” If you aren’t enthused about it, get someone else to post for your company, but make sure they are using the language you want them to use. Make it very transparent that someone else is posting and make it very clear they are the delivery person of the information that’s being transferred. They should be personable and friendly. One important note, however, is that most people that say they hate social media are actually scared, overwhelmed, and confused by it. If that’s you, simply take the time to learn the tools, then learn the strategy, piece-by-piece. I think you’ll find your feelings about it will change drastically. Don’t expect to learn it all overnight. Break it down into very small pieces and go step-by-step.

  • Do you know the tools?

    Sometimes I work with people who are excited to get started in social media, but they don’t know how to log into their Facebook account. Social media services are different than accounting services. Since it is social, after all, you need to take personal ownership in it. As much as some may not like it, you shouldn’t outsource your social media just because you don’t want to learn the tools. You don’t have to become an expert at it, but finding a social media partner is more about making it efficient and effective, not just dumping it so you don’t have to do the work. Would you ever dump your customer service department or sales staff to a call center in China just because you don’t understand how the process works or you don’t want to learn how? That’s not a very good strategy in my opinion. If you don’t know how to log into your accounts, that is not the time to outsource any of your social media. Think of it differently; once you learn the tools and know how to use them, THEN you can graduate to finding a partner to help create efficiency. 

  • Do you have a strategy?

    Many social media novices (and even those that have been around for a while) post as though they’re shooting an arrow with a blindfold on. They can’t see their target, and their posts are often random, inconsistent and vague, going in all sorts of directions. It doesn’t make sense to add more people in (or outside) your business posting with the same approach. All you’ll have is a mine field of random arrows flying around. Ouch! Watch out! It would make more sense to hire a company to help develop your strategy, rather than to handle your posting. Find someone who will help establish your goals and objectives, create a content list and library, and create an editorial calendar to establish timing and frequency for posting content that is relevant and appealing to your audience. (Check out my free Social Media Calendar Template).

    Make sure the company you hire takes the time to learn about your company, your customers, and asks you pressing questions about who you’d like to serve and what you want to achieve by serving that group of people. This is the core of establishing a solid marketing strategy. Don’t waste time shooting arrows that land all over the place and especially don’t multiply that by outsourcing. It’s more important and wise to invest in a partner to help you strategize and plan. You know the company you’re working with is good if they ask questions that are hard to answer or require you to consider new options. Sometimes you’re too close to your business to see things with a clear view.

  • Is posting the problem, or is creating content?

    Another reason business people outsource social media is because they don’t know what to say and think a social media agency is going to know the answers. While a good agency may how to find good content, you have to carefully evaluate what they’re doing for you. Are they simply going to post content that you have to provide? Are they going to provide content, and if so, do they know what is relevant and interesting to your audience? 

    Maybe, instead of worrying about finding someone to post for you (which only takes a few minutes a day if you put the right system in place), you should find someone who can help determine what to post. That includes creating lists of content, finding content, establishing the ideal mix of promotional and informative content, and identifying what your audience wants to hear. Once you’ve done all of this, you need to create an editorial calendar and schedule when you’ll post and when you’ll curate more content. After that, actually posting is simple as pie and doesn’t take much time at all.

  • How much time can you devote to posting?

    One of the most common pieces of advice floating around in the social media space is how much time a person should spend on social media per day. Everyone has a different answer for this, but the real answer is you should spend as much time as is necessary to be effective. That number isn’t going to be the same from business to business. You should also use your time in the most efficient way possible. I recommend creating a schedule that works for you. Don’t just set a timer and spend 30 minutes hanging out online. Use your time with intention and work through a list of tasks to complete. That will tell you how long to spend each day. If it takes longer than you have time, find the tasks that can be handled by someone else (like responding to very basic comments or inquiries).

    Don’t forget to include the time it takes to plan your social media and find new content. Weed out the things that can be done by someone else and hire a new member of your team, or find an external team to help.

  • How complex are the questions people ask about your business?

    Often, no one knows our businesses better than we do. It’s normal to feel that no one else can answer your customer’s questions better than you. This mindset will make life extremely difficult as your business grows. While it may be true, you have to put systems in place to remove yourself from your business and let it operate independently from you. (For a great book on this topic, read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth.)

    Likewise, the same is true with social media. There’s a lot of interaction that needs to happen long before your customers will get to the deep questions only you can answer. It’s definitely possible to get help responding to comments and simply being social with your followers. Then, any tough questions can be forwarded to you for followup.

I hope you can see how outsourcing social media should be more than just hiring someone to post on your behalf. It really depends on where you are in understanding social media and how to utilize an outside resource to maximize efficiency while aligning with a strategy. Hiring help should be thought of as a way to improve social media and not a way to reduce the work you have to do. Otherwise, I believe you are just wasting money. You need to find someone who will work with you in the ways that make the most sense for your business and will give the best results. Don’t settle for cookie-cutter packages!

What are some ways you can hire a social media partner to help you improve? You can hit the “Work With Me?” section of this site and find out more.


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Packing up my stuff…

Rendition Digital, Inc. is travelling to london on the 16th of April to particpate in an event, where the focus will be about understanding the issues affecting the publishing industry today, as well as engage with colleagues, question expert panels and discover new ways of applying your skills to your work. The London Book Fair, 16-18 April 2012, is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.

Taking place every spring in the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital, it is a unique opportunity to hear from authors, enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and explore innovations shaping the publishing world of the future.

