November 26, 2012

Should you farm out some of your social media chores?

Why a hybrid approach may be the best solution

Target audience: Businesses, brands, marketing and communication professionals, SEO specialists, agencies, general public.

Chris AbrahamI just got off the phone with Andrea Howard, president of Social Media Maxima, a company I’d never heard of — but i’m impressed with what she’s doing.

Social Media Maxima doesn’t take over all of your social media content creation — unless you really want them to. Instead, they focus on posting relevant, industry-specific content three times per week. The content is provided by the client from agreed-upon sources culled by their research experts. (Disclosure: Socialmedia.biz offers comparable services for businesses that want us to manage, or supplement, their social accounts.)

What these firms do is provide relevant, generous content. Yes, only three times a week, generally, but I see so many Twitter and Facebook accounts that have been neglected for weeks. While three per week isn’t very many, Social Media Maxima’s price tag of $150 to $275 per month is well worth the price for creating regular content that might otherwise be forgotten. For that price, you can have a fully outsourced social media package — and why not?

Even if you and your team are super-excited to keep up to date with posting, tweeting, blogging and all of that, what harm would a little more do? As they say in the Episcopal Church, “many hands make light work.”

Boost your presence without hiring a full-time employee

To misappropriate Anne-Marie Slaughter‘s controversial article in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, companies that focus on their core business need often have no desire to bog down their limited resources with a full-time director of social media or online community manager.

They just want a little more juice.

And even if you run the corner pizza joint or the small place that sells second-hand baby stuff, you cannot ignore your social media footprint — you really still need to control and update your Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ profiles.

From Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to Instagram and Google+, if you don’t enjoy sharing on social media, it’ll show and you’ll wind up petering out before long

Why? Well, because social media has zero barrier to entry, and because so many people actually do use Google and social sharing and online chatter to find, discover, retweet and share just about everything in their lives, one cannot ignore or avoid social media, social media engagement, social media marketing and social media content creation.

However, if you’re not passionate about any of this stuff and if you’re not passionate about all of it, you really need to make certain that you’re not relegated to have to do all of this. From Pinterest to Instagram, from your Facebook Profile to your Facebook Pages, from Twitter to Google+, there’s a lot to consider. If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll only end up wanting to take out your eyes, smash your various and sundry smart devices, and you’ll surely end up petering out before long, leaving your entire online kingdom to the ravages of time, the shifting sands and tumbling tumbleweeds. You’ll end up with a useless ghost town that will surely portray your company, your brand, your storefront and your practice as zombiefied.

I know, I know: You wonder how a company like Social Media Maxima or Socialmedia.biz ever gets your company pitch perfect? Get over yourself! Often a professional writer can do a much better job of emulating your best self than you can do representing your own authentic self. Yes, I said it: A communications pro can be you, with the proper amount of professionalism and panache, better than you can. That’s why you should hire a PR person and a copywriter and a content guy and a graphic designer and all that other stuff.

And yet, too many of us persist on thinking that we can somehow nail our image perfectly on social media, by ourselves.

The benefits of a hybrid approach

Firms like Social Media Maxima find a solid middle ground by creating a hybrid, allowing clients to contribute as much content as often as they like, while still knowing that the entire social media strategy is not dependent only on when the Muses visit but every single week throughout the year.

If you’ll indulge me, it’s sort of like landscaping: I love gardening but I don’t like maintaining, feeding and trimming lawns and hedges. If I am made to do lawn care and hedge-trimming all my myself, I will end up hating it all and will probably abandon gardening as well. However, if I hire a landscaping service, it doesn’t mean I don’t have a green thumb, it just means I am focusing on doing only the things I love and relinquishing the things I dislike to people who are either better at them or more prepared to get them done on my behalf. For a sum.

So, why not take a hybrid approach? Keep the things you like doing on social media, and outsource the rest, be it to Socialmedia.biz (this site), Social Media Maxima or someone else. You will surely not lose your soul if you outsource the things that drive you nuts and you hate to someone who does it better than you do and for a living.

Related
Enhanced by Zemanta

Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

  • sallyfalkow

    Excellent point Chris.  there are many “landscaping and maintenance”‘ activities that have to be done to make social media a success and those sometimes tedious behind the scenes actions can quite effectively be outsourced.  It’s not only content – we also do monitoring, analysis of conversations,analytics, content strategy and training. Engagement  is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • DavidFarrell

    Chris, 
    Consider this article shared already. 
    After spending eighteen (18) years in pursuit of writing excellence (pursuit; not mastery – I won’t live long enough to master even the English language), and devoting an inordinate amount of time to Social Media, I find myself unemployed again.
    I just finished a stint as a Social Media/PR Consultant to iNexxus (a Canadian Digital Branding Company). I quit because I don’t think $200 for three months work, doing 100/hr weeks was very good form on their behalf. 
    I see articles about how you shouldn’t badmouth a former employer but what about protecting other people from getting ripped off?
    I agree wholeheartedly with you that companies/corporations/businesses should farm out their Social Media duties to accomplished writers with Social Media experience. I qualify. I’m a credited feature-film screenwriter & stills photographer, published author & poet, and have been editor-in-chief of three commissioned magazines. 
    Anyway, that’s the end of my job application.