How can I make outsourcing work?

OK, before I start, let me just warn you that this will be a bit of a rant! However, I do have a valuable story to tell. Let’s get started… As some of you know, I’m a member of a Mastermind Group. I was speaking to a contact there recently who’s worked her way through no fewer than three digital marketing agencies to date, as none of them proved satisfactory.

It turned out that each agency had essentially gone into the job ‘blind’, with no clear brief provided. They were given just three months to start providing results. Are you surprised that none of these agencies delivered the goods? I’m not! I’m all in favour of outsourcing work that you don’t have the time, skill or inclination to do. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it – and in this case, the approach taken was quite simply set up to fail. That’s not fair on the supplier or your business.

I strongly believe that you need to take the time to really get under the skin of your own company and client offering before you even think about outsourcing something as important as social media, or digital marketing as a whole. That means having a clear strategy and plan in place for your business, and how you want your new supplier to contribute to this.

It’s knowing who your ideal client is and how to communicate this. Having success measures and goals in place with realistic time frames. Identifying your key competitors and looking at what they do online that you should be doing. And for jobs like social media which involve creating content, having brand and tone of voice guidelines in place for your agency to follow.

In addition, you need to pick the right person or company to work with – and that often doesn’t mean the cheapest! I outsourced some work recently and the prices quoted varied quite a bit. I chose the supplier who was the best ‘fit’ for my business and who I was excited about working with (who wasn’t the cheapest). Which brings me to my next point.

It’s never a good idea to choose a supplier who isn’t a specialist in the work you want them to do for you. After all, you wouldn’t get an unqualified handyman to fix your boiler would you (well, I hope not!)?

A typical example is a current trend for employing Virtual Assistants (VAs) to manage marketing tasks such as social media. A VA isn’t usually a specialist in these areas – administrative work is typically more in their line – and therefore won’t get the best possible results for you. A consistent online presence, maybe, but that’s probably about it.

Doesn’t your business deserve a decent investment in suitable suppliers who can do a fantastic job? I think so! What you need to ask yourself when outsourcing is ‘Do I have a plan and a strategy for this work?’ and ‘Is it designed for maximum success?’ For example, if you work with me on your social media, the minimum term is always six months, so your accounts can gain some traction and you can start to see a genuine return on investment.

I hate to see people throwing their money away on the wrong supplier, or because they haven’t briefed the job in properly. Luckily, I have a solution for you! You can work with me on your social media strategy and planning and I’ll help you get all your ducks in a row to get great results. What’s more, now’s the perfect time to start as by the time 2022 comes around (not long to go!) you’ll be in a much stronger position to smash it in the New Year.

To find out more, drop me a line at hello@curetonconsulting.co.uk or visit the Social Media Strategy page on my website. You can also take a look at the other ways I can help your business if you visit the Services section.

Right, that’s it – rant over!

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