The London Book Fair brings you direct access to customer, content and emerging markets.

When: 16 – 18 April 2012
Where: Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road, London, SW5 9TA

I’m thrilled as it will be my first time in London.

After our event in the United Kingdom, we’ll need to fly to Pasadena, California to attend another gathering about Online Social Media Games for kids. The event provides insight into the latest strategies, technologies and techniques. We bring an incredible amount of brain power together under one roof. The show is a ‘must-attend’ event for entertainment and media companies looking to compete in the digital space.

Digital Kids® 2012 takes place April 25-26, 2012 in Los Angeles at the Pasadena Convention Center. Now in our 6th year, Digital Kids 2012 is focused on tools and strategies for reaching the constantly connected kids and youth.

See you guys in a few weeks.

LinkedIn App for your Handheld Devices

LinkedIn is one of popular social media. Now, you can stay connected with your account on your android with LinkedIn app for android. The current version is LinkedIn 2.0.2 android. You can download the app for free via android market. Here is the detail about LinkedIn 2.0.2.

LinkedIn 2.0.2 apk android

LINKEDIN 2.0.2 APK ANDROID

Get on-the-go access to your professional network with LinkedIn for Android. Find and connect with more than 120M members worldwide, read the latest industry news, keep up-to-date with your groups, and share content with your network from anywhere. This is official app from LinkedIn for your android phone or tablet.LinkedIn 2.0.2 android brings some new features and improvements. Here are the new features:

  • Support for Move to SD card!
  • Fixed connection photos so they now update as part of Connection Sync.
  • Sharing to Twitter is back! Anything you share or re-share from the app can be sent to Twitter.
  • In-app notifications for new messages and invitations.
  • Various bug fixes and tweaks based on user feedback.

DOWNLOAD LINKEDIN 2.0.2 APK ANDROID

Now, if you want to stay connected with your LinkedIn account on your android, download Download LinkedIn 2.0.2 APK from the link below.

Download LinkedIn 2.0.2 via Android Market

The Top 10 Fact…

The Top 10 Facts About Successful Networking

Networking doesn’t have to be as hard as we think it might be. These highly practical ideas will help you be a better networker than ever, whether you are promoting your business, looking for a job, or simply seeking information on any topic at all.

1. Networking is not just about getting a job, or selling a product or service.

Its main purpose is to give or get useful information. As such, it is one of the best research tools we have available to us.

2. It doesn’t have to be slimy.

We’ve all been bombarded by high-pressure salespeople trying to sell us things we don’t want or need. Even if we do want or need some of those things, we refuse to buy because of the offensive sales tactics. In today’s successful networking model, we look for ways to help other people, and we don’t ignore people who may not be in our target market.

3. Networking gets harder when we feel more desperate.

Others can sense when your sole purpose is to make a sale or find a job. If you change your objective to taking a single step closer to your goal, the stakes won’t seem as high and you will feel more relaxed, less desperate.

4. Never put anyone you are networking with on the spot – take the pressure off everyone.

The easiest way to do this is to ask general questions rather than direct questions. Ask about “business owners like you,” “companies like yours,” “in your industry,” instead of seeking information specific to them.

5. Replace, “Do you know anyone who…?” with, “Whom do you know that…?”

When you ask a question that has a yes or no answer, it’s easier for your audience to say no and then stop thinking, and yet we all have a desire to help people. Asking, “Whom do you know at XYZ Company who could answer my questions about ___________?” will encourage problem solving rather than an easy “No,” even if you don’t use the word “whom!”

6. Networking is happening all the time, even when you don’t think it is.

We’ve all heard that you never have a second chance to make a first impression. This is not to say we shouldn’t be ourselves, but to remind us that everything a person sees in us speaks as loudly as our words. The second part of this is that everyone you know could be in a position to help you reach your goals, even if you don’t know how they can.

7. Your results will improve if you decide in advance exactly what you want to gain from an event.

Find who will be there. Do you want to meet three new people? Learn more about volunteer opportunities in an organization or region? Find a better mechanic? Look for volunteers for an organization near and dear to you? All are possible if you keep in mind why you’re there. With that said, be sure to remain open to the unexpected and give yourself permission to take another path when it presents itself!

8. Networking works best when we build relationships.

It shouldn’t be used just to look for sales opportunities or try to promote ourselves. If we are so focused on “the next sale” (putting dinner on the table), we come across as tense, and may fail to build relationships for the long term. We may even overlook a person whose own network could generate huge benefits to us over time.

9. What you get back doesn’t necessarily come back from the same people you’ve helped in the past.

Those you help will spend time saying good things about you. As word gets around, other people will seek you out. As your good reputation grows, other people will help you, and you will reach your goals, helped sometimes only indirectly by those you’ve helped in the past. Even though this is very true these days, some of your contacts may still expect something in return for their help. Be sure you know this before you disappear into the sunset!

10. Quality is so much better than quantity!

Meeting 2-3 people at an event and learning more about their needs and challenges is far more valuable than collecting (or giving away) 20 business cards. Understanding a person and his or her business will give you good insight as to what you can do for them when an opportunity arises – be it information, a link to another person, or an offer of working for them as an employee.

About the Submitter:

This piece was originally submitted by Alice Wojcio, Training Consultant and Personal and Business Coach, who can be reached at alice@advtrain.com or visited on the web.

Copyright 2000-2004 CoachVille, LLC. May be distributed if full attribution is given and copyright notice is included.