What is Social Networking (and Can I Outsource It?)
Social networks are online platforms that provide people with the ability to create and define their individual profiles and interact with others who have similar interests or expertise. Some of the more common ones people use are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Big global corporations have already dived in head first into the Web 2.0 sector, and Forrester says the bulk of $4.6 billion spending on these tools by 2013 will be on social networking (ZDNet). SMBs, which were expected to be the early adopters due to the competitive leveling effect of these tools, are already starting to follow the big boys’ lead.
Some organizations have already started outsourcing that social networking work. PCIS has helped organizations to establish their presence on various social networking platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Crowdtrust, Second Life, Digg and Delicious.
Outsourcing social media requires a deep understanding of an organization’s operations and corporate culture and comprehensive analysis of their traditional communications efforts. It also takes an expert understanding of social network behavior, an ever-increasing assortment of tools, metrics for measuring ROI, and disparate areas of expertise like marketing and online security that don’t often get considered in the same space. This expertise is needed to get the biggest bang for the buck, but also to avoid some very serious mistakes that can ruin a social media presence before it gets a chance to take off.
Some questions to think about before outsourcing your social networking:
1. How do we want to be seen? Do the new social networking efforts give my company a chance to brand (or re-brand) our image?
2. What do we have to say? At the heart of social networking is a conversation with your customers and supporters, so messaging is critical. You may not be writing your own content, but the service provider will need to go over your “talking points” with you before they begin.
3. How will the social network service provider protect me? Bad apples are active on social networks, so the provider must have processes in place to mitigate risk.
Have you started using social networks, or are you thinking of outsourcing that work? We’d love to hear your feedback on our take. I'll also leave you with this amusing take on outsourcing generally, courtesy of the Onion News Network: More American Workers Outsourcing Own Jobs Overseas
Contributed by Karen Chiang, PCIS Program Manager
Vaclav Vincalek September 4th, 2009 08:00:00 AM