May 17th 2009. By Alex Romanovich

Oh no! I don’t want to scare you – this is not yet another post about whether Social Media Marketing (SMM) can be outsourced or not. Instead, it is a brief decomposition of what exactly I think can be, or cannot be, outsourced. Later on, I also provide a few examples of tools and techniques, which can be used to guide yourself into the world of Social Media.  First, let me say – Social Media Marketing, like any other service, can be decomposed, broken into smaller tasks, and yes, outsourced. Let’s also agree that, in reality, outsourcing, is not about ‘shipping jobs overseas’, but rather a fairly old process of off-loading a set of processes and tasks to a qualified professional, hopefully with knowledge of the subject matter.  Secondly, if we were to break Social Media Marketing into components, tasks and functions, we could come up with a very long and interesting list, similar to this one:

  • Social Media Marketing Strategy
  • Social Media Marketing Blueprint or Action Plan
  • Social Media Channel Strategy (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube or a slightly different combination of the previously mentioned social media channels)
  • Online Reputation Management, or set of reputation and brand related tools and services
  • Social Media Profile Creation, Integration, and Management (Maintenance) – most of us know how to set up Twitter and Facebook accounts, but some of us don’t like to do it
  • Blog creation, marketing, and optimization
  • Online video marketing (video blogs included)
  • Blog and Twitter (‘listening devices’) data collection, analysis, interpretation
  • Action, related to ‘what to do next’ in the terms of marketing or communications response or maintenance
  • Data mining and text analytics
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Copywriting and Creative Writing


…and many other tasks and functions that we can list above. In reality, depending on how, when and what you are trying to achieve with Social Media Marketing, an organization can decide whether to outsource any of  it or not. Certainly, if you are going to blog about the aviation industry, you would have to know something about it. Or if you are developing a strategy for small and medium size retailers, who are looking for ways to survive,  and potentially grow, you’d better know something about catalog management and eCommerce. Truthfully, organizations need to decide what they can do internally, and what could be outsourced, out-tasked, crowdsourced, and ‘expert-sourced’.  Social Media Marketing opens a number of opportunities for improvement if companies honestly assess their capabilities and admit their weaknesses, one of which could be their inability to manage projects successfully, or political undertones of their operations, blocking progress. In the end, Social Media Marketing is a ‘recombinant set of tools and services’, capable of assembling and disassembling upon need, to deliver tangible results – measured, tracked, and explained. Once the results are well understood by the marketing organization, changes, tweaks, and enhancement can be made. Most importantly, whether you outsource any of the above functions or keep it tightly interwoven within your marketing and technology organizations, one thing is absolutely clear – you,  as an organization, need to dedicate yourself to a long term Social Media Marketing strategy and execution. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.