Reasons why you shouldn’t outsource your social media voice continue to mount

This is a subject that we have discussed before on this blog. Back in January and February of 2010 (Should you outsource your social media initiatives? and Revisited: Should you outsource your social media initiatives – the Whole Foods story) and again in December 2010 with Don’t buy short-term social media solutions.

As the social media space matures it’s becoming evident that real-time communication is here to stay AND it is having a huge impact on organizational structures and productivity.

On Monday Kent Lewis, President at Anvil Media, wrote this excellent piece entitled 5 Reasons for Brands not to Outsource Social Media Marketing. Also on Monday at SXSW the panel discussion entitled Outsourcing Social Media Professionally Without Selling Your Soul created a real debate leading Eric Schwartzman (who was on the panel) to write a post yesterday entitled You Can’t Outsource Social Media without Selling Your Soul

I agree with both Kent and Eric.

In addition to the excellent points they raise I would also like to add that it’s become clear that there is much more to social media than having a successful outward facing presence. Research is now showing that companies (brands) that adopt real-time communication internally and becoming internally networked are becoming more productive and agile and as a result gaining market share. I believe that this is another compelling reason an organization should think twice before outsourcing. They are getting even further behind with this as a strategy. So at best I would view an agency’s involvement in managing a social media presence as a temporary measure to tide the brand over until the team gets up-to-speed with real-time communication.

The danger is though that the more successful the agency is at managing the outward facing social media presence the bigger the chance that the brand will delay getting the skills they desperately need to operate in the new environment created by real-time communication technology.

In my view the process should be:

1) Become an internally networked business (brand) which will result in the organization becoming a “social business.”
2) Develop an outward facing social media presence on the above rock-solid foundation.

This is most definitely the most painful route but one that will lead to long-term success.

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