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Social Media Marketing : To In-house or to Outsource
 

Social Media Marketing : To In-house or to Outsource

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'Social Media Marketing: To do in-house or to outsource?' is one of the most common questions being discussed today among marketing professionals. If you are serious about leveraging Social Media for ...

'Social Media Marketing: To do in-house or to outsource?' is one of the most common questions being discussed today among marketing professionals. If you are serious about leveraging Social Media for your organization, you must check this insightful article to answer the critical question!

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    Social Media Marketing : To In-house or to Outsource Social Media Marketing : To In-house or to Outsource Document Transcript

    • GUEST COLUMN BY PRADEEP CHOPRA To outsource or not? Social media isn’t technology. You can’t just outsource it and expect magic. A lot of it is best done in-houseThe benefits of social media and why you need to do it are no longer relevant engagement and responses to conversations for aquestions. What matters is how you do it. When companies get started on this, brand are ideally done in-house.one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is whether social media should Social media isn’t a jazzy, new-age initiative. Socialbe outsourced, or done in-house? There is no one right answer, of course. Instead, media marketing strategy needs to be aligned withunderstanding the pros and cons of both choices will lead to the best one for you. organisation’s overall marketing strategy. An external Over the last two years, we’ve had the opportunity to interact with more than agency or a consultant can productively contribute in1,500 marketers from 250-plus organisations thanks to our social media work- this process but key marketing people within the organ-shops. This has been an extremely representative audience—ranging from a isation should own the strategy. For example, a globalone-man company to a mega brand with more than 150,000 employees. Through technology company we worked with last year got itsour interactions with them, we’ve learnt that the choice between in-house and formula just right. After attending one of our work-outsource is a function of two aspects—the kind of social engagement your shops, they brought us on as consultants. While wecompany needs, and the company’s understanding of social media. helped them refine their social media strategy, their As a thumb rule of sorts (mine), social media strategy, customer marketing team was the custodian.16 | INC. | febrUArY 2012 illUstrAtion bY shigil n
    • GUEST COLUMN Fundamentally speaking, the ultimate For large publishers, integrating social Most of all, creating a social media strat-objective of using social media is to build media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, egy comes from understanding the medium.relationships with customers. To do justice and LinkedIn into their websites can be If the organisation doesn’t have clarity onto the opportunity, people who understand another opportunity for driving engage- that, it makes sense to engage with a spe-the nerve of the customer are the best ones ment. This is an even more technology-ori- cialised agency, preferably one who hasto drive conversations with them, even on ented task and can be outsourced to an served clients in the same industry. Thesocial media. Your key marketers need to be external agency. same agency should be given the responsi-involved. Also, because customer engage- Also, there are a number of avenues such bility for executing the strategy. Socialment is a function of both the content (Face- as Facebook and LinkedIn advertising media is an immediate, constantly iterativebook wall posts, Twitter tweets), and the where social media can be categorised as process. Companies get flustered with theirability to initiate conversations, the person paid medium. Look at e-commerce compa- agencies because they seem to think theresponsible for driving this engagement nies. They are leveraging Facebook not just strategy is not consistent. You need to bemust understand the context. Most organi- for fan acquisition but also for driving prepared that strategies are likely to change.sations tend to treat social media as a tech- potential customers onto their websites. The key to getting that right is finding thenology-oriented function, asking their SEO Internet companies constitute around 20 right agency—quite a challenge in itself.(Search Engine Optimisation) teams to take per cent of our workshop participants and Keep in mind the skill you most need whenownership. But, what a good social media we’ve seen a significant increase in their you go scouting for an agency. The under-initiative needs is a joint leadership of their Facebook advertising budgets in the last six standing of social media channels relevantmarketing and customer relationship man-agement teams. A company’s understanding Managing your company’s reputation inthe online world involves multiple aspects:monitoring, analysing and responding tothe activity on various Social Media chan- of social media mostnels. While monitoring and analysing con- determines whether theyversations for a brand can be completelyoutsourced, responding to conversations should outsource or not.especially the sensitive ones must be man-aged in-house. It’s very difficult for an exter-nal entity to respond on your behalf and still months. Some of them are spending as to your business is vital. Say, if you are look-maintain your brand voice. much as `2 lakh a day on it. For a leading ing at leveraging video marketing, expertise Still there are aspects of social media that FMCG brand, while they had their internal in creating and promoting videos becomesyou can give out, such as developing the team to take care of content and conversa- critical. Similarly, if an application on Face-applications, media buying and content cre- tions on Facebook, as an agency we helped book is important for your strategy, theation. These are special skills that are difficult them acquire around a million fans. agency should have a strong in-house exper-to build in-house. For example, when it A company’s understanding of social tise or partnership with an apps company.comes to marketing on Facebook, develop- media most determines whether they Also, an agency’s experience in servinging applications is becoming very important. should outsource this skill or not. Many similar brands will be an advantage. ForSuccessful Facebook applications need well- companies who embark on a social media example, if you are a financial institution, anconceived concepts and creatives to be devel- initiative still don’t have an answer to “why agency that has served brands in the finan-oped and promoted. While your company social media”? It seems like an obvious ques- cial services vertical will be sensitive to themust take an active part in the concept stage, tion to have asked before starting out but dynamics of your industry. Even then, go forthe rest can be owned by a specialised social honestly a large number of these initiatives agencies which seem to have a well laid-outmedia agency. Content creation for social are still driven by ad-hoc impulses—pres- process for their campaigns. Remember—media can be specialised. It means using a sure from a competitor, or orders from a this isn’t maintenance outsourcing. Makevariety of mediums—videos, pictures, pre- boss who doesn’t want to be left behind. sure you enter into “partnerships” with yoursentations, blog posts and tweets. Videos If the benefits of social media are not agencies. Don’t use them just as vendors.certainly should be professionally produced clearly established internally, commitmentto make an impact. Time and time again, I from top management to allocate the right Pradeep Chopra is the CEO of Digital Vidyasee that companies underestimate the effort resources and appropriate budget will be (http://www.digitalvidya.com/) India’s premierit takes to build scalable content. They should limited. Moreover, without clear objectives, social media training company. He can be reachedbe urged to remember—social media is free the company won’t have the right metrics to at pradeep@digitalvidya.com and actively sharesbut social media marketing isn’t. measure campaign performance. his views on LinkedIn and Twitter. febrUArY 2012 | INC. | 17