Why Outsourcing Social Media Is Working for Businesses
As Hootsuite has pointed out, having someone else handle your social marketing can result in everything from an added layer of bureaucracy for customers to navigate to slower response times to consumer inquiries.
In social media outsourcing, as in every area of business, it's important to pick partners wisely — and to follow sensible practices in managing your relationships with those vendors.
5 Keys to Success
Success in outsourcing social marketing boils down to five considerations:
1. Setting realistic goals: Before talking to prospective vendors, executives need to establish what they want to achieve from a social campaign and how outreach in this realm can help achieve them it. Up-front research is key to know what's doable.
2. Doing due diligence: A relationship with a key vendor can bear certain similarities to marriage. As any divorce lawyer can attest, bad marriages can wreak havoc on the lives of everyone involved. It's thus vital to do as much up-front checking on prospective vendors as possible.
3. Being reasonable: As CIO.com has pointed out, hardball business tactics (e.g., beating vendors down on price or paying bills slowly) can lead to hard feelings — and problems down the road. Maintaining good relationships with vendors can lead to better results for both parties.
4. Using a carrot and stick: In social media, as in any area of outsourcing, it makes sense to pay for performance. This means structuring the vendor's compensation so it has an incentive both to work only in the client's best interests and to help achieve business goals.
5. Getting everything in writing — including an escape hatch: If client and vendors both leave extensive paper trails on their key interactions, it provides both parties with strong motivations to live up to their sides of the bargain, along with a quick and fair way to resolve disagreements. Every vendor agreement should provide the customer with some type of "kill switch" to get out of the deal if things aren't working out.
Related story: Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Brand?