Did you ever play a game called egg-toss? Two people stand a few feet apart and toss a fresh egg back and forth, increasing the distance between them with each toss. No matter how nimbly the players handle the egg, at one point the players get too far apart and the forces of velocity and gravity win the game, leaving one player with egg all over his/her hands!
That game is very similar to managing social media marketing campaigns. Unless a business can afford to designate a full-time employee as "Social Media Manager" or some such title, the tasks of optimizing and managing content and interaction on numerous networks such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. is sometimes tossed around between any number of people until such time as the tasks become so fragmented that the media used overtake the campaigns and everyone ends up with egg on their faces!
The days when a business could run an ad in the local paper, radio or TV station and call that an ad campaign are over! The age of digital marketing has arrived and businesses that are not prepared to meet its challenges and deal with them effectively will be left behind. So what is a small or medium sized business supposed to do? Creating new positions or hiring new "specialists" may seem ridiculous in a time when austerity and budget cuts are, more and more, becoming the prudent course for many of these businesses.
Outsourcing the task of managing social media campaigns or "internet marketing" as it is sometimes called, would seem to be the only viable solution. There are several problems inherent in outsourcing which are worth noting. The first and probably most important consideration after the cost of outsourcing is : Will the content, the voice of your social media and the interaction, be a true reflection of your business's "brand"? How much attention will the marketing company give to what you want to say rather than what they think is the most slick and hip "market-speak"? What kind of reporting will they provide? While it's a fact that success with social media campaigns are not "instant solutions", will you be apprised of the kind of interaction taking place between your clients and the marketing firm you have hired? It's fine and nice to be fed graphs, charts, numbers and all sorts of fancy analysis, but what do the numbers mean to your bottom line?
When choosing a firm to handle your social media campaigns and the ongoing task of maintaining them, you need a company you can trust and speak to on a personal level. We at Roam Business have many answers and solutions, but we believe that we must listen first. Representing a client means knowing the client, not just being a public relations front with no idea of the client's day-to-day operations.
(Tom Arken is a Roam Business Associate, specializing in content analysis and software integration. R.N.)