Social Media for Manufacturers: The Debate Over Outsourcing Social Media (vs In-House)
As a small to medium enterprise [SME} manufacturer, you may be wondering whether it’s worth outsourcing your social media marketing efforts. On one hand, it can be a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness. On the other hand, you may be concerned about relinquishing control over your messaging and customer interactions.
Social media is here to stay. It has become an essential part of every business’s marketing communication kit – including the small to medium manufacturing sector. It allows small businesses to connect with their target audience, build brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales.
However, managing social media platforms can be a time-consuming task, requiring a deep understanding of the ever-changing landscape of social media marketing. This has led many manufacturers to consider outsourcing their social media marketing efforts.
But is it the right choice for your business? Let’s dive into the debate and weigh options of outsourcing social media marketing for manufacturers.
In this article, we’ll explore the key points when thinking of outsourcing social media marketing for manufacturers, so you can make an informed decision for your business.
Is it better to manage your manufacturing social media platforms in-house or outsource it?
Deciding whether to handle B2B manufacturing social media internally or through outsourcing is a complex decision. Both have advantages worth weighing.
The pros of managing social media in-house
Taking control of your social media platforms in-house allows you to have a direct involvement in the development and execution of your campaigns. It also enables you to respond quickly to inquiries from business customers, manage your brand image better, and build stronger relationships with your prospects and customers.
Moreover, it gives you access to valuable insights about your followers’ interests and preferences, which can help you tailor your products and services to their needs. Having an in-house social media team allows you to showcase your company culture and values, and effectively communicate your brand’s unique selling propositions.
By managing your social media platforms internally, you can align your social media efforts with your sales team, ensuring that your campaigns support your sales objectives and drive revenue growth.
In-house social media management promotes direct customer engagement and allows access to insights, facilitating effective communication.
The pros of managing social media using an outside agency
On the other hand, outsourcing the management of B2B manufacturing social media can provide several benefits. By relying on social media professionals, the manufacturer can tap into their expertise and experience to optimize their social media strategy. This can help the manufacturer stay updated with the ever-changing social media landscape and manufacturing trends.
Outsourcing also allows the manufacturer to free up internal resources, specifically the sales team, by relieving them of the responsibility of social media management. This enables the company to focus on its core competencies in manufacturing and allocate more time and effort toward generating sales and satisfying customers.
Moreover, outsourcing social media management saves time and effort that would otherwise be spent on training and hiring employees specifically for this task.
Social media professionals can employ targeted strategies to attract potential clients and maintain strong relationships with existing clients, ultimately leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
By working with an outsourced team, the manufacturer can benefit from fresh perspectives and new ideas that can enhance their social media strategy.
Manufacturers should evaluate their internal capabilities and determine whether they have the necessary skills and resources to effectively manage social media networks in-house. If not, outsourcing can offer a viable solution to ensure a strong social media presence and effective engagement with the target audience.
Finding the right balance: in-house and outsourced social media
While there are pros and cons to both in-house and outsourced social media management, finding the right balance is key. SME manufacturers can consider a hybrid approach, where they handle some aspects of social media in-house while outsourcing others.
This allows manufacturers to maintain control over their brand voice while benefiting from the expertise and resources of a good social media agency.
Whichever option a manufacturer chooses, what matters most is consistent and relevant content that resonates with the B2B audience and strengthens the manufacturing brand’s position in the manufacturing industry.
HomeZada was a company that had an understanding of social media and performing it ourselves. However, because of all the business elements that we needed to prioritize and the inability for us to gain more expertise, we had to turn to the experts which is Social Success Marketing. Their expertise has then since grown our social media presence and the steps we need to take to enhance our social media and meet the demands of the ever changing social media environment.
What are the signs that it is time to outsource your social media marketing?
Here are some signs that could indicate that it’s time to look for a reliable agency:
- If you find yourself struggling to keep up with the demands of managing your social media platforms, it may be time to consider outsourcing your social media marketing.
- You lack the necessary expertise. If you or your team don’t have much knowledge in content creation, digital advertising, or analytics, it may be worth outsourcing your social media management.
