5 Reasons Why Brands Should Outsource Social Media

Brands are beginning to realize that outsourcing social media is a smart business decision.

Need to get a job done? Hire a gunslinger (or an agency)

They are tuning out the so-called “social media purists” who have been shouting from rooftops that social media must be an internal function.  Ridiculous, of course.

Just like other communications and marketing functions – such as public relations and advertising – social media often works best when turned over to outside experts while being managed internally by the brand.

There are a plethora of reasons for this.  Social media demands a lot of  time and resources because it requires planning and management, content creation, active engagement, syndication, monitoring and measurement.  Most brands simply don’t have the manpower or budgets to dedicate to social media (especially in these trying economic times).

So the best thing to do?  Outsource social media to an agency.

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Expertise

Marketers know marketing.  Public relations departments understand communications.  These skills don’t necessarily translate into social media expertise (although they certainly can help).  Many brands have simply assumed that marketing and PR departments can absorb all the functions necessary for social media.  But scripting videos, editing video footage, designing microsites and writing copy for status updates and blogs can fall outside of the expertise of the average PR professional or marketer.

Brands need experienced experts in social media. Doesn’t it make sense to hire an experienced blogger to help get the company blog off the ground?  Isn’t it logical to hire a video producer to help shoot executive videos?  And, of course, doesn’t it make sense to hire a social media consultant help create and implement a social media strategy for the company?

2. Speed

Hiring an experienced internal team takes time – often months.  Then it can take even more time for the new hires to get up to speed with the company culture, messaging and marketing and communications strategy.  Established agencies have all of these experts already on staff.  These consultants are trained to rapidly deploy because that’s what they do for living.  Agencies are used to moving fast – because it is part of their DNA.

3. Affordability

No one needs to be told that budgets are tight these days.  Many marketing and PR departments are running with skeleton staffs – and these people are out straight performing the tasks they were hired to do.  Adding a mountain of new work in the form of social media is not only unfair, but likely impossible to implement and manage.  Hiring agencies – as has been proven via PR and advertising – makes monetary sense.  Brands get the expertise and deep resources of an agency at a fraction of the cost of building a similar function in-house.

4. Global Resources

If a brand is wise and decides to use an outside agency – best to go with a big one. Large agencies work with start-ups and Fortune 500 brands. Big agencies provide global reach and access to enormous resources from crisis communications and public affairs to access to celebrities and specialized niche marketing – and all of it infused with digital and social media know-how.  Big agencies also have the latest equipment (from editing software to the latest in video cameras).  They specialize in coordinating global projects and campaigns and have connections and relationships all over the world. Plus they can grow as the brand grows.

5. Measurement

Measuring results is crucial for most brands. And agencies excel at providing the most up-to-date measuring technology.  Most firms have measurement and monitoring down to a science and can customize their approach with the needs of a brand.


Yes, You Can Outsource Social Media

Photo by Peasnap (via Flickr)

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8 Responses to “5 Reasons Why Brands Should Outsource Social Media”

  1. Great post. Totally agree. Except with point #5. Big agencies have not traditionally been quick at the learning curve that social media best practices requires. It is my experience that smaller agencies are infinitely ahead of the curve on this. Big isn’t always better. Big isn’t always smarter. All a client needs to do is do their due diligence when looking for an agency to hire. The best choice will be an agency – big or small – who is practicing what they preach. And that will be easily discernible.

    Excellent post – glad I stumbled across it.

    Shelly Kramer

  2. Hi Shelly:
    I think you mean point #4. But I agree with you that it is know-how – not size – that matters with social media.

    However, my point wasn’t that big agencies understand social media better – only that they have global resources and understand the regional differences in social media around the world.

    Smaller agencies usually don’t provide a global footprint so they can’t do social media in China or Southeast Asia. They don’t speak the languages and don’t understand the landscapes. Big agencies, however, can do that.

  3. Heh. I wonder if you’d have made point #4 before joining Weber? 😉

  4. Touche!

    I think I should have explained #4 in more detail (the bane of a blog post, perhaps?). But I expanded more on my thinking above in my reply to Shelly. I – in no way – meant to disparage small or mid-size agencies who do awesome work in social media.

  5. Why not teach the people at the brands to have the voice and execute the conversations? I don’t want to talk to JetBlue the logo, I want Morgan. People didn’t have conversations with Crocs, they spoke with George… I agree that agencies can do a lot, they cannot however carry a conversation on the behalf of a brand. If a brand doesn’t have the time or money to hire people to be an extension of who/what they are than why waste the money trying to explain it to an outsider… This has the potential for a great podcast – I love the controversy and look forward to hearing/learning/sharing more.
    Great post – lets chat and get Aaron in here too.

  6. Hi Brian:
    I’m not saying an agency should take over the role of official “social media spokesperson” anymore than I would say that they should hire an outsider as the official company spokesperson (although some companies do).

    My argument runs along the same lines as brands hiring out agencies and consultants for PR, advertising, CRM, legal, etc… Do we demand that brands do advertising inhouse? Is advertising done by an agency less “authentic” – whatever that means?

    But, yes, will be fun to debate in greater detail!

  7. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention that I’ve truly loved surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!


  1. Hello world! | Brandawakening's Blog - September 8, 2010

    […] 5 Reasons Why Brands Should Outsource Social Media (hightalk.net) […]

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