Should Your Brand Outsource Community Management?
Community management is now an expectation from customers. It’s the perfect opportunity to connect with them. If customers have a positive experience, they’ll drive new business and create more opportunities.
You may be wondering if your brand should outsource community management or keep it in-house. The wiser choice may vary depending on your brand scope and community type. Sometimes it is best to outsource, while other times it is best to keep it in-house.
What is Community Management?
Community management is the process of reaching your audience, interacting with them, and bringing them together to interact with each other. Community management’s goal and purpose is to build, manage and nurture your community.
Managing means how your brand interacts and engages with people online. It might be via a group, social media, online forum, or website. It is a way to build and strengthen relationships with your audience.
Community management helps you reach your customers and fans to create an authentic and engaging environment around your brand. It also helps your brand build loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Why is Community Management Important for Brands?
Community management is crucial to engage with existing customers as well as grow your audience. It can help your brand bring people together and create communities, which will help your brand loyalty and awareness. The bigger your brand is, the more essential community management becomes.
The top benefits of community management include:
- Define and strengthen your brand reputation
- Increase your audience engagement
- Identify and grow engagement opportunities
Community management is key to enhancing customer service and humanizing your brand. You can offer personalized support via a direct line of communication with your audience and engage one-on-one with your customers. Community management makes your brand more trustworthy and relatable more than using automated responses or a chatbot. These kinds of interactions can help your brand build meaningful relationships with your audience and community.
Which Channels Require Community Management?
All channels would benefit from community management, but as each online community’s needs and structures are different, the channels requiring community management may also vary depending on your brand’s needs and audience.
Your audience must come first when looking at which channels to target. You should look to their behavior and interests to identify the type of content you share. Your content will define which channels require your time and energy to start community management.
Overview of online community channels
There are a plethora of online communities channels to choose from. Online communities usually focus on a specific theme and audience, and can be a community focused on brands, events, knowledge and learning, or expert content.
Classic social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, are great to showcase your product or service and grow your online presence. Such large user-based platforms will also help you connect, attract, and engage with new audiences.
Content and engagement platforms, such as Quora and Reddit, are interesting platforms to build credibility and get feedback among your audience.
Should you Outsource Community Management?
Community management can be tricky. It can sometimes be time consuming and tedious, especially for large-scale companies. To help you maintain your reputation among customers and competitors, your brand can hire a specialist or an agency outside your business to perform specific tasks. Outsourcing community management might or might not be what your brand needs at the moment, depending on your specific needs and scale.
Pros of outsourcing
The online relationship between a company and a customer is precious. To keep and grow a lasting connection, companies need to invest time, energy, and availability.
Replying to comments, handling customer service, reinforcing your brand’s online presence, and monitoring industry trends and keywords can be an overwhelming task. Outsourcing some or all of those tasks to experts is a great way to improve your overall social media strategy.
Outsourcing is the solution for your brand if you don’t have the time or resources to handle it all by yourself or feel that an expert’s hand is the way to go. Trusty social media agencies like ICUC have access to many employees and departments working in shifts to be able to control it all.
Pro #1: Experts solutions and tools
Community management services get you access to experts with a proven track record. Your brand will benefit from their years of experience in the field. Additionally, external companies have advanced methods and tools that your brand might not have. They work quickly and can help improve your overall performance across social media.
Pro #2: Targeted efforts
External companies have access to many resources to get projects done. They will enable you to plan and execute your targeted campaigns and projects more effectively. Community management agencies can execute projects and goals that you may not have time for due to limited hours or resources.
Pro #3: Efficient and economical
Save time and resources with a community management agency, allowing you and your team to focus on crucial priorities and product or service offerings. You will get the peace of mind that these tasks are being handled expertly and efficiently without having to exhaust internal teams and resources.
Cons of outsourcing
The benefits of outsourcing community management can be substantial. On the other hand, outsourcing part of your brand’s social media activities can be tricky when done incorrectly, as it involves handing over the control of a part of your brand’s business functions to a third party.
Con #1: You might have less control
Outsourcing community management means you might lose control on how tasks are being monitored and performed. It might not be recommended if you like to keep your hands in the details throughout the process.
A community management agency will most likely work remotely as they represent you and your brand. It’s important that you can trust the team you hire, as they will work somewhat autonomously with certain tasks and projects. You can ask for regular reports and open communication channels to make sure their work fits your needs.
Con #2: No one knows your business like you do
You have worked hard on your brand. You know it inside and out. You are committed to its success. An outsourced company might not get you and your brand as well as you do. It might take time and energy to get them where you need them to be.
Outsourcing community management will take some time, as you coach and teach them about your company’s needs. A professional team with a great track record and systems will get up to speed quickly and ensure a high quality engagement.
Con #3: You might think it’s too expensive
Outsourcing your community management means that you will need to pay a team to perform some tasks, instead of doing it yourself or assigning to someone in-house. If your budget isn’t quite there yet, outsourcing might not be for your brand. Keep in mind that you can outsource a portion of tasks and keep the rest in-house. Finding the balance that works for you and your budget is key to successful community management.
Important Considerations for Outsourcing
If you’re thinking about working with a community management agency, you should do your homework and know what you need to ensure the best match. Great communications between your brand and the agency is key as you need to be able to react quickly to insights. Here are some questions to consider.
- Does the agency understand your brand and your products or service?
- Do they have strong experience in your field?
- Do the technologies they are using fit your community management needs?
- What is their communication style like? How will they provide updates and reports?
- How many other clients are they working with?
- Are they working with competitors? Are there any conflicts of interest?
- What is the feedback of their current and former clients?
Factors to Consider
Outsourcing requires careful planning and considerations. You need to think about your needs and expectations to make the choice that fits you and your brand. The size and type of your online community, the complexity of your product or service, and your budget are some factors to consider.
Additionally, it’s important to consider the following factors to see if outsourcing is the right fit for your brand:
- Productivity: Will outsourcing be a way to increase your overall productivity, competitiveness, and save you time? What tasks are you thinking of outsourcing and why?
- Cost: Consider all costs associated with community management. What are the costs of doing it in-house vs. outsourcing? Is outsourcing a great cost-saving method for your business?
- Communication: Are you prepared to manage an outsourcing relationship and build strong communication streams to ensure that miscommunications or errors won’t be in your way?
- Return on investment (ROI): Check out your ROI to see the impacts of outsourcing on your business.
Outsourcing Community Management with ICUC
Our clients save time and money by outsourcing community management. ICUC team has the necessary training, scope, and scale for all of your customer service needs, from social media moderation services to community management. Maintaining this high quality service in-house can be laborious, which is why clients choose us to become an extension of their team.
Engaging customers in your brand voice requires expertise. At ICUC we don’t just manage online brand communities, we proactively cultivate and create them. Our 24/7 community engagement specialists, spanning 52+ languages, refine your brand persona, grow your customers’ loyalty, and expand your brand visibility through quick and nuanced online interactions.
What you can expect from our Community Management services:
- Increased response time and unleveled customer service
- Real-time information on your products and services for your customers
- Build, scale, and engage an authentic community online, true to your brand value
- Real time, around-the-clock engagement, to get ahead of your competitors
- Generate new leads through positive reviews by meeting customer demands, both online and through word of mouth
Social media community management is key to building and engaging with an online community that will help your brand grow and gain visibility. Whether your brand should outsource community management or keep it in-house depends on your brand needs and overall social media strategy.