Small business and B2B social media: insource or outsource?

If you’re a small business owner who sells to other businesses, you may wonder if social media is worth the effort. It takes time to manage social media accounts. Only 40% of small business owners in a recent Wall Street Journal poll have dedicated social media staffers. It takes even more time to generate content so that you can start some kind of conversation with your networks. Other research indicates that social media has become the number one content marketing strategy for B2B companies, but 29% of them are crunched for time when it comes to content development.

So, does it make sense to outsource your social media management? Maybe. Conventional wisdom states that that no one else is as passionate and knowledgeable about your brand as you are – both of which are true. Many small B2B companies are just starting out in social media. If you are one of these fledgling social sellers, it may make sense to look at hiring a part-time social media director or a small consulting firm to get started. An outsider who can work side by side with your people will be a better brand advocate and a great resource for training inside employees as the program gets off the ground.
Chris Abraham makes a great point – several of them, in fact – about the disadvantages of insourcing social media: not everyone within your organization is going to be a phenomenal brand ambassador. And those staffers who are initially committed to providing social media content may find that it becomes a “do last” task as other projects take over their work life.

How about content creation – should you look for outside help here, too? This issue seems to be only slightly less contentious than the idea of outsourcing social media management, but the same logic applies. Businesses need to balance the availability of internal expertise against the efficiencies gained from outsourcing. Here are some great guidelines from PR2020:

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below, or take the easy way out with this poll:

 

Ripplevolution

Digital marketing is being freshly minted and recreated every day, via trends that start small, but spread quickly. So, Mint and Ripple.

People who don’t consider themselves to be tech-savvy are still affected by digital marketing whether they realize it or not. Have you played a game on your smartphone or tablet? Signed up for coupons via email? Visited a brand’s YouTube channel to figure how to build a bookshelf? Posted a gripe or a compliment about a product on Facebook? Bought something through a mobile app, while standing in front of the same product on a store shelf? If so, like millions of other Americans, you’re part of an ongoing evolution in the way that consumers interact with brands.

There are challenges and opportunities for both marketers and consumers. We have privacy concerns, technological limitations, and growing online ad clutter. On the other hand, we have consumers intensifying our marketing efforts because they seem to have a deeper connection with the brand. We see this with brands like Apple, Starbucks, Zappos, and Harley-Davidson. In the coming weeks we’ll explore these and other issues, so stay tuned. Actually, what I mean is: keep connected.