Thursday, June 14, 2012

Should You Out Source Your Social Media?

Usually No. You really could be foolish to do so. 

I say this even though I run a client's Twitter and Facebook Communities. Been doing it over two years now. We often make fun of Social Media Ninja's and Gurus who advise on doing this but have never done it for a Brand. Doing it for themselves doesn't count. Show me one community for a brand, built, run and operated by a Brogan or Solis. Yet you will listen to them about how to do social media?

Who should run the Social Media? The real answer? The top Dog. The top Dog should help and seriously spend time doing it. I suggest 1 day a week the CEO should do this. Or CMO. I don't care how big a company or how well paid they are. If they don't they are failing their company.

Why? Because they should see their customers up close. Their complaints. The things the Company does that impacts customer service, image, etc. Bask in the glory of compliments too. Nothing wrong with that.

The community I run is 99.9999% positive. And I have skin in the game. I am their Director of Marketing. I believe in their product. I believe in their future. I share my client's vision. I am their company when it comes to Social Media and Marketing.

But Chunk-n-Chip makes the best gourmet ice cream sandwich in Southern California. How could they not make people happy. But they get some poor Yelp! reviews here and there. We even have a 'Terrorist' lately leaving false reviews. They get people who complain every so often on Twitter, though rarely and almost never on Facebook. But when I get those complaints it is a pain the ass. I think 'I have no control over this'. All I can do is advise my client what to do. If they don't take my advice (my client takes my advice I am really lucky btw) I am still paid to handle Social Media and have to deal with these issues. But it is a small business so I can share individual occurrences because they are few and far between. She can feel my pain.

Most CEO's and C-Suiters I am sure feel this stuff is below them. But there have been examples of CEO's working Customer Service Lines in the past. If I see that I know it is a good company. Buy their stock. But what about a larger business. Is really all you care about is an Agency giving you a report that says the sentiment with no content? Will they act quickly if they see a trend? Or will they wait for the monthly data report?

So when businesses think they can outsource this work is that the smart move? For example VW has Edelman Digital running their Facebook page  helping mine for complaints. VW wants Edelman handling complaints? Even identifying them to me is risky and needs close monitoring (maybe VW does this?). Would a Digital Agency worker be able to see a trend really quickly for a problem that could lead to a recall or lawsuits like an Auto Industry worker would? Edelman calls this customer care effort a success, because it nets them billings. And it is slick. But they seem to be running it vs VW. So I call just the set up a success. Jury is out on the management and operations.

Outsource the Set Up. Outsource the Training. Outsource the Advising. Outsource the Data Management and Measurement. But don't outsource community management. And upper management should be participating. Why have people working with your customers who A] Don't work for you B] Possibly have no buy in regarding your mission or product C] Have no skin in the game if customers get pissed or angry. Is that who you want the face of your company's front lines to be? An Advertising/Marketing Agency?

When I pursue clients I pursue clients I want to work with. I won't work with someone just because I want billable hours. If I believe in what they are doing I want to work with them. I can then ethically and emotionally represent them. 

My client in Southern California has many fans on Twitter who now follow Sky Pulse Media on Twitter. They know that even from Upstate NY and Vermont my 17 years in Los Angeles and Orange County and my buy in, that I am truly part of that brand vs just a hired gun. How many agencies who run Social Media Communities can say that about what they do? Think about it before you out source.


  1. I don't disagree, BUT what if it's the next best thing to no social presence at all?

    1. Hi Bill. In some cases no social presence would be a better choice. Nestle fucked up having an intern run their new Facebook page and they had to completely change how they source Palm Oil because of it. They could of kept their head in the sand.

      Before social people complained and bitched via phone, in person, word of mouth etc and businesses often did just fine. And social rarely impacts businesses negatively long term from people screaming. Notice BP is doing just fine. And Toyota.

      I just think that upper management should participate.

    2. BTW thanks for coming to visit!

  2. There's no way for all the pine trees in VT you're gonna get the C suite to engage in daily social media. That's like asking a physician to deliver rehab.

    The reports and interpretation we provide are how they engage and because no one seems to understand about this channel, really, it's up to us/you.

    If you think you're going to get any relief from the negative feedback; nope. Not gonna happen.

    Everyone is spread too thin; we have serious issues in marketing and not big data is coming around to bite the CMO in the ass; they have no idea how to interpret that, either.

    1. Not every business needs to be in social media. I can give the case they should all be listening. But most major brands are not being impacted right now negatively or positively.

      And you are right the C Suite will not engage. But they should. Good management would. Never before was there a way for them to do this vs fielding complaints on an ACD line. But now they can talk with customers of all types. Happy. Angry. Etc. And they should.

      I agree with your statement but it is risky having the face of your business someone or an agency that only cares about billing the hours and not your brand.

    2. Oh and TY Jayme for coming by!