In-House vs. Outsourced Social Media Management: Part I

You’ve established a solid social media presence that conveys information and delivers value to your customers and followers.  In turn, your program delivers a return on investment to your organization.  How do you continue to generate interest in your pages and posts?  Which steps should you take to maintain your competitive position and to keep your offerings current?  What methods will you adopt to grow your following?

Here’s another scenario:  you’ve launched a social media presence – either some time ago or just recently – and you don’t know where to begin.  You’ve secured a Twitter handle; your Facebook and LinkedIn pages have been created and published.  What’s next?  If you haven’t been posting or tweeting, what strategy will you follow?

The decision to manage your social media program in-house or to outsource it to a consultant can be complicated.  Making the right decision for your organization also depends on a variety of contributing factors:  budget and staff time top that list.  Following are some of the considerations you should bear in mind when evaluating which path is best for your program:

1)   Budget:  Many organizations have just entered into a new budget year.  Have adequate funds been earmarked to manage your program?  Can you afford to hire an independent consultant specializing in social media strategy and management?  Or does your management expect you to absorb the company’s social media activities into your day-to-day responsibilities?

2) Staff time and development:  Time (or lack of it) can unfortunately be one of the greatest hindrances to the success of a social media program, particularly for fledging  groups.  Does your organization have a full-time social media manager or is it a part of someone’s job description:  when time permits?  When deadlines loom, will you have time to 1)  stay current on social media trends  2)  monitor and post new content and 3)   gauge the success of your program?

3)     Organizational goals:   Does your leadership support or eschew social media?  Do you and your staff embrace social media as a marketing tool?  Has your organization successfully monetized its offerings via social media?

4)  Program viabilityCan you calculate the growth in your social media groups over the last 12 months?  How effective is your program:  do customers post and respond regularly?  Have you measured which campaigns are more effective than others?

5)     ROIHave your social media efforts delivered tangible results that contributed toward the expansion of your brand or the company’s bottom line?  Can you quickly name three positive gains that are a direct result of your social media program?   Or are you spending considerable time on your social media efforts with little growth or receptivity from your followers?

Stay tuned for Part II – next week!


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