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Can You Outsource Social Networking?

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in Business Management

JJ, a marketing consultant who is an advocate of social media, confided in me that to get significant results takes 10 to 15 hours of participation a week — EVERY week.

For most of us, that’s time we don’t have to spare.

So I’m wondering: do you think a company or solopreneur can PAY someone to handle all of their social networking for them?

Could someone like me or you hire a consultant or freelancer to answer all the “join me as a friend” e-mails, spend the necessary hours reading and responding, keep Facebook and other profiles updated as needed, and otherwise outsource our social media marketing?

If we had to pay someone $1,000 to $2,000 a week or whatever to do this for us, would you spend the money — or would social media’s ROI suddenly become less appealing?

Would it even work? Can a “ghostnetworker” genuinely represent a client in secret and still have social media be effective — or would it be transparent and ineffective?

What say you?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Janice Russell, CPO-CD October 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I want to second what Terri says. I have several members of my staff who produce & post content on my blog, Facebook Fan page, and Twitter. I handle responding and “live networking”. This allows me to spend some time on other aspects of the business. It also shows that the business isn’t just me.


Terri Zwierzynski October 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Bob, you’ve posed an excellent question I think a lot of people are asking themselves.

Here’s my take: You CAN outsource routine responding, screening, and content-posting aspects of social media. However, you CANNOT outsource the networking — where you connect and converse with folks.

And if anyone thinks they can just hire someone to post for them and never converse — they are missing the point completely!


Ron Sharpp October 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Good question!

I recently watched an video in which Guy Kawasaki interviewed a panel of people on social media. One of them was the kid who was the voice behind @Starbucks.

What I found really interesting about it is that they encouraged him to be himself and to be identified as an individual with the company, which gave it a personalized feel.

This is a situation that could prove to be either very wise or utterly disastrous. In this case, however, I think it was a great move! He does an excellent job, engages people, and even demonstrated a likable personality that people really relate to.

There is a proverb that says, “Like an archer that wounds randomly, is someone who hires any passerby.” I personally feel that this sums it up! You can have someone representing your brand, but you need to make sure you are up-front, honest, and well represented for it to maintain the element of genuine, honest, interaction that we all love about social media.

After all, social media without the “social” aspect is just media, and as well all know, the trust in conventional media is dwindling rapidly!

My $0.02!

– R. Sharpp


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