Should Social Media Be Outsourced or Kept In-House?



“I don’t want someone who doesn’t know our customers talking to our customers.”

Kim Gordon, store manager
Jim Kryshak Jewelers
Wausau, Wis.

THE PERSONAL TOUCH: When retail jewelers outsource, most of the time it’s just content being thrown on a profile page. Talking about the jewelry in the store and events in the lives of our customers allows us to be more personal. Personalized service is why people shop here. Managing social media internally reinforces that.

MAKING TIME TO TWEET: We’re concentrating mainly on Facebook. Managing all aspects of social media is about 5 percent of my job as store manager. But that’s about to change. Right now we have a Twitter account, but aren’t using it. When our mobile-enabled website is launched and people start finding us through mobile devices, there’ll be a greater demand to use Twitter. By that time, with Facebook and Twitter, social media will be about 15 to 20 percent of my workload. 

Jim Kryshak Jewelers’ Facebook page

TO MARKET, TO MARKET: The changes we’ve made to our social media marketing brought about many changes to the store’s overall marketing strategy. In order to compete more effectively, we had to promote more. Managing social media helped us better understand when and how that marketing mix should happen. As we’re concentrating more on electronic marketing, we’re also becoming more diligent in continually updating our database of 20,000 customers. Through e-newsletters and e-mail campaigns, social media is becoming a more powerful marketing tool for us.

ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT: Eighteen months ago I created a corporate Facebook account. A lot of customers came over from my personal account. At first, the content was mostly store-related with product announcements, notifications of store events, and other general content. But this year we wanted to do [something] more interactive. Managing social media in-house allowed me to know when it was time to make the transition. We recently held a Facebook-based “hidden box” event where customers had to get notifications from our profile page, then come into the store to get clues as to where to find wrapped gifts. Customers are expressing their excitement and the fun they’re having with the event. This was the right move.

“We simply don’t have the time or expertise to make social media work the way we need it to work for us.”

Ronda Daily, owner
Bremer Jewelry
Peoria, Ill.

TALENT SEARCH: Given the methods needed to reach younger bridal customers, we knew our plans for social media would be a huge time commitment with Facebook and Twitter. We decided to go with the agency that was already handling our marketing and promotions. They know us well…[so it] was a natural extension.

THE BENEFITS: Time, time, time is the biggest benefit. The day-to-day activity needed for social media isn’t in my schedule. Plus, [we] come up with ideas for Facebook postings. It’s a team effort.

STRATEGY MEETINGS: I meet with the agency every quarter to discuss our total marketing focus as well as social media strategies. Topics we’d like addressed on Facebook are discussed—events we’re hosting, contests we’d like to run, and vendors we’d like to feature. Product shots receive the most responses. We’ve also had good responses with incentives like “Become a fan and get 20 percent off your next repair.” It’s working well. We keep getting more fans and friends each week.

Bremer Jewelry’s spokesman, Ernest J

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST: We actually have two Facebook accounts. Ernest J, our cartoon spokesman modeled after our company founder, Ernest J. Bremer, has his own account. We’re also hooked up on Yelp. And with online sales coupled with a detailed and in-depth corporate website, social media has become an important part of our online strategy. With every event and every ad or commercial, there’s a social media component. 

THE SOCIAL MEDIA MIX: Our strategy is more focused on Facebook. There’s more flexibility with Facebook. To make sure content is going to our Twitter account, the agency set up a Twitter feed from Facebook. So, for us, Twitter runs itself.

DIVISION OF LABOR: The agency does about 90 percent of the social media work; we do about 10 percent. Our staff reads the Facebook page and posts comments. Just because we have an outside agency doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice.