Managing business social media accounts involves a certain amount of “knowledgeable engagement” and a certain amount of routine administration and support. Effectively organising the latter helps boost the bang-for-the-buck for Marketing.
Responding to the pressure on marketing overhead
In discussions with clients about social media, and in particular organising and doing it and monitoring it and reporting it, we are increasingly hearing of the pressures on their budgets. In most industries economic conditions are not buoyant, or at the least people are cautious in their outlook and hence their spending.
At the same time we notice that they seem to be content to accept the status quo in how things are done – and do less – than exploring alternative sourcing options.
Running social media and communities is not all pace, excitement, creativity and interaction. There are bunch of relatively routine activities and some value-add activities that can readily be outsourced.
In fact by not outsourcing these, clients distract themselves from the parts of marketing and social media where only they can add real value. The trick in outsourcing is for clients to retain oversight and direction through an effective governance model.
Making social media support work for you
It’s not a new idea, and it has a chequered history – outsourcing social media to agencies in particular. Some of those instances have tarnished the idea.
There are examples of things going viral when the outsourcer wasn’t watching, and examples of responses from the outsourcer which the clients deemed inappropriate or poorly informed.
When outsourcing goes wrong it is always due to one problem – a breakdown in governance. Governance includes:
- clear expectations;
- clear roles and responsibilities;
- efficient and effective processes;
- defined performance agreements;
- risk management; and
- effective reporting and feedback.
This applies whether it is a $1B IT outsourcing contract or a modest social media support contract – it’s just a matter of degree.
How social media support improves marketing productivity
It’s pretty simple really – social media support concentrates on keeping the wheels turning and growing the network sizes, and Marketing concentrates on refining messages and developing deep insights and measuring the value of various campaigns across all of the company’s channels. The same can apply to investor relations and PR activities.
Too often we see full time (and therefore full cost) Marketing (or PR) resources spending a lot of time managing and measuring social media. While they should “manage” from a marketing objectives viewpoint they are often managing social media at the administration level of “management” or the basic level of “community support”.
Not only does outsourcing social media support free up funds which can be directed to high value-added marketing outcomes, it also gets much more effective results for the social administration spend.
In KINSHIP’s case, the efficiency and effectiveness we offer derives from a number of specialised factors including:
- we keep abreast of the top ranked tools – as rated by Gartner and Forrester for example – for social media monitoring, content management, network cleansing, and social data analysis. We need to do this because this is our core business;
- we remain continuously up-to-date in how to apply the tools through regular in-house and vendor training;
- we have proven methodologies for achieving social media strategies, and we continuously improve them because that improves our business;
- we employ collaborative internal systems and share good practice and knowledge from multiple engagements;
- we have an open and collaborative culture with our clients; and,
- we can share some of our tools and license for specific ad-hoc assignments without client’s need to purchase licenses (many of which require annual commitments).
There are some underlying technologies which help – effective workflow tools and most importantly bringing clients into our enterprise social network which vastly improves transparency, openness and work effectiveness.
Fundamental principles of social media support services
The fundamental principles of KINSHIP’s social media support are that:
- we don’t do your creative;
- we don’t pretend to be you; and,
- we service your operational efficiency not your customer intimacy.
We do not believe that we would be successful for you in taking over any of those roles.
- we provide first level insights from our measurements and reporting but not deep insights tied to your customer, web and marketing analytics;
- we provide oversight of engagement e.g. alerting you to a comment which has an outstanding reply needed, but not engagement on your behalf except at a “Level 1 Support” as defined with you;
- we provide content curation and content re-purposing through workflow and approval systems but you approve every item for relevance and posting; and,
- we develop with you risk management processes which integrate with your own social media risk management procedures.
An easy way to understand the relative roles of Marketing and social media support, assuming that an effective social presence has been established, is that we focus on building networks of relevant people and ensuring a consistent flow of relevant content, whereas Marketing focuses on the quality and relevance of the content, and the cultivation of engagement and the resulting insights from that engagement in order to refine future content and engagement.
There’s no doubt that effective social media support works. Our clients range from individuals, where we offer our Executive Digital Leadership service to boost the social presence and contributions of executives, through to large multi-faceted multinational organisations.
Understandably some firms who have previously had bad experiences are wary about trying outsourcing again. However in order to drive the marketing dollar further it is always timely to sit back and consider the “build, buy or in-house equation”, and when governance is correctly set-up outsourcing social media support is almost always very cost-effective with an acceptable level of risk.
Download our infographic (pdf) – Marketing Versus Social Media – Improving Marketing Productivity
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