Outsourcing Companies - The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Social Media
Getting outside help is a good idea, especially if it keeps you from making blunders which could negatively impact your image and reputation. It can also help you short cut the route from absolutely square one to gaining the benefits and return on investment that you look for.
There is a danger though in that many companies are not just looking for help but looking for outsourcing companies to outsource all their activity onto an outside agency that is not integrated into the company but still representing them in social media.
Social Media can generate a vast audience in a short space of time if done properly. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon in this market via outsourcing companies. Specialist outsourcing companies will be able to get your company or brand name recognised within a short space of time generating increase in sales of services provided.
Consultants should focus on training you or your in house staff, or helping you recruits someone with appropriate skills who can join the company and learn its culture and processes. In my view the consultants job is to get the company to the point where the consultant is hardly needed any more, apart from to be on call when there is a question or issue that needs their help, or when there are new developments and changes that need to be brought to the clients attention.
Points to Consider:
- External people do not have all the facts – There is a limit to how much you can train someone who is outside your organization and more than likely sat in an entirely different building. If they are constantly checking information and requesting answers, how much time are you going to save?
- You could be locked in or even held hostage – The deeper you get into outsourcing the harder it might become to extricate yourself and take it in house. Can you be sure that if the relationship with your outsourcer goes bad that you can continue as if nothing has happened? You might find your following is not your audience at all, or that with a few clicks they can make you look very bad indeed. The best way to overcome this is ensure you have short rolling contracts, most outsourcing companies now have 30 day contracts to help the company not get tied down.
- Outsourcers are not empowered to make decisions or take action - If someone contacts someone within your organization with a problem they can usually get the issue sorted pretty quickly. An outsourcer on the other hand might have limited options or be little help outside of their “script”. They may pitch ideas but never let any outsourcing companies employee dictate your company affairs.
- Company culture should be communicated accurately – It is hard to communicate a company culture that you are not part of. In this sense using outsourcing companies can be hard for current employees to communicate with as there may be language barriers or different ethical views.
- Internal staff has more motivation – When you work for a company you feel more ownership and loyalty than someone who is outside and detached.
- Industry terms and details can confuse outsourcers – Customers of the company, media contacts and real niche geeks will all use the industry jargon and shorthand. How much of this can the outsourcer pick up, and will they be convincing?
- A large benefit of social media is networking – If someone is only there to look like they are engaging a niche, then your company will not get the full networking benefits that social media provides. Do you hire an actor to go to industry events and exhibitions for you?
- You might risk your brand on the communication of a freelancer - Can your outsourcer be trusted to say and do the right thing when it counts?
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