6 Rules For Outsourcing Social Media
Outsourcing social media is almost always a bad idea.
Not because someone from the outside is completely incapable of running social media – it can be done, if there is excellent communication between the person running the account and the business owner. It’s a bad idea because there is almost never excellent communication between the person running the account and the business owner. It is also often a sign that the business owner doesn’t take social media seriously.
Don’t get me wrong – I do social media consulting for businesses, and some of that involves setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and other things. I also help those clients find their voice in the new platforms, coach them on what to post and how to post it, and show them how to measure their results. But this is not the same thing as doing all of the social media work for a company.
But, let’s say that you just HAVE to outsource your social media – follow these rules to protect your brand.
1. You absolutely must have complete access to the profile page – this means you must be able to check the email that is associated with the account. I recommend setting up an email specifically for social media purposes – firstname.lastname@example.org for example. Or, use a gmail account such as email@example.com. Make sure that those who need to know the email password know it. Also, make sure that everybody also knows the login passwords for the social media sites that you will be using.
2. Decide the ground rules up front. If you’re hiring someone to tweet for you, decide how far they can take customer service. Can they offer free drinks at your restaurant? How will the restaurant know your social media person has offered a free product?
3. Make sure they don’t make any promises. Take a look at how one example of a tweet created an expectation of personal service at a restaurant, an expectation that backfired tremendously. If making promises is what you want, make sure the rules are clear.
4. Constant communication. You need to know exactly what is going on with your social media accounts. Your mentions, likes, wall posts, everything – you need to know about them. If the social marketing works, people will be coming into your business BECAUSE of what they saw online. They may make reference to it. You may want to reference a customer who came into your location on your FB page. These things need to be communicated, and quickly. Weekly status meetings will not cut it.
5. Know that this isn’t a gimmick. Social media marketing is REAL marketing, just like a newspaper ad or a television spot. It costs money. Even though Twitter or Facebook or YouTube may be free to use, they still require time. You still need a strategy. Don’t go into this thinking it’s not important – there are real people behind twitter accounts, and they spend real money, talk to real friends, and have real feelings.
6. Be present. If you are going to hire someone – make sure that they are going to be present to answer questions, address concerns, and help. Accounts must be monitored in real time. If they can only be monitored from 9am to 4pm, say so in your profile. Be as transparent as possible.
“But Ryan,” you might say, “if I’m going to go to all that work, I might as well just learn how to do all of this stuff myself.”
That’s not to say I wouldn’t EVER do it, but everybody involved needs to be very careful.
P.S. If you DO want to learn how to do the social media marketing stuff yourself – I may just be able to help there too.