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Social Media For Startups: When To Outsource?

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 11/5/2013

Social media is an important part of a successful small business startup. But deciding whether to hire an agency or do it yourself can be a tricky choice.

In theory, social media is an equalizer for small companies. With the right strategy, small businesses can create powerful online connections with hundreds or even thousands of customers and prospects.

When Should Startups Outsource Social Media?

But deriving real business value from social media takes time and focus--resources that are often in short supply at startups. So for most entrepreneurs, the question isn't whether or not they should engage in social media activities (they should), but whether to handle social media in-house or outsource it to a professional social media marketing agency.

Recently, Business 2 Community's Rakesh Kumar tackled the question head on and offered advice to help startups identify the advantages of each approach.

In addition to being more cost effective, managing social media in-house enables startups to more accurately communicate the brand's distinctive characteristics through appropriate social media platforms. Although an experienced agency can do a very good job at representing your brand, no one knows your brand better than you do and it may be easier to communicate brand nuances if you do it yourself.

In many cases, a DIY approach to social media is also more agile than an agency approach, allowing your startup to change directions or post critical content to social audiences at a moment's notice. Agencies, on the other hand, may require a little lead time to adapt your strategy to changing conditions.

But despite these drawbacks, proven social media agencies are more skilled and experienced at forging meaningful connections via social channels than you are. When it comes to social media strategies and tactics, they know what works and can dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes to garner a following in the social universe.

Although you could build a social media team internally, it will take significant time and resources to duplicate the efforts that a professional social media firm can provide on your behalf.

For business owners, it's important to understand that no social media outsourcing decision is right for every startup. But by carefully evaluating your capabilities and desired social media outcomes, you can improve your decision-making and ensure that your startup is making the best use of social media opportunities.

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