[L/M NET] Tom Fishburne > “Outsourcing Social Media”

(L/M NET features Tom's inspiring posts on a regular basis.)


This week, brand marketers descended on Austin for SXSW Interactive in a bigger mass than ever before. Most are grappling with how to incorporate social media into their marketing plans. They face a decision on how much to insource and how much to outsource.


Last week, Chrysler revealed some of the risks of outsourcing, when someone at their social media agency accidentally tweeted the f-bomb from the Chrysler brand Twitter account instead of their personal Twitter account. This tweet also referenced Chrysler’s Motor City campaign.

Accidents do happen, and can happen of course even when social media is insourced. Yet what this accidental tweet reveals is the machinations behind the curtain of social media. Brand teams, communication teams, and agency teams are all juggling for control over the social media voice of a brand. Figuring out the right role for everyone is complicated.

I found useful perspective from Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni on whether, when, and how brands should outsource social media: “Should You Outsource Social Media“.

There is room for a team approach, but brands should think carefully about what to insource and what to outsource, particularly in content development.

Social media alone won’t make a brand more authentic. Also, you can’t outsource authenticity.

(ralf says: Agencies often 'pretend' to have understood the brand, but even the average marketing person has not! You will have to live the brand with all its rough edges and flaws. Does an agency dare to do that? Of course. Should you dare to outsource? Never!
What you may outsource is pure advertising, disguised as social media. But that may do more harm to your brand than you might expect.

Do you outsource your own character and personality? No – you only do, if you do not have any, if you have to fake it, play a role, pretend to be a better, more likable person, or?
It's more successful to change than to outsource … as a person or a brand. It's a higher investment, but it is much more rewarding!)

Tom, when not cartooning (eg. for Marketing Week), is method's international managing director. Based in London, he frequently speaks at campuses, companies, and conferences about marketing, cartooning, and how to spread business ideas. Twitter: @tomfishburne