The growth of social media outsourcing

November 22, 2012

Social media has become a game changer in the way brands converse with their customers. The media started off as an additional marketing medium where brands presented their new products and services to their prospects. However, it soon became a sales channel, a customer service platform and an R&D think tank. The various social media channels consolidated their position as a major listening channel where brands could garner customer opinions and feedback on their services.

The rapid growth of the media left brands unprepared for a change in their strategies. Social Media was previously left to the periphery of the organization’s Marketing and PR arms. Some companies even got the help of web marketing agencies to take care of their social media efforts. However, large companies and multinationals that are looking for a more systematic approach to data mining, analytics, customer service and interaction are now turning towards traditional outsourcing services providers for their social media campaigns. Taking cue, BPO service providers have started investing in social media capabilities and tools of offer a broad range of social media services.

In July 2011, Capgemini started offering social media management services in partnership with Attensity. They leveraged the social media monitoring firm’s tools to analyze, monitor and offer multiple services to the clients. 2 months later, Genpact acquired EmPower Research, a social media monitoring and analytics firm to head-start their social media offerings. Soon, 24/7 joined the bandwagon by announcing their plan to hire 5000 social and interactive media specialists in India. Other service providers like Wipro, Teleperformance and Sitel have also started offering social media management services.

For a relatively small market, social media outsourcing is growing rapidly. As per the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry report by Social Media Examiner, 30% of participants were outsourcing some part of their social media efforts, up from 28% in 2011 and 14% in 2010. Design and development was way ahead of other functions with 20% of the market share, followed by analytics with 11%, content creation with 10%, monitoring (7%) and research (7%).

More and more companies are realizing the benefits of outsourcing components of social media to BPO service providers. It’s cost effective, quicker and flexible. The service providers will ensure that the latest technology and techniques are used to get the optimum results from the social media efforts. A good service provider can look after a client’s social media efforts by providing the infrastructure, processes, technology and intelligence to interpret customer analytics and respond and converse based on that.

Companies who don’t recognize the social media opportunities stand the risk of being left on the sidelines. The social networks on which people interact will change with time. However, the social media culture is here to stay. It’s high time that companies integrate it into their business strategies.