Once upon a time, Chris Brogan said you should never outsource your social media. I’ll admit it – I was more than a little miffed with him. There’s a lot to doing social media properly. You need a combination of technological prowess, marketing insights, and organizational skill to put it all together. Adding these tasks to an already-busy small business owner’s workload can be overwhelming. Telling someone they need to do it all themselves, I thought, was tantamount to suggesting that the homeowner who wanted a larger home didn’t need to hire a building contractor. They could just take up a hammer and saw and do it all themselves.
I’m still right, you know. But I’ve discovered that I’m also wrong. There’s a criteria I didn’t consider when thinking through my response to Brogan’s admonition, and that’s the approach of the company you decide to outsource your social media to. There are basically two schools of professional social media management: the custom and the manufactured.
Understanding Custom & Manufactured Social Media
The custom school of social media management is a very hands-on, individualized approach. There’s a real focus on conveying a brand’s unique personality and local appeal; the goal here is to encourage engagement and build rapport with the client’s customers. It’s time consuming – content is created exclusively for the client, and then never used again – but it garners objectively observable results, including more sales.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re looking at – home construction, jewelry, social media – but custom work always costs more than the mass-produced, manufactured option. Business owners who know they have to do something on social media – after all, isn’t everybody on Facebook nowadays? – choose what appears to be the more budget-friendly option: the manufactured social media choice.
Custom means just for you. Manufactured means ‘works for everyone’. Think about what that means in terms of social media content: images and very brief messaging that touches on key concepts so broad and universal that they’re ultimately meaningless to your customer – who may very well see the exact same content appearing on one or more of your competitor’s social media sites. There’s little if any regard to best practices surrounding when posts should be shared. Engagement with commenters is often delayed by hours or even days – a critical systems failure when your customers are using social media to address complaints.
You Get What You Pay For
The overall results of manufactured social media tend not to be satisfying; this does not appear to be of great concern to the vendors thereof, who rely on low prices attracting a consistently high volume of customers who will give them money for a while. The companies that “save money” choosing manufactured social media are paying big time in terms of sales they don’t make and customer relationships that aren’t being encouraged. You have to wonder: is it worth it?
With this in mind, I’d have to say Chris Brogan is, in fact, right, with one big caveat: you shouldn’t outsource your social media if you’re going to a company that’s going to provide you with manufactured, cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all content. In that instance, you’re much better off handling your social media yourself or even doing nothing at all.
But manufactured social media isn’t your only option. If you can find a erapy.com/services/social-media/”>social media management firm that provides custom, high-touch service focused on building your brand’s unique message and forming genuine bonds with your customers, then you’ll have satisfying results that boost your bottom line. Then it’s a good idea to outsource your social media.