Why Companies Need to Staff Their Social Media Office

Time and time again, companies have approached me about managing their social media channels – in other words they were looking to outsource their social media office. And repeatedly I’ve turned them down. Huh?

Call Me Crazy

take the money and run

Sure, it would’ve been easy to say ‘yes’, take the money and go run their social channels. But I feel so strongly that client’s need to invest in staffing their own social media office that I keep refusing the contracts. Here’s why:

Why Would You Outsource Your Brand?

Companies may outsource their creative—hire an agency or graphic designer to help brand their collateral or website—but do companies also outsource their sales and marketing teams? No! So why would a company outsource their social media?

Today’s News Travels At Lightening Speed

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and today, more people are sourcing their news from social media communities than from traditional media providers. In a world where real-time Twitter is changing the way we watch television (social tv), companies need to have a serious stake in the game. Social Media is totally integrated with, and often drives, today’s news cycle and faster than you can say “nano nano”, social media channels can distribute your company news- positive or negative – around the world.

Twitter AP hacking report from @NPR

Social Media Is the Poor Step Child of the Marketing Department

Companies often make the mistake of assigning one of the youngest, and least experienced marketers on the team to manage their social media efforts—and only part-time! This may be because the older ranks aren’t using social media or feel like they don’t have the time for meaningful engagement, but it may also be a matter of demographics. It is assumed the younger generation has a grasp on the social media beast and can therefore should be the ones assigned to manage the accounts. “Say it ain’t so Joe!”

Rethinking Social As a Critical Component of Sales & Marketing Efforts

In fact, the social media efforts are so critical to a company’s overall marketing and sales efforts that it is the most senior members of the marketing and communications teams who need to have skin in the game. The most successful  companies operating today get this and they have made a significant investment in staffing their social media office.

Here are just few ways successful companies are using social media engagement:

  1. Relationship Building
  2. Lead Nurturing
  3. Brand Perception
  4. Customer Service
  5. Team Building

Zappos Does It Right

One of my favorite company examples to cite is Zappos which does an outstanding job of employing social media to further their sales, marketing and even un-marketing efforts. Zappos is all about the Customer Experience and this is consistently reflected across all of their social channels. As a great example of good customer relationship building, Zappos uses Facebook as a gateway: they share helpful product news and fashion clips & tips to get their fan base amped up about affordable fashion.

@Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

On Twitter, Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh IS @Zappos. With a follower base of over 2.7M (way larger than their Facebook Fan base of 500k) Tony tweets about his primary ism—Delivering Happiness for anyone within his reach. Furthermore, Zappos uses Twitter as a primary Customer Service channel, rotating 18 employees in/out of Twitter every day—and as themselves!

Zappos employee boards on Pinterest

Always striving for authenticity over sales pitch, Zappos features employee curated boards on their Pinterest channel. Why? Because isn’t there a bit of Gwen and Lauren in us all?

With the Right Strategy, You Can Be Like Zappos

The operative word here is Strategy – and that’s where companies can hire outside consultants to help make sense of their social media efforts (now you can hire me). Whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, strategic social media engagement enhances marketing efforts, helps build better relationships with customers – new and existing – and keeps them tuned in for more.