Insource or Outsource Social Media?

by Jay Deragon on 04/29/2010

It seems as though more and more companies are looking to hire internal social media managers and strategist. The problem with this approach is that the field of experienced and knowledgeable resources is very limited given the short period of time social dynamics have arisen.

What Is More Effective?

Outsourcing wedged its foot in the door as a cost-cutting measure, but it’s increasingly viewed as a strategic planning and business outcomes tool.

According to an Accenture survey of more than 800 executives in the United States and Europe, cost savings are still a key outsourcing benefit, but the additional business controls generated by outsourcing are driving the trend to external providers.

That increased control shows up almost immediately with 25% of respondents reporting first-day improvements in business processes.

The most frequently cited improvements included better ability to plan, higher levels of operational reliability and knowledge assets, and more rapid implementation of new strategies and initiatives.

The trend toward deriving broader business benefits from outsourcing stems from both increased maturity and experience with the process and, the spread of outsourcing to develop and deploy effective social media strategies from competent knowledge resources.

More companies are turning to outside sources for social technology operations, learning and training, human resources, accounting and financial services, marketing, branding, web development as well as customer relationship management. 43% of the executives surveyed prefer outsourcing arrangements over hiring internal social media managers and strategist.

The effect of moving outsourcing into multiple business process has brought a wider range of business experience and insight to bear on the ever changing landscape of social technology.

The trend looks to be long-lasting, with more than 80% of the survey respondents expressing commitment to permanent outsourcing of at least one key social media business function.

True Cost Calculation

The true cost of using social media strategically is representative of having the right knowledge assets in place to effectively deploy strategies, initiatives and relevant measures to such efforts. Not doing the right things for the right reasons can cost you not only money but reputation and brand equity. Chose wisely and at least consider the value of outsourcing. That is outsourcing to the right knowledge assets.

Thinking that you need to hire someone to manage your social media efforts is like saying I need someone to communicate for the company. Communications is everyone’s job. Don’t believe it? Soon you’ll find out everyone is communicating and unless you have the right strategy, policy, education and guidance they may be saying the wrong thing to the right people.

Giving people the knowledge of what, when, how, who, where and why to communicate is more effective than establishing a position that simply communicates.

Knowledge usually comes from the outside but it can be transferred inside. It is less costly to obtain new knowledge and transfer it inside than to hire the wrong knowledge and bring it inside.

{ 28 comments }

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