- There are positives and negatives to weigh when deciding whether to outsource social media creation and management.
- Various tools can help you outsource parts of your social media activities and keep control of others.
- Social media by itself is unlikely to lead to referrals, but it can open the door to conversations.
You know you need to have a social media presence. But if you’re like most agents I know, you have a million other things to do.
Finding the time to create content and manage social media — let alone master the skills — is challenging enough. You’re only human after all. That’s probably why many agents choose to outsource their social media.
Should you follow their lead or explore other options? I can’t answer that for you, but I can help you understand the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision.
The primary benefits of outsourcing your social media efforts should be pretty obvious.
The first is convenience. It’s one less thing you have to do yourself. Although using Facebook and other social media sounds more like playing than working, using it effectively for business does take time and effort.
You have to develop a strategy, craft updates, find and vet content to share, measure the results and continually adapt.
When all of that is off of your plate, you’re free to focus on other tasks, such as calling past clients and closing deals. Being able to devote more time to the things that have your highest return on investment is never a bad thing.
Finally, a social media professional or company is probably better at social media marketing than you. There are several reasons for this.
For one thing, a professional has established networks he or she can tap to get you followers faster than you might be able to reach on your own.
A professional has a broad range of technical resources that might be out of an agent’s budget if he or she purchased them on his or her own. These complex tools provide accurate tracking and measurement to prove the value of social media initiatives and deliver insights for continued improvement.
As great as all of the benefits above sound, there are some drawbacks that you need to consider.
The biggest is that it gives you less control. Even if someone else is handling your account, it’s still your account. It reflects your brand, so putting it in someone else’s hands is always a bit of a risk. This is especially true on social media, where brands seem to get into hot water all the time.
This insensitive tweet that went out when the person responsible for Kitchen Aid’s account forgot to switch to his or her personal account is one example.
This is another one.
DiGiorno obviously didn’t do its homework, or it would have known that the hashtag was related to domestic violence.
To be fair, these are relatively rare, isolated incidents. That’s not likely to happen to you, but short of reviewing every update and reply before it’s posted, the possibility exists.
Don’t forget that social media isn’t just about pushing out messages. It’s also about connecting with people. Even when you outsource social media marketing, you still need to make the time to respond to comments, direct tweets and other messages. You should never outsource those.
Finally, although a good social media pro or agency will learn about you and your business, there will likely to be a bit of a learning curve. And no matter how much study time someone puts in, that person will never know your business and your clients as well as you.
You have another option
When you look at all these positives and negatives, the answer to whether you should outsource social media is not easy to answer. But what if you didn’t think of it as a yes or no question?
You might be able to find ways to outsource parts of your social media and streamline other sections with tools that curate content and make management easier — and you stay in control.
What aspects you should outsource and what you should do yourself will depend on several factors. Answering these questions can help:
- What social media activities are the most challenging for you?
- What are the most time-consuming tasks?
- What can you trust someone else to handle?
- What gives you the best and least return on investment compared to your time?
Whether you handle social yourself, use a tool to do some of it for you or hire someone else, make sure it fits in with your larger marketing plan.
Most people won’t come and give you a referral or ask you to be their agent just because they saw your update on Facebook. But if you can engage with them on online and use it to start up a conversation, you have an opening to ask for referrals.