Should brands outsource their Facebook presence in part or full, to a company in another continent and hence become the brand’s eyes, ears and voice on social media?
Budgets for social media are growing at unprecedented rates and these numbers will come under scrutiny more often than not as companies optimize their social media spending. By outsourcing social media activities (in part or full), a brand can cut its social media spend by anywhere between 25 percent 60 percent and still achieve the same, if not better, results.
When we talk about social media outsourcing, I always tell brands that there are some things that are outsourcable and some that are not. About 60 percent 65 percent of all social media work done is outsourcable, and about 35 percent 40 percent is not.
For example, what’s outsourcable is developing an application or custom tabs on Facebook, having a content writing team help with Facebook status updates or blog articles, assistance in uploading videos and helping in tagging, titling and optimizing them, assisting in data collection and data mining of keywords (or some kind of social listening), getting design options for landing pages, blogs, apps — basically a majority of the back end work for managing social media.
What’s not outsourcable is creating and establishing a social media strategy for the brand. A company in India, Vietnam or the Philippines, cannot and will not be able to assess your brand, what you stand for, your customers and your market, and therefore cannot help in coming up with a strategy for the brand on social media. This must either be done in-house by the company’s social media team, or by the brand’s domestic agency.
Say Brand X pays their social media agency $10,000 to $15,000 per month to manage various digital assets on social media, come up with strategy, execute them, assist with design and development and there’s no outsourcing whatsoever.
Then Brand X decides to outsource portions of their social media activities, ones that you would call back-end. They say, development of all custom tabs and Facebook applications, all uploading of videos and pictures (including posts on YouTube and Flickr), all content writing (of status updates and blog articles), all “social listening reports” and some designing, is now outsourced and being managed by an agency in India for say $2,000 to $3,000 a month.
Now, is it justifiable for Brand X to continue paying their agency a $15,000 retainer fee? This fee will probably drop by 40 percent 45 percent, as the agency is now only helping in strategy, brand direction and ideation. What if I told you that Brand X is actually a major U.S. automaker that we currently work with using the same structure!
Due diligence is when you outsource social media. You will find plenty of mom-and-pop agencies offering ridiculously low prices and promising fantastic work, but not delivering.
Make sure the agency has done quality social media work before. Ask for samples of Facebook pages, applications and blogs that the outsourcer manages so you can assess the quality of the work, both technical and creative.
Outsourcers in India would be ecstatic to work with a company in the U.S., so you might even be able to get some freebies as you assess their quality, timeliness, creativity and deliverability. Request a demo custom tab or a application and share your desire to work with the company, expressing that if you are satisfied with the demo work, you’ll sign on the dotted line.
Adhvith Dhuddu is chief executive officer of AliveNow, a social media agency based in Bangalore (India).