Outsourcing B2B Social Media Marketing

If you are considering outsourcing B2B social media marketing, Spurspectives has compiled a list of top benefits of outsourcing this function to a social media marketing firm. I’ve added my own commentary to the lists. If you’ve implemented a B2B social media strategy, I’d be interesting in learning more about it.

The Top Reasons to Outsource B2B Social Media Marketing

Outsourcing

Photo courtesy of ceoworld.biz

Speed: If you are new to social media – or ready to embark on a broader social media strategy – outsourcing can get things up and running quickly.

For those CEOs and marketing executives of a certain age and background, Web 2.0 technology can seem very daunting — they must learn new technology, new terminology, new ways to measure ROI,, new “pull” strategies, new ways to identify potential clients, and new ways to brand their product or service online. It is not very easy to master the learning curve for these activities easily. Every man-hour that you devote to learning and implementing these techniques is one less that you can spend on your core competency (whatever that may be). It is much better to outsource this marketing strategy — at least in the beginning — even though it may cost a little more. Since the ROI of social-media marketing is so high, it matters little whether you start the investment internally or externally.

Training: An outside team can teach you how to do things, set up workable systems and schedules, and then transition some duties back to your internal team over time if that makes sense for your organization.

This is a natural result of the first point. Imagine that your company creates a social media marketing strategy — or even a whole online-marketing department — from scratch. You will need to determine how to judge the quality of applicants in fields that you might not know. You will need to spend time recruiting, interviewing, and hiring. You will need integrate the new employees and orient them into the company. You will need to determine the organizational structure of the team or department as well as figure out how they will work together with other teams and departments so that there will not be any overlap. It’s going to be difficult to set meaningful benchmarks when everyone is starting from scratch.

Conversely, you could interview and hire a social-media consulting company in one day. You can examine their case studies and past results in a few hours. You don’t need to spend HR’s time. You don’t need to integrate them into your company’s fabric. You just assign them a task and a deadline, and they will begin working on their own. And when they are finished, you simply take their work and apply it to your operations.

Reach: You will have access to the outsourced team’s existing networks, which can help your social networks grow bigger – and faster.

It is in the best-interest of a social-networking consulting company to promote your business themselves. When the consulting firm markets the services that they provided for your business, they have to mention what your company does and how great you are. By promoting you, they promote themselves! It creates something similar to what is termed the “multiplier effect” in economics — the effect of one action snowballs as it moves through the chain of media, Internet users, businesses, and other people. The online-marketing term “viral” is simply a new word for an old idea. By outsourcing your social-media efforts, you essentially gain two online-marketing packages for the price of one.

Experience: You’ll also benefit from your outsourced team’s experience with other clients. This will allow you to avoid pitfalls and learn about options and alternatives.

Odds are, a local online-marketing outsourcing company has already worked with a business like yours — they might have even worked with one of your competitors! But do not be alarmed — being the “first-mover” or “first-to-market” is not always an advantage. If the consulting company has already worked in your field, they likely already know, for example, which keywords, networks and platforms are best. They might also know which keywords your competitors did not use — and, therefore, you can capitalize on that missing element. In terms of social media, the firm may already know which networks are best suited to your purpose (like, for example, Twitter rather than Facebook). The competitors in your market who were the first to use these strategies did not have this benefit — but, if you wanted until now to venture into Web 2.0, you do!

Synergy: An experienced team will be able to create an integrated system of social media tools and channels, rather than a loose patchwork, allowing you to maximize your social media “nodes” for greater impact.

Strategy: An outside social media team can help you develop a strategy and keep you focused on achieving long-term goals.

The benefit of hiring a consulting firm in this context is that it can see the big picture. If you are new to social media and online marketing, it is easy to focus on the digital trees and get lost in the virtual forest. Rather, an expert, outsourcing firm can create an overall online-marketing plan — tailored to your niche and goals — and show you how to implement it much more quickly than you could yourself. Remember, hours can matter in the online marketplace.

A B2B consultant or outsourcer also brings value simply because of the fact that the company is independent of your organization. There is no interoffice politics, no turf warfare between departments, and no one who tells a boss simply what he wants to hear even if the employee disagrees. You pay a consultant to provide his honest, blunt advice and to help you achieve your stated goal. And that is all. This is an obvious benefit in all areas — not only in online-marketing.

Branding: You want to select a partner with marketing and design capabilities in addition to social media know-how. The right team will make sure that everything you do supports your overall marketing strategy, including branding and identity.

Last but not least, this is an obvious necessity. It is one thing to know what to post on Facebook; it is another to design a Facebook page so that it complements your branding strategy. Although consultants are supposed to be independent, they still need to work with your existing marketing department and the goals they have. The best outsources are those who can be both independent and work with what your company already does.