The “Make” or “Buy” decision has always been a tough one. Regardless of whether you are in a small to medium sized business or are part of Corporate America, there are goods and services that are better to outsource than others. One of the Top 5 that I always recommend is Social Media .
There are many words coined to describe various online activities but for the purpose of this article, I am using Social Media to include all of your online publishing events. For heaven’s sake, just learning the acronyms associated with online business is a feat in and of itself for most people - SEO, SEM SMM, EM, SMOR, EZINE, FB, PRT, UGC, SROI – just to name a few!
But, why should you outsource this area of your business? For the most part, unless this is your business, there is so much to learn. It is also an area that is constantly changing and therefore, it can be immensely time consuming for the novice who doesn’t know the tricks of the trade.
It is best to leave this one to the professionals. Surprisingly, this is also an area that is usually pretty easy to source and is generally reasonably priced. It is also an ideal fit as an outsourced item for agencies because it is readily available and can expand your services to your clients and then billed with a good margin. For those of you who are not an agency, it is a good area to outsource because, like tradeshows, if your competitors are in the space, then you need to be there too!
There is a trick to securing the right company or person to outsource to and there is an even larger and more important step in getting off on the right foot with your provider.( I liken this relationship to choosing an attorney or great CPA.) You must interview the person(s) who will be providing content for your online presence. It is even worth your while to pay for a consultation so that you can indoctrinate and train your provider on what you do, what sets you apart from your competition, why your product or services are important and who your target customer is.
Without intimately knowing the basics and intricacies of your business, your online presence can be botched in a very fast period of time and you will waste money and you will spend a lot of money to repair it. This is due in part to the speed of the viral world and also to the fact that there is no “big eraser” in the online community. It is very important that you are certain that your provider gets it right the first time.
Take the time, up front, to get referrals and communicate with your potential provider on several occasions before making a decision. It helps to have someone who has worked in your industry before, but I have also had success with starting fresh with providers who knew nothing about an industry. It gave me a chance to be their first look into my field and they did not come with preconceived notions of what I wanted or what would work in my industry.
Once you have chosen an outsourced partner, spend the time and money on training them to understand your business so that they can represent you in a favorable and lasting way.
December 22, 2010
December 22, 2010
Just read this article on viral marketing: http://adage.com/digitalnext/post?article_id=147753 . I think you will find it thought provocing as you design and deliver your viral marketing tactics. In my mind, it is further support for why you don't "do" viral marketing yourself, or delegate it to a staffer. It is best to hire a professional in this area :) Hope you enjoy the article as well as I did.