The popularity of social networking sites has given birth to a new source of revenue for outsourcing companies. A recent report by Social Media Examiner found that 30% of businesses worldwide outsource some portion of their social media marketing, an increase of more than 100% since the Examiner’s 2010 survey. Clearly, global outsourcers are looking to capitalize on the social media outsourcing trend, arguing that like many other corporate functions – social media is ripe for turning over to third-parties.
“The world spends more than 110 billion minutes on social networking sites globally and the overall marketing expenditure on social media marketing is expected to increase to $4 billion by 2014,” says a recent report by Avasant consultancy firm on the impact of social media on the outsourcing industry.
Analysts say design and development, analytics and content creation are the top three areas that social media marketers are outsourcing.
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In 2011, French outsourcing giant Capgemini partnered with Attensity to offer social media analytics services to their clients. A month later, Indian BPO provider Genpact acquired Empower Research to add social media analytics to its portfolio. Today, Aegis Global, 24/7 Customer, West, Transcosmos, Sitel, Wipro, Accenture, Infosys, Teleperformance and TeleTech have all joined the bandwagon.
An increasing number of call centers have been integrating social media into their service offerings since 2010, when ash from an Icelandic volcano brought much of Europe’s air traffic to a halt and many airlines turned to social media, handing out a large number of contracts to call center service providers.
Among the US technology giants, HP is making the most of social networking sites. Hundreds of agents at the Silicon Valley company’s call centers utilize networking sites to respond to customer queries.
However, analysts say much of the social media market remains unexplored. A survey conducted in 2012 by global management consultancy firm A T Kearney found that more than 70 percent of companies ignore consumer complaints made through social media.