Outsourcing a Corporate Facebook Page

What shows up about your company in Google? Much ado exists about the pros and cons of outsourcing corporate social media.

In The Story of a Corporate Facebook Page, I used the metaphor of Shakespeare's  A Misummer Night’s Dream and the idea of a play within a play to begin to use Handshake 2.0’s Facebook Page as a case study for companies seeking their own answers to "What do we do about Facebook?"

In this case study, creation of a Facebook page for an enterprise – Handshake 2.0 – essentially was outsourced to a third party social media services provider – Handshake Media.  The "play within a play" is that Handshake Media owns Handshake 2.0.  While the story isn't Shakespeare, it does have a thick plot.  With animals.

“Feed the beast.” 

Once a social media site is up, whether it's a blog, a Twitter account, or a Facebook page, a company is holding an empty bag of dog chow for a sad-eyed puppy.

Through social media content – generally text, images, and video – people and companies express who they are and what they’re doing, and fans can share the same.  And in terms of cold, hard business reality, Google and other search engines now list real-time social media content in their search results.  If a company isn’t providing real-time content, it’s decreasing its likelihood of appearing in searches done by people they definitely want to know and be known by.  And as we say at Handshake 2.0, even online, "It's still who you know."

How does a company feed the content best?  In-house or outsource?  I'm both, so here's my story.

Updating a Corporate Facebook Page – How Often, How Much, and How Long Does it Take?

I update Handshake 2.0’s Facebook Fan page on weekdays, once per day, usually in the morning, often with several updates.  I respond to fans’ comments at that time as well. 

Creating the content of the updates requires thinking.  What do we want to have happen as a result of our Facebook page?  What content could I post today that would align with our vision?  Usually the answer is a “value-added” about posts on Handshake 2.0.  What hasn’t been said in the post that I could share on Facebook for greater “who you know” interest, entertainment, connection and value for the Facebook page’s visitors?

Sometimes I know the answer immediately and the mechanics of typing the update in Word to double-check spelling and grammar, pasting that into the update box on Facebook, copying and pasting the link from a browser, clicking to attach the correct picture – all that takes 10 minutes.

When the answer isn’t immediate and I need to reread, think, do research, or generate new content rather than a value-added – that can take a half an hour. 

I average about 1.5 hours per week updating our corporate Facebook Fan page and interacting with fans.  We charge $100 per hour for my consulting services.  If I were outsourcing my Facebook Fan page to my company as a third-party provider, it would cost me $150 per week, or $600 per month for a 4-week month.

Since the beginning of 2009, the top sources of traffic to Handshake 2.0, according to Google Analytics, have been direct traffic, Google search results, Twitter and Facebook.  In the last quarter of 2009, traffic to Handshake 2.0 increased by 25% when we stopped using feeds to update our Facebook page and added thoughtful, personal updates instead.

I’ve written about the difference in value of traffic vs. audience, but traffic is the standard measure by which the value of an online property is measured.  The second measure is where the site’s content appears in search results.  Those measures make sense.  "It’s who you know" – word of mouth generates business referrals - so the more you know, the more business is likely.  To be valued beyond its content, Handshake 2.0 needs traffic and high search engine listings.

Every company needs traffic from all sources, including from search engines.  It's the source of "It's who you know" leads.

Based on the Handshake 2.0 case study, and given that I am "a play within a play," both an in-house, corporate Facebook page manager, and a provider of outsourced Facebook page services, would I outsource my Facebook page management to a third party?

For me, the answer depends on these questions.

1. Can we co-create enough content to "feed the beast"?  Do I have a blog, an email newsletter, a direct mailing from which my third party company and I can co-create value-added content for my corporate Facebook page?  If not, creating original, mission-driven and mission-worthy content will take time and thought, both of which are costly, whether done in-house or outsourced.

2. How does my sales funnel and contact-to-conversion ratio work?  If from 1000 visitors to my site, I can get 1 conversion that results in $1000 in sales, how much am I willing to pay for those 1000 visitors?

3. What percentage of my sales ultimately originate from search engine results?  Do people use Google to check out me or my company before they even begin to think of contacting me?  If so, when I Google myself or my company, what shows?  When search terms related to my business are used, does my company appear in the results?  With Google now measuring the size of a social media footprint, i.e. current content in social media channels like Facebook, am I being outplayed by my competitors who use social media, however modestly, even ineptly?

I don't have a clever quote to end this post.  I have shared over and over again how much I care about companies using social media in a way that will work for them and produce desired business results.  What occurs to me is Juliet's lament about already being engaged when she meets Romeo.  I want no good company with good people and good products and services to utter, "Too early seen unknown, and known too late!"

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For more ideas about corporate, business and enterprise Facebook pages, feel free to view our category for Social Media.

These two posts read together may prove of value:

The Story of a Corporate Facebook Page
Outsourcing a Coporate Facebook Page

It's Still Who You Know at Beaux Arts Galleria
The Story of a Corporate Facebook Page

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