Social media outsourcing (SMO)

Every one of us is aware of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). Now we even have Legal Process outsourcing (LPO). Why cannot we imagine a scenario featuring imaginary Indian Social Media Outsourcing (SMO) Company? I think SMO will be the next big business opportunity for India after BPO and KPO.

To prove my case about the potential of Social media outsourcing (SMO) we will consider a soon-to-be-real scenario featuring imaginary Indian SMO company.

Imagine a sprawling corporate campus on the outskirts of a large Indian metro (take your pick from Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon or Pune). Imagine 5000 twenty-something Indians sitting in front of their LCD monitors. If you must, think of a call center. Except that these twenty-somethings are not making call after call to customers in the US; they are reading articles, posts and comments and tagging them, or responding to them.

Welcome to Virtual pundit. You are at the corporate campus of one of India’s many social media outsourcing (SMO) companies. If you visit Virtual pundit’s website, you’ll find that Virtual pundit claims to provide end-to-end social media solutions to Fortune 500 clients. In fact, it often does. It has an impressive client roster of Indian multinationals who now have an international footprint and want to engage with a global audience via social media. Virtual pundit provides the entire gamut of social media solutions to such clients, including online reputation monitoring, development of social media strategy and deployment of social media tools.

However, only less than 10% of Virtual pundit’s 5000 strong workforce works (directly or indirectly) with Indian clients. 90% of Virtual pundit’s workforce works on international client accounts.

Virtual pundit has sales offices in the US and Europe and its international clients are a mix of Fortune 500 corporates and social media agencies who work for them.

Virtual pundit rarely provides an end-to-end social media solution to such clients. Such clients have basically out-sourced two social media processes (SMPs) to Virtual pundit- Social media monitoring, which basically involves reading and tagging thousands of articles and posts on a daily basis and presenting the results in pre-decided formats-  Business-to-consumer or B2C community management, which basically involves reading and responding to thousands of customer posts, comments and complaints on a daily basis.

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