Outsourcing your social media marketing is not an easy decision. No one knows your business better than you.
On the other hand, you don’t have the time to manage every single notification, much less work 365 days a year.
Use this guide to decide if outsourcing your social media marketing to a third party is the best solution.
You’re (Probably) Doing It Wrong
First of all, let’s get down to brass tacks. And it’s ugly (sorry).
Companies often *think* they’re doing social media well, but aren’t.
Go ahead, take a look. Many brands are merely shouting at their social media followers with sales-y pitches and promos.
In addition, a jaw-dropping 89% of social media requests go unanswered by brands.
And as we pointed out in our recent post about the cost of DIY social media, social media expectations often exceed reality.
Hence, there’s not enough time, focus or commitment to social media efforts, leaving a bare-bones presence online.
Or, a lack of interest in real results from the higher-ups makes proving return on investment difficult.
Bottom line, there are plenty of reasons companies decide to outsource their social media efforts.
You are not alone in making this decision!
Why Brands Outsource
Most importantly, you’ll want to take a good long look at your social media marketing needs.
Try and identify what the gaps are. What are the most difficult tasks for you and your team to achieve?
The pain points we hear the most include:
- Lack of time – Internal teams don’t have time to invest time in recruiting someone, training someone, or even just managing the daily responsibilities that come with social media marketing.
- Little resources/knowledge – Many companies we work with don’t have a marketing department, much less a social media expert on hand.
- Cost – Not only do companies not have a department, team, or person with social media skills, they can’t afford to pay the average yearly salary of $96,267 for a social media manager.
Study after study shows that time is the number one reason brands choose to outsource.
If any part of managing your social media is too cumbersome, it’s time to take the next step and consider outsourcing your social media marketing.
Option 1: Hybrid Teams
One option to consider as you start this journey is a hybrid team.
These teams allow internal team members to work with outsourced team members and accomplish all of the tasks required to succeed.
Hybrid teams are a growing trend among companies that decide to outsource to a third party.
This is because even the companies that handle most of their social in-house have issues — especially as it relates to social being a 24/7 job.
Bringing in an outside person or team of people often allows companies and brands …
- New processes and perspectives
- A fresh approach
- Rapport & industry experience
If you already have some social media personnel, processes, or best practices in place, you may want to see how you can fill the gaps with a hybrid team.
Option 2: Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing Entirely
Companies that aim for high efficiency often decide to hire outside for any skills they’re missing.
This is easily the case with social media marketing because:
- Finding/hiring top-tiered, experienced roles is expensive
- Marketing tasks involving social media are time-consuming
- Social media algorithms, strategies, and tactics change often
- The desired skills are often “specialty skills” (like advertising or copywriting)
As a result, brands seek help with an array of social media efforts, according to a recent report by Simply Measured.
Three Obvious Benefits Of Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing
Compared to hiring an employee, outsourcing your social media marketing can be much more cost-effective.
With B Squared Media, for example, you get a whole team of people rather than just one employee, and for 50%+ less than one average social media manager will cost you.
2) Plug-and-Play Processes
A third-party social media marketing agency/person will have tried-and-true processes in place to help you improve efficiency.
A huge benefit to outsourcing your social media marketing means your new partner will come to the table with researched-backed workflows for repeatable results.
Social media roles require an incredible amount of skills.
And many of these are “special” skills, like:
- Audience development
- Creative and/or technical know-how
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Advertising certifications (example: Google AdWords certified)
- Analytics, and trend & pattern recognition
Outsourcing your social media marketing will allow you to cherry pick team members who wield these special skills.
And often, you’re saving time by allowing your partner to use their resources for finding and hiring these skilled workers.These are the 3 biggest benefits of outsourcing your social media marketing.Click To Tweet
Now, Some Homework
Finally, before you start interviewing potential partners, there are a few questions you should work on internally.
Homework, if you will.
Answer each of these questions thoroughly:
- What markets does your company operate in/want to operate in?
- Who are your target customers? What are their goals, motivations, needs?
- Which products/services of yours meet those goals/motivations/needs?
- Identify your USP (unique selling proposition).
- How do you differentiate; how do you connect that to what matters most to your customers?
- What is your pricing model and does that model create benefits or negatives for your business?
- Who are your competitors?
- Where do your target customers buy (and where do you promote your products/services)?
- What is working/not working with your current social media marketing strategy?
- Is there anything specific preventing you from executing/achieving your strategy?
Notice how customer-focused these questions are?
Helpful hint: social media marketing should be extremely customer-minded. 😉
15 Example Interview Questions
When outsourcing your social media marketing, it’s important to get a feel for how your partner operates.
These 20 questions will help you understand if they’re the right fit:
- Tell me about your experience.
- How does your team integrate with ours? What do some of the processes look like?
- What types of industries do you currently work with? (ask for referrals!)
- Which social media platforms do you manage for your clients?
- What do you think of our current social media efforts?
- How often are reports delivered? Which metrics are most important to you?
- How often will we discuss our social strategy and goal progress?
- Which social media channels do you think we should be using?
- What tools do you use?
- Do your services include using social media as a tool for customer service?
- How will we determine goals and key performances indicators?
- How will we generate leads and sales through our efforts?
- Give me examples of similar industry clients you have worked with.
- How do you handle negative comments or reviews on social media?
- What deliverables can we expect during our agreement period (and their frequency)?
If you want the answers “cheat sheet” for some of the above questions, see our post on interviewing social media agencies.
When It’s Time To Sign
While it may feel like you’ve crossed the finish line once you’ve made a decision and hired someone, you’re not done.
Surprisingly, you need to agree to your agreement!
You’d be shocked to know how many people sign on the dotted line without reading.
I have a few tips from experience that should help you understand what to look for.
- Carefully read your agreement before making a hiring decision; you should be able to get a proposal beforehand
- Verify the payment terms
- Understand non-disclosure language or ask if your partner provides this
- Know what the timeframe and process is for onboarding you/your team
- Confirm the protocol for ending, renewing, or pausing an agreement
Lastly, your partner should do this, but if they don’t, schedule a kickoff meeting.
It can take place in person or online depending on everyone’s location. But essentially, you should meet with your account manager or team liaison so everyone can get acquainted.
Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing
To conclude, outsourcing your social media marketing can be a daunting decision.
It’s a personal call and a lot of thought should go into it. Even I will tell you that it’s not right for everyone!
If you’re seriously considering outsourcing, take a look at our free consultation page. I’m more than happy to spend 30 minutes on the phone with you walking you the process.
We also have a few case studies you may want to review.
What are your biggest questions about outsourcing your social media marketing? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll give my honest feedback!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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