Inhouse or Outsource?
As a digital marketing agency we often get asked to manage social media accounts for clients yet the very nature of “social” media suggests direct communications between two parties in an informal, consumer-based setting. We all know in practice that big consumer brands and niche suppliers operate hugely successfully online, working twitter, running Facebook competitions etc. and in many cases specialist social media marketers manage these accounts for them.
But if you’re an SME with limited resources or if you operate on a B2B basis, manufacturing components for medical devices, for example, should you manage your own social media marketing or should it be outsourced? And what kind of support might a Digital Marketing Agency offer?
How long is a piece of social media string?
There’s no simple answer to these questions and each business will need to take a view but here’s some considerations to take into account when working out the best way forward. In general our experience would suggest that for smaller companies and B2B manufacturers, the best way forward is to manage social media marketing internally however this can be supported highly effectively by an agency like Inspiration who can help in a variety of ways;
- Social Media Set-Ups; these can be reviewed and edited where necessary and new profiles can be added where recommended. One mistake we often see is that the personal account of the CEO or Marketing manager is set-up but no corporate profile exists. Also often key staff don’t link to the corporate profile. Another area to consider is what social media accounts you should have; if you don’t maintain them it can look worse than if you don’t have them! These types of issues can be easily addressed, once they are identified and recommendations are documented.
- Content Marketing; social media marketing feeds off content and I don’t know how often I have heard a client say that “nothing happens in my business – it’s not possible to come up with fresh content week in week out.” Well actually – I don’t care if you make widgets or are paid to watch paint dry; it’s always possible to develop fresh content and this is where outsourcing can really help drive your Digital Marketing activity. Content creation is a skill not everyone has and optimising the content for google is just as important as creating it, in this context. A Digital Marketing Agency will use content specialists to develop content for you – in our case under our Monthly Marketing Support programme we typically write 3 articles x 500 words for each client. This content can then be used on blogs, social media, for email marketing, in print. Topics covered can include upcoming industry events, new product development, interviews with key staff, client testimonials, quality standards, industry regulations, case studies and more – there’s no end to the amount of content that can be produced – trust me on this as I’m doing it as we speak!
- Hootsuite Syndication; the free version of this tool allows you to post updates once and they are automatically published across 3 social media platforms (for B2B companies this is often LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter or Google+). Realistically it’s an easy way to manage all your social media marketing and if you were operating in a consumer-faced business, it would not be sufficiently targeted for each social media audience. However for B2B companies and SME’s who may be tight on resources, it’s a great way to be seen to be active online and that can be achieved with minimal effort.
Who should manage the day-to-day Social Media Comms?
Ideally you’d be operating in the context of a digital marketing strategy and resourcing online marketing activity would have been considered in the light of your strategic approach. However if you’re considering this initially in terms of a tactical role, here’s a few thoughts on the right person for the job;
Is there anyone inhouse who’s good at writing? Clients often make the mistake of thinking a technical person is required to manage the social media accounts yet someone who engages well with your customer base and can write great content is the ideal candidate to manage this activity – and let’s be honest that’s not usually the IT bods!
Someone who enjoys online interaction and can represent the company well – knowing when to escalate queries, comments etc – is your best bet; it can be very motivating for a member of the team to take responsibility for the social media marketing as performance such as growth in followers, likes, customer engagement etc is transparent. If you hand this work over to someone interested in digital marketing – and upskill them through training to manage these accounts; you may well retain an important member of staff on top of improving your business’s digital visibility.
However don’t forget to take the important first steps; decide what social media you are going to maintain, sort out your profiles, upskill your internal resources, and make sure you have content creation covered off.
Now….look forward to enjoying the results of your efforts and knowing at last; you have a practical, hands-on solution for your social media marketing; you’ve nailed it!
Useful further useful tips for Social Media Marketing https://inspiration.ie/tips-for-businesses-using-social-media-as-a-marketing-tool/