If you are in a leadership position, or if you’re an entrepreneur running a growing business(es), should you outsource your social media activity? Well, I think the answer is yes and no. Let’s start with what you should definitely be doing yourself.
No: Because you can’t beat authenticity
If you want to talk authentically to your online community then you have to do it yourself. No communications agency can, or at least should, be having online conversations on your behalf. Can you imagine being at a networking event, and someone introduces themselves as the person you’ve been having some banter with on Twitter, and you have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about? Embarrassing, and if you don’t rescue it quickly, you’ll take a hit to your credibility.
Why would you want someone building relationships with your community on your behalf, under the guise of you? This is your opportunity to find new business relationships, connect with clients, business associates, and your staff in an open, personable and engaging way in your authentic voice. No-one can ever really do that for you, least of all an outsourced communications agency. If you see something amazing happening right here and now in your organisation, a quick picture with a caption in the moment is incredibly powerful. If you were to take that picture, forward it to your agency, leave them to find out what the context is behind it, come up with an appropriate message, and get it approved before posting it, you’ve probably lost at least a day and you’ve certainly missed the opportunity.
But before you think I’m blogging myself out of business here, there are still lots of ways that PR departments and specialist consultancies can help. I see the conversations that take place online as the cherry on the top of the cake. It’s the bit everyone likes and talks about, but it’s nothing without a something more solid, and hopefully still tasty below it. And that’s where we come in.
Yes: Because you can’t do it all…
Good social media campaigns are based on great content. Conversations are part of that, and probably the most exciting bit, but there’s no point just having banter. You still want to tempt people to read or watch content on your website that will help them to understand what you do, why they should like you, and ultimately why they should be doing business or working for you.
Your campaign will undoubtedly fail unless you and your teams understand why you’re doing it, how to do it and that there is a commitment to producing consistent, good quality content. So, here are some ways where we and/or your PR department can add value:
- Training – getting you clear about how to use social media to best suit your personal and business objectives.
- Content generation – working with you and your teams to develop idea for content, and turning those ideas into content, whether it’s a series of tweets, blogs or videos.
- Managing your content calendar – creating a schedule that will ensure that there is a consistent stream of content being published that you and your employees can push to their respective communities. These are then topped up with your conversations.
- Fresh ideas – as we’re on top of all the latest trends, we can bring you fresh ideas for new content, and push you details of current topics being discussed that you may want to join in on.
- Keep it legal – we can keep you straight when it comes to what’s legal, and help develop your social media policies that will ensure your staff are operating within acceptable parameters.
- Crisis ready – we’ll already be monitoring the conversations around your brand, so if something crops up that needs crisis management we are perfectly positioned to react and have all the tools and processes in place to handle it quickly and appropriately.
- Ensure it happens – we ensure that your content calendar is delivered without fail.
Yes and No
As an agency, we would never work with a client who wanted to outsource their entire social media activity to us, and we have turned down those requests. Social media is about engagement, and if you’re not prepared to engage, then you’re not embracing the medium.
So in conclusion, I think that social media works best when the strategy and day-to-day is managed by people that do this type of work day in day out; but as a leader you have to top it up by taking part in the conversation yourself. This is sharing your day-to-day (the interesting stuff), not the ‘I’m on a train’, ‘I’m in Starbucks’ type of messages that we see all of the time; but real stories about your business and your industry that will fascinate your audiences and bring them closer to you.
By Christine Jones, Tiger Mouth