James O’Brien asked for my thoughts on hiring vs. outsourcing your social media efforts. This one’s pretty easy: it depends on how good you are at your company’s voice.
Social is another channel, just like email, just like your website, just like PR, just like someone answering the phone. If you’re not particularly good at expressing your company’s voice, then you logically do things like hire a marketing agency or hire an SEO firm, contract out with a call center, etc.
If you are good at expressing your company’s voice, then you have people on staff like a director of marketing and a marketing team, a director of customer service and a large customer service team, and so forth.
Look at your existing structure and decide whether you as a company, as an organization, are good at speaking for yourselves. The answer isn’t always as simplistic as people saying, “Of course you should be authentic and only speak for yourself!”
Reality is more nuanced. Some companies are simply inept at speaking for themselves. Some agencies are spectacular at speaking on behalf of their clients and being more effective in the media space than their clients ever could be. Other companies are great at expressing their voice, and other agencies truly are awful at representing their clients authentically.
The best indicator of whether you should hire internally vs. outsource is to look at the size of your marketing team currently. If your team consists of a marketing director or manager and a rolodex full of contractors and consultants, then you’re probably going to outsource social media too. If your team is broad and deep, then either you have or will have a social media person on that team in short order.
Thanks for the question, James! If you’ve got questions about marketing, feel free to ask on Twitter @cspenn and if they’ve not already been answered on the blog, I’ll see what I can do.
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