Social Media - Outsource or Hire?

Outsourcing versus In-House

This is the most common debate around outsourcing social media services, today - outsourcing versus in-house, but this is not the purpose of the Successiory blog today. Today's blog post focuses on outsourcing versus hiring. 

In the "outsource versus in-house" debate, Successiory believes you do not have to outsource all of your social media needs. If you have the time, resources and expertise in-house, then why outsource? 

It is where any of these three (3) - time, resources or expertise - are lacking, that the decision around "outsourcing versus hiring" arises.

Successiory Blog >> Social Media: Outsource or Hire? >> www.successiory.ca/blog/2014-4-3-social-media-outsource-or-hire

Why Outsource? Why not Hire?

HIRE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTISE

Hiring is always a costly decision. Employment insurance (EI), pension plan (CPP, in Canada), benefits and in some cases registered retirement savings plans (RRSP) contributions. This is all before you get to salaries and/or wages and labor union considerations.

There are three (3) main instances when hiring your social media expertise - on a part-time or full-time basis - is recommended, because the cost of hiring is lower than the risks involved:

  1. Social media is a part of your core business.
  2. Social media engagements are sensitive in nature e.g. customer service, PR crises, HR functions.
  3. Industry or organization requires exclusivity or hiring in its social media management.

Understanding your business, and potential social media impacts, is critical in this decision. Social media nightmares only occur when companies:

  • Hired where they should have outsourced;
  • Outsourced where they should have hired;
  • Under-valued the role of social media in their organization.

Where do you stand? Entrepreneurs, if you're not sure, talk to a social media consultant to get some direction. Larger companies, keep an unbiased social media consultant on retainer for when questions arise.

OUTSOURCE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTISE

If you're an entrepreneur, small business, boutique operation, and your social media functions are neither core to operations - nor sensitive in nature - then outsourcing is likely for you.

Outsourcing can take many forms. Most commonly, you work with social media consultants, freelancers or firms via:

  • Part-time, long-term (6-month to 3-year) contracts - on retainer, as needed.
  • Short-term (3-month to 6-month) contracts - specific projects, full-time or part-time.
  • Full-time, long-term contracts - retainer and specific projects, as needed.

Other types of contracts exist, of course, but the point is you only pay for what you need when you need it. Partnering with an expert for your support functions improves:

  • Operations: Put your time and resources into core functions. Outsourcing support functions, e.g. legal and social media, streamlines costs and optimizes use of resources.
  • Pricing: Consultants, freelancers, cover their own EI, CPP and benefits. You just pay for what you need. Even with retainer fees (on "as needed" contracts) it's cheaper than hiring.
  • Results: Consultants, freelancers and firms have diverse industry experience. Even if they're new to your industry, they offer a wide breadth of experience and success.

Do Your Research

Social media is not just going to affect marketing. It will affect PR, HR, customer relations management (CRM), partnership opportunities and much more. Know the functions you want to focus on and what is needed to be effective.

Explore your options for outsourcing or hiring. Interview potential social media partners even through consultations. The more professional your social media partner, the more you will pay, so ask the right questions to ensure they'll have your best interest at heart.

To learn more, find out what questions to ask or identify your needs, contact Successiory for a Consultation. I also offer Online Consulting if you're swamped or too far away, or Online Workshops, if you're not sure about the value of social media to you.