- You lack the resources. If you don’t have enough personnel to handle the workload of managing multiple social media platforms, outsourcing could be a great solution.
- Your content isn’t engaging. If your social media posts are not driving engagement and conversions, it might be time to bring in an outside agency to help you revamp your content strategy.
- Your social media presence is stagnant. If you feel you’re stuck in a rut with your social media presence, it might be time to outsource your social media marketing to inject new life into it.
How does outsourcing social media work? Picture this!
Outsourcing social media for B2B manufacturing involves hiring a third-party company to manage and maintain the manufacturer’s social media presence. The process can include a variety of tasks aimed at promoting the products and services to a wider audience.
As to how it looks like, it really depends on what your requirements are for your manufacturing company, or what social media packages and options you choose.
First, the outsourcing company will work with the manufacturer to develop a social media strategy that aligns with the overall business objectives. This strategy will outline the target audience, key messaging, content calendar, and performance metrics.
Once the strategy is in place, the outsourcing company will take responsibility for creating and curating engaging content. They will post regularly on the manufacturer’s social media accounts, using a variety of formats, such as images, videos, and text updates. The content will be carefully crafted to highlight the manufacturer’s unique selling propositions and showcase their expertise in the industry.
The outsourcing company will also actively engage with the target audience by responding to comments, messages, and inquiries in a timely manner. This helps to build relationships with potential customers and provides an avenue for gathering feedback and addressing concerns.
Another key aspect of outsourcing social media for B2B manufacturing is monitoring and tracking the performance of social media campaigns. The outsourcing company will use analytics tools to measure the reach, engagement, and effectiveness of the manufacturer’s social media efforts. They will provide regular reports to the manufacturer, highlighting key metrics and offering insights for optimizing future campaigns.
Again, let me just reiterate, that the work may vary depending on your requirements and budget.
Speaking of budget, let’s talk about the next question which is crucial for many SMEs manufacturing companies.
The cost of outsourcing social media marketing can vary depending on the scope and complexity of the project, as well as the expertise and reputation of the agency or professional hired.
Typically, social media marketing requires consistent content creation, community management, analytics, and strategy development. These tasks are time-consuming and require expertise in interpreting customer insight, content marketing strategy and optimization, and the latest trends and algorithms of each social media platform. As a result, outsourcing social media marketing is usually not cheap.
So, the price tag for outsourcing social media marketing may range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month. But it shouldn’t break the bank.
Number of tasks and platforms
Factors that can affect the cost include the number and the size of each social channel for manufacturers to be managed, the amount of social media posts published and the level of engagement required, and whether the agency or professional hired offers additional services such as publishing industry-specific and search engine optimized blog posts or analytics reporting.
So, the more social media tasks you need from your outsourced social media management team, the higher the cost is likely to be. For example, if you want to run paid social media campaigns and require in-depth analytics and reporting, this will require more time and effort from the agency or freelancer managing your social media accounts, resulting in a higher cost.
Expertise and experience of the social selling agency
The level of expertise and experience of the agency or freelancer you choose to outsource to can impact the cost. Agencies or freelancers with a proven track record and extensive experience in social media marketing may charge higher rates due to their expertise.
However, their experience can be invaluable in creating an effective social media strategy and achieving your business objectives. It is important to carefully evaluate the credentials and portfolio of potential outsourcing partners to ensure they can deliver the desired results within your budget.
I know that while cost is an important factor, quality should never be compromised. If you go for cheap, think about what you may be losing over time as your competitors are gaining ground. Remember the benefits from professionals who have a deep understanding of social media trends and strategies can bring to your business.
While cost is an important factor, quality should not be compromised.
Before making a decision, I suggest weighing the potential return on investment and the long-term benefits that working with experienced social media marketing specialists can bring to your industrial manufacturing company.
What are the key factors to consider when selecting a manufacturing social media marketing agency?
The success of your social media campaigns depends heavily on the agency you choose. When looking for an agency to outsource your manufacturing social media marketing efforts, keep these five factors in mind:
Choose an agency with a proven track record of successful social media campaigns. Don’t just settle for the cheapest option–quality and experience matter.
