Insource vs. Outsource Your Social Media – Which is Better Bang for Your Buck?
by Yello Feb 15, 2019
Despite the proven overwhelming popularity and influence of social media, many small business owners in particular, are still reluctant to fully invest in a social media marketing strategy. One of the most commonly cited reasons for this is, “we don’t have the time”. In other words, many small business owners believe they simply do not have the time and resources necessary to fully invest in an effective social media marketing strategy.
Interestingly, this is a concern that is not specific only to small business owners. Many mid to large size businesses also worry about not having enough time to fully devote to their social media marketing strategy. In fact, sometimes the larger the business, the greater the concern that the work would be too much for only a few individuals within the company to handle. And thus creates one of the biggest debates in the business world regarding social media marketing – i.e. in-house or outsource.
In other words, should your business leave its social media marketing strategy solely in the hands of your current marketing/communications team or should you consider outsourcing some or all of the major tasks involved in executing a successful social media marketing strategy? As with all things, it’s first important to consider the pros and cons of both options and consider what makes the most sense for your business.
Pros of Staying In-House
- The individual and/or individuals working on your social media strategy have the benefit of already knowing your business well – your goals, procedures, brand identity, etc. And that means they are far more likely to stay on message and remain true to your brand.
- It’s cost effective, as using a team of individuals who are already employed by your business is often a lot less expensive than hiring an outside team of experts.
- Keeping your social media marketing activities in-house also allows for maintaining creative control, which can be very important in avoiding any potential social media P.R. disasters.
- An in-house social media marketing team also allows for a more immediate response and reaction to any new changes within the company, e.g. new product offerings, as well as any trending topics and potential issues that could become a crisis if ignored.
Cons of Staying In-House
- Your employees, as much as they may know and understand your company and brand very well, may not have the necessary skill set to handle all the relevant tasks needed for a successful social media marketing strategy.
- Piggy-backing off the previous point, while employees could certainly be trained in the skills set they may be lacking and you can hire one or two new individuals, at the end of it all, you may end up spending a lot more than if the work had simply been out-sourced. And so in that instance, staying in-house isn’t the most cost-effective option.
- If the in-house team is not big enough, you may find that individuals will have to be tasked with handling multiple roles. This can often lead to chaos and more importantly, poor quality of work. For example, this includes figuring out who would should manage the in-house team, who is accountable for the work produced, who, if anyone is a social media expert that could manage an in-house social media team/person?
Pros of Out-Sourcing
- Greater Skill Set and Experience – A digital marketing agency is likely to have a number of individuals trained and experienced in the vast number of skill sets necessary for executing a successful social media marketing strategy.
- Specialised Skill Sets – As stated above, one of the cons of in-sourcing your social media marketing is that with a small team, some employees may have to take on multiple roles, which in turn may affect the quality of their work. Agencies are far more likely to have various individuals specialised in one specific thing – e.g. design, blogging, data analysis, etc.
- Cost-Effective – Depending on the level of skill set and/or social media marketing activities your business is seeking, it may actually be more cost-effective to outsource. For example, if you are a small business that can handle day to day social media posting but simply need someone to design your page, it is more cost effective to simply hire someone to do so for a one-time fixed cost, as opposed to hiring a full time or even part time graphic designer.
- Can Prove ROI – One of the most common deterrents for small business owners to commit to a social media marketing strategy is concern over their inability to accurately measure the ROI. And it makes sense that one would not want to invest in something that they cannot prove actually benefits their business. Agencies are usually far more adept at proving ROI because the success of their business depends on it. Think about, would a business hire or continue to work with an agency that can’t prove the success of their work? Of course not. So it’s imperative to agencies and freelancers to prove to a business owner that the work they were hired to do, was successful.
Cons of Outsourcing
- Loss of Control – Pretty self-explanatory. Of course there will be rules and guidelines established by a business when hiring an outside source to handle its social media activities. However, even with said rules and guidelines, there is always inevitably some loss of creative control on the business owner’s part.
- Poor Fit – While an agency or freelancer may be great at what they do, sometimes they may still not be a good fit for a particular business and brand and that could spell disaster for a business if ignored. Also, in the case of agencies, depending on the size of the agency and number of clients they handle, there is a risk of their services being a “one size fits all” model, which means they are far less likely to focus on what works specifically for the business.
- Can be Expensive – Yes, it seems contradictory but it’s all of matter of how a business chooses to outsource their activities. While it is true that sometimes outsourcing could prove cost-effective, other times, it can be very expensive and not always with the desired result.
So should you keep your business’ social media activities in-house or outsource it? Well, that depends on a number of factors – what is your budget, do your current employees have the necessary skills set, what are your goals and objectives for your social media marketing strategy, etc. Asking and answering these questions will help you make the right decision for your business.
- In-House Team or Outsourced Digital Marketing?( Forbes)
- Should Business Owners Outsource Social Media? (Hubspot)
- When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Outsource Your Marketing. (Hubspot)
- Social Media Outsourcing Increases. (Hubspot)
- Insourcing vs. Outsourcing: Which One to Choose for Your Business? (E-Motive)