Social media – outsource or DIY?

I talked to a lot of people in 2015 about improving their online engagement – the need for responsive websites, social media and so on.  In revisiting those conversations since the new year, something interesting has happened.  Many companies have simply outsourced their “social media”.  Job done.  Box ticked.  Or is it?

What they’re actually doing is paying someone to manage their twitter account.  And it’s working – to an extent.  They are gathering followers and look like they’re participating in the conversation.

But it’s risky.  The content isn’t quite right.  The people managing the twitter accounts aren’t close enough to the businesses they’re representing – and in some cases actually know very little about the industry.  And the businesses being represented need to be sure that they’re engaging too.

Some tips on how to get it right:

  • If you talk about a project, it suggests that you worked on it, or at least that you support it. This kind of content must come from the business.
  • If you’re promoting news from elsewhere (eg, new regulations announced or a good debate in the House of Commons), try and have a view.
  • If you’re at an event, that’s your moment for twitter – instant engagement with an online conversation that you’re part of in the real world (also promoting your involvement in the event).  You can’t outsource this bit.
  • It’s about quality not quantity. Regular but not often is better than lots of cr*p cluttering people’s newsfeeds.

Outsourcing your social media works best when the people taking it on work closely with your business and are doing more than just social media for you.  It’s all about the quality of the content – and the quality of the brief given to the people taking it on.

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