Do what you do best and outsource the rest. We’ve heard it before, but never more does it ring true than when embarking on a social media campaign. While they can be run in-house, it’s often the case that small businesses don’t have the resources or the know-how to manage their social media campaigns effectively.
As a result of this, new companies (vendors) are appearing at a rate of knots, offering a range of solutions to businesses which need help with their social media presence. At a most basic level, vendors offer to help companies establish a presence on various platforms (Facebook page, Twitter handle, Youtube channel, etc). At the other end of the spectrum, are the “full-service” solutions, where vendors take over every aspect of social media, encompassing the voice of the company, creating original content and engaging with consumers.
Lackluster or poorly executed social media campaigns can be brand damaging, so for companies who are unable to manage their efforts in-house, “full-service” vendors are invaluable. But the authentic consumer-company interaction was one of the initial allures of social media and if our interactions are now with an outsourced third party, are they as valuable to us?
Don’t we love social media, because when we tweet @FreshDirect to tell them how much we love their service, they tweet back and tell us we’ve made their day. And when we tweet @FedEx to tell them they’ve failed to pick up a package, a representative gets straight back to us to arrange a pick-up within the hour.
Maybe it doesn’t matter if the person at the other end of the screen, manning the Twitter handle or the Facebook page is a direct employee of the company we’re trying to engage with, as long as they’re giving us the responses we want to hear and actioning the things we need actioned.
What does matter is that the vendors who are managing a company’s social media campaign in its entirety, completely immerse themselves in the company culture, embracing the voice of the company and focus on establishing seamless escalation channels and delivering valuable feedback to the company.
Outsourcing ‘the rest’ can certainly work for social media, but only if we keep at the forefront the reason we fell in love with it in the first place; for its ability to quickly and transparently engage us in authentic conversations.