Here’s is why:
- Culture: Only you know yourself as well as you do. If your internal culture is strong, every person should know what the company stands for and what its values are. They will also know what your organizational mandate is as far as customer support and how you interact with other people in the social sphere, as well as in traditional channels. It’s more difficult to act as a steward of a company if you don’t live inside this internal culture, if you aren’t privy to internal workings, things you do well, and areas for improvement. There’s just a certain level of magic that’s there when you are on the inside. I wrote about hiring the right social media person; and to truly be a brand ambassador, I believe you have to be internal.
- Transparency: Just like you can get more visibility into what others are doing, others can get more visibility into your world when you are internal. Of course, an outsourced agency will share what they are working on, and SCRM tools allow everyone to work from the same customer record. However, the level of transparency is just not the same when you take things external, no matter how you slice it.
- Collaboration: Because social media is not a silo and internal collaboration is key, an internal person is naturally going to have an easier time working with the right people in the organization. Access to the right department heads is also going to be key, and is simply easier when done internally. All organizations, especially the larger ones, have their own cultural and communication norms, and even office politics, observing which will is also inherently easier by an “insider”. We can all debate the importance of flat organizations and seamless collaboration, and whereas we are moving in that direction with SCRM programs and social business and collaboration tools, we are far from the ideal. Also, internal cultural Idiosyncrasies will always exist, no matter what tool or process you enact.
- Support from the C-suite: right along with #1, it’s key, especially in large organizations to have support of the C-suite, in order to do social media on a meaningful scale. Of course, many companies have started grassroots programs that blossomed into full-scale social media initiatives. Yes, that’s a great place you can start — if you have social media savvy folks, they can certainly start providing support in social channels, blogging, creating content, developing a set of social media guidelines. Once you start, you should be tracking your success, because that’s what’s going to garner you the executive support you need for a full-scale operation. It’s easier to start from the inside, get buy-in and grow vs. getting buy-in to outsource. There’s simply more transparency, and the C-suite just may feel better that they know what’s going on. Their concerns and fears may be calmed knowing that they can have access to internal social media resources at all times. Once you pilot an internal program, get buy-in, you can then lobby to augment your efforts with support outsourcing (excluding customer experience leadership).
- Building a future: having an internal social media and customer experience leadership means that you can also get others energized from the inside, and you can make plans to grow your social media team over time. You should plan to do this; however, as you consider growth plans, make sure that you are not creating a social media silo. Rather, you should make social a part of everything you do and not leave it up to your social team to be the only social voices for your company.