It is practically universally accepted, that every business would benefit from a good quality social media presence in todays age. If cost was not a factor what business would not have a social media presence?
Alas cost is a factor, and a big one at that. I was recently speaking to a group of lawyers about social media in legal firms, and an interesting question was asked by a less than convinced attendee. Her question was “would you suggest if we are not likely to commit the resources to having a high quality on-line presence, should we shut down our profiles altogether” What I found interesting was the perception that social media was a “take it or leave it” option for any business.
The reality is if you cannot afford to have a high quality social media presence then you probably should not be in business at all.
We can have an in house person in charge of the businesses social media program, we either commit some of their daily time within the business or we employ them full time if it is justified. Full time or part time it is a cost in salary or part of their salary. The alternative is to outsource.
There is no shortage of social media management companies ready to sign us up to one of their packages. Rarely have I seen a cheap outsourced package deliver a high quality social media presence. Just today I was speaking during an interview and this issue came up. The company in question had recently outsourced some of their content creation, and found that they spent just as much time editing “to get it right” the content before it was used that they might as well have written it themselves.
That is not to say that this cannot be outsourced and get a high quality product in return, it just is not likely you can do that on the cheap. We get what we pay for! I often speak with business owners who say “yes I know we should have an on-line presence but none of our current team have the skills to do this, we have decided to outsource” Where the conversation get’s interesting is after I ask “why” they are going to outsource, instead of training one of their current team or employing someone who is already an expert. Quite often the answer is along the lines of “outsourcing is better because we are only prepared to spend x dollars per month. I usually respond by asking this simple question.
Never once has anyone told me they insure to a budget, they always assess need and insure adequately. Once framed in this way these same business owners usually rethink how they intend to approach outsourced social media.
Outsourcing does not mean you can just leave it to someone else. When we find a good, reliable person or business to partner with keep in mind it will take them some time to get it right. You should still be assisting with constant feed back and edits until they align with your voice, or the way you want your business represented. Nobody will ever understand your business like you or your in house team do. Outsourcing means investing time and money to train a marketing company to understand your business.
Once you weigh this investment of time and money in an outsource company against investing time and money in training or employing an in house option, the total cost for both may surprise you.