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Keep social media outsourcing under control

Organisations looking to promote their brand through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should manage it with internal resources to avoid outsourcing the public image of the company, according to representatives from Facebook and Telstra.

Kristen Boschma, head of online communications and social media at Telstra, said organisations at least need to have someone who is going to be the “intermediary” between the in-house marketing team and a social media outsourcer.

“It’s okay to outsource social media consulting, but you also need someone who is going to recognise a good idea for the company and champion that idea,” Boschma said.

Equally, organisations need someone who will recognise a bad idea, so there is a need for both in-house and third-party social media skills, Boschma says.

[See this recent three-part CIO guide to social media: Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3.]

The head of Facebook in Australia and New Zealand, Paul Borrud, said marketing professionals talk a lot about “knowing your language and brand” so it would be difficult to manage social media completely external to the organisation.

“It’s certainly really critical have a focus internally to keep it connected,” Borrud said.

Borrud recommends finding “owners” of what the business is trying to do with social media, says but once it’s started, it’s “always on”.

“It’s not the six-week microsite strategy that will live and die, and then you start over,” he said.

Borrud and Boschma shared their views during a panel discussion on social media at the CeBit 2011 conference in Sydney last week.

See photos and all the action from the event.

A general consensus was social media tends to be more of a challenge of companies that don’t live in the digital world and it’s always difficult to outsource a company culture. An outsourcer might know about the public brand of a company, but not the internals of the company so the social media split has to be at least 50-50.

Telstra’s Boschma said marketing in the 80s was all about the product, and then it moved into the “new marketing” era which was about “you deserve this car because you are amazing” and now we are in the era of “us marketing”.

Telstra is running a blog and coaching people to become better bloggers and then sending them to Africa to become citizen journalists to help “improve the world”.

“It’s not enough to just build a community,” Boschma said. “It’s like organising a party and you don't have a plan – it’s the same thing with a closed group forum.”

Follow Rodney Gedda on Twitter: @rodneygedda

Follow CIO Australia on Twitter: @CIO_Australia


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