We will look at some pros and cons to outsourcing social media, but before we do, let’s take a moment to put social media in perspective. The first point to remember is that social media a part of marketing, it should not replace your marketing. It is also a part of developing your business strategy and communicating and listening to your customers and employees.

The second point to remember is while being present on social media is important, you do not need to be on every social platform. Choose 3-5 that you are willing to commit to and stick with those. Keep in mind that you will hear and see articles that say “You have to be on this platform”….no really you don’t!

And the third and final point is in regards to numbers—they never lie, but they also don’t tell the whole story. Social media is like a crock pot, it takes time to build relationships and trust, but the loyalty that comes from it is unmatched.

Social Word Map

Here are some of the upsides to outsourcing your social media:

While social media can be very time-consuming, it often is not a full-time job. For a small business, it usually takes about 4-15 hours per week. That is enough to be too much to add to one person, but not enough to hire another full-time employee. So outsourcing would give you the best of both worlds.

Unlike placing an ad in a magazine, social media is best when it is managed as a team effort. When a company can put multiple people on the accounts to monitor, it helps reduce stress for the people responsible and allows for more complete monitoring and engagement on social media. Another thing to consider is the hours that your social media accounts need to be monitored. A lot of engagement goes on in the evening and over the weekends. Do you need to present for those conversations? As a general rule of thumb, I recommend that companies are monitoring hours as long as customers are using their product or service. For example, office hours for an airline may only be 8-5, but flights are almost 24 hours. If a customer reaches out, someone needs to be there to respond to them. Just because your office doors close, doesn’t mean your brand takes a nap. Hiring someone would provide the continuity and consistency that your brand deserves.

Here are some of the downsides of outsourcing your social media:

Have you noticed that everyone is a social media expert? There are too many assumptions out there that say if you are under 30, you are automatically a social media expert…simply because this generation grew up with it. I have met more people under 30 who are baffled by the concept of a social media strategy to prove to me that age means nothing when it comes to communicating and building your brand. Another big issue is that people have learned they can make a lot of extra money just by saying they are a social media expert and sending out a few tweets a day. Maybe hiring someone isn’t such a good idea after all.

You are the expert. When you are the expert, you know your material. Having someone else post and engage as you is a risk. They may not explain something correctly or answer a question leaving out an important detail. They will also most likely have a different vocal tone than what you would use making it harder for the market to learn about your brand, to learn about you. With time and training, consistency can be achieved here, but it is still a risk.

Should you outsource your social media? How about this question instead, should you talk with or listen to your customers? Authenticity matters. It matters just as much in person as it does online.