Outsourcing Social Media: Is It Cheating?
Outsourcing Social Media is pretty common these days, but what some see as a solution to a complication of the 21st century others see as cheating. To be relevant today you need to have active social media at all times, or at the very least 9-5, unfortunately with the rigors of real life our virtual lives