ImageBusiness owners and senior management need to focus on growth and the underlying business and they often struggle with how to get social media started. A company’s voice in social media needs to be driven from within and then shaped and broadcasted by someone who knows what they are doing. For many SMB's and large brands too, the best possible formula is outsourced strategy development and then collective implementation by the company and their “Social Media Pro” partner.

Here are some tips on how to do it right:

Know What Your Responsibilities Are As a Client

Before the project starts, be sure to read the contract so you understand what services you’ll receive. It is so important to take note of the responsibilities that your organization will have at the start of the project and while the project continues.

Your professional consultant will need information and resources in order to get started. Your outsourced partner will want/need to know about your goals, your objectives with social and of course any other important benchmarks.  In order for an external company to really carry the voice of the client online there is definitely a little heavy lifting to be done internally.  If you and your team are prepared to give the outside social media experts what they need, the launch of your project will be a lot smoother.

Establish Benchmarks and Be Honest About Your Needs

A consultant or outsourcing team will need to know how you’re currently performing so they can help you improve your results. Be open and honest here, so that you can get a real assessment and road map to improve. Just like going to a trainer to get in shape, you need to give an honest personal audit to help them prepare the right plan built just for you.

If nothing else, this internal audit will also help you understand what type of help your company needs.  i.e. If you’re very active on social media but aren’t seeing the results you expect, you need to bring in a team or consultant that specializes in engagement rather than page or profile launches.

Get Your Team on Board With The Hire

You must be careful to get your team on board with outsourcing if you want it to be most effective. Everyone should be aware and instructed to embrace the relationship for the greater good of the company.  Even if you’re just having consultants come in to refine and perfect your approach to social, there can be some ruffled feathers.

Before the outsourcing service begins, be sure that anyone involved on your side of the fence is fully invested in what you are going to be doing. Share the benefits of the outsourcing service. Help everyone understand how it will increase your company’s success with social and streamline internal resources.

Manage Your Expectations

Once a project is complete and a business feels empowered they tend to expect big wins overnight. Your company may have been waiting for expertise in the area or made limited investments up until the point you decide to outsource, and now that you have there is an assumption that it will be very easy. It will be strategic and pursuant to a plan, but not necessarily easy.

It is going to take time for the social media team and your internal team to get the ball rolling in an efficient and effective way. Don’t try to do too much at once and manage your expectations of how much your team can handle and what results you can expect.

If you consider these four things very carefully, you will have a better outsourced experience, which is so important to your business. Social strategy is an important function to outsource to experts because it is such a dynamic medium and is never static. People who really know the space and who watch the changes closely are best suited to write your playbook and set you out with your compass pointed in the right direction.