One of the best ways to utilize LongerDays is to delegate ongoing tasks – and it doesn’t get much more ongoing than social media. The internet moves at a frantic pace, and keeping up is an investment of time and energy that many small business owners simply can’t afford (without sacrificing other critical parts of their day).
Because of the speed – and the short attention spans of the viewers – successfully using social media involves multiple platforms and multiple posts per day. That sounds like a great task for a virtual assistant, right?
Well, the reality is a little bit murkier than that… And simply passing off your business’s social media efforts to someone else (in-house or virtual) can come with some downsides. Let’s look at the pros and cons of outsourcing your social media – and what we can do to bridge the gap.
As mentioned, it takes time to make posts. Even with schedulers like HootSuite and MeetEdgar, someone still has to craft and load up the content. When you outsource, that time commitment is taken on by a VA or freelancer, and instead of taking time away from your day, you actually create a job for someone else. This has a few inherent benefits:
• A social media professional will already have a good handle on the platforms you use. They’ll be able to dive right in and get to work.
• When you leave the posting to someone else, you benefit from their pool of ideas, and their experience with what works best for each platform.
• Less time spent curating, of course!
• Analytics reports on a schedule you determine, without having to remember to run them yourself.
• Other services like graphic design, writing, and administrative assistance mean more agility for drafting, scheduling, and maintaining high quality posts.
Not everything about outsourcing social media will work in your favor, though… There are a few downsides to be aware of before handing over your login info. These aren’t deal breakers, but depending on your business, outsourcing social media might be too “hands off” for the kind of presence you want to have.
Here are a few drawbacks:
• It takes time for someone else to adopt your “voice,” and will still take fine tuning from time to time.
• Relying on schedulers removes some of the spontaneity, and can make things seem to “predetermined.”
• You have to make a plan – you can’t just outsource and hope for the best. Anyone you hire will need to know your intent, frequency of posts, and so on – and that means you have to spend the time to come up with a strategy (no matter how basic it might be).
The big one: lack of direct engagement…
The engagement issue bears some further discussion. Social media is a two-way street. While it’s a great opportunity to showcase your products or services, post pictures, and get “shares” for your blogs, videos, and other content… The real purpose is communication. It’s a way for your company to interact with customers and prospects, and that often means answering questions, providing “insider” knowledge, and so on…
Unfortunately, this is an area where outsourcing can fall flat. A good team can handle basic questions about your business, but they won’t be able to tell your story… They won’t be able to share the intimate details of where you get your ideas or how you founded the company. A team won’t necessarily know the difference between your average customer and your old college roommate tweeting you to say hello… They won’t be able to take Instagram photos at conferences or inside your facility…
For all the value an outsourced social media specialist can provide, they aren’t YOU.
For some businesses (even whole industries), that’s not a big deal at all, but for others, the personal touch is everything – and without it, social media presence simply isn’t genuine enough to garner any real interaction.
Bridging The Gap
While there’s no real replacement for the hands-on knowledge of a company owner/founder, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of outsourcing AND reduce some of the downsides… It just takes communication, planning, and the right people for the job.
As mentioned above, any outsourcing will require a plan. You’ve got to determine how often you want to post, what platforms to use, and what kind of content you want to share…
But bridging the gap to make outsourcing more personal requires a team to get to know you and your business as intimately as possible. That could mean sharing the reins for while to let the team get a sense of how you use your social media accounts, developing FAQ-type resources, or simply spending some time on the phone discussing how casual or serious you want your posts to be.
At LongerDays, we take pride in getting into the details of our clients’ businesses – but we can’t do it alone. Again, it takes the participation and interest of the client to help us make the most of taking on social media management and content creation. With writers on hand, we can get mighty close to the way you’d speak to your friends and followers, and with a whole team of staff, we can stay on top messages, connection requests, and so on – checking in as frequently as you’d like…
We want to get to know you, and we want you to get to know us… With a genuine relationship, where we know each other’s personalities and communication styles, passing along social media and management makes much more sense – and many of those downsides are mitigated.
We understand that outsourcing social media isn’t for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be a black and white divide either. We can work with you to create a “custom” method that works for you and your audience. As we learn more about you and your business, you can pass more and more responsibility our way, and be as involved as you see fit.
It’s all about finding the ideal balance that works with YOUR unique company.
Want to learn more?