Check for references and testimonials from previous clients to ensure their credibility and reliability. Consider their communication skills and professionalism. It’s important to find someone who is responsive, communicates effectively, and can represent your brand in a professional manner.
2. Social proof
The outsourced agency’s consistent social media presence (a.k.a. social proof) or lack of it is a telltale sign that may not be a fit for your manufacturing company’s social media needs.
For any manufacturing company looking to outsource their social media needs, one of the first things they should consider is the agency’s presence on the platforms they plan to use. If an agency claims that they specialize in social media, but has a sparse social profile and feed or none at all, it could be a sign that you should look elsewhere.
A good outsourced agency will have a consistent presence across multiple platforms, will post often, and engage with its audience.
It’s important to make sure that the agency provides a comprehensive suite of services to help you reach your goals. A good social media agency should be able to provide content creation and management services, as well as analytics and reporting to track progress and success. Also, they may offer customer service support in order to respond quickly and effectively to any customer inquiries.
4. Content-creation approach
Choose an agency that understands your brand and is able to represent it accurately on social media.
Manufacturing companies often have complex and technical products that require specialized knowledge to effectively communicate to the target audience. It doesn’t matter if they are posting about your finished products or services.
Look for someone who is willing to invest time in getting to know your brand and your products, and clearly understands its company culture, values, mission, and goals.
Ensure that the agency you choose can create social media content that is relevant and engaging to your manufacturing audience and is, therefore, suitable for your industrial business as your agency.
5. Trust your gut
If something doesn’t feel right, move on.
Remember, outsourcing your social media is a big business decision and investment and you want to make sure you’re partnering with a reputable agency that will help you achieve your goals.
This can take time, but by selecting the right agency, you can effectively leverage the power of social media to promote your manufacturing business and connect with your B2B customers.
Choose an agency that understands your brand, products, values, and mission to effectively amplify reach and representation.
Outsourcing Social Media for Manufacturers: Ready (Or Not!)
Let’s take a big-picture look at key points regarding whether you should SME manufacturers should outsource social media.
|Expertise||Have access to a wide range of expertise and experience in social media marketing from content creation to analytics.||Can build specialized expertise over time, but this can take time and resources.|
|Expense||Can be more cost-effective in the long run, as you don’t have to pay for the salaries, benefits, and training of in-house staff.||Can be expensive since you have to pay for salaries, benefits, and training. You will also need to invest in software and tools to support your social media marketing efforts.|
|Time commitment||Can free up your marketing team’s time to focus on other aspects of your manufacturing and industrial business.||Can be more time-consuming, as your team needs to be more involved in the day-to-day management of social channels to stay top of mind.|
|Control||Have less control over the content and strategy of your social media channels.||Have more control over the content and strategy of your social media channels.|
|Risk||You may not be happy with the results of your outsourced social media marketing campaign.||You may not be happy with the results of your own social media campaign.|
|Flexibility||Can be more flexible by adjusting to the never-ending changes in the social media landscape.||May not be as flexible and need to figure out what is going on to respond to the changes in the social media landscape.|
Social Media for Manufacturing Companies: Social Success Marketing
As social media specialists for manufacturers, we understand the crucial role of our marketing services in enhancing the online presence and reach of manufacturing brands using their social media profiles.
We understand the importance of creating compelling social media content that resonates with your business audience and encourages engagement. Our approach to social media marketing is centered on providing manufacturers with content, whether through text or visuals, that will spark conversations among their business customers across social platforms.
Through our comprehensive suite of services, we can help B2B industrial manufacturers create a solid foundation for your brand’s social media presence and ensure that it reaches your target audience.
Discover how manufacturers can leverage the power of social media to increase brand awareness, connect with customers, and drive sales in today’s digital age.
- Faria, Julia. Share of SMBs to outsource marketing activities due to a recession in the U.S. 2022. January 6, 2023, accessed August 08, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1346641/smbs-to-outsource-marketing-activities-due-to-recession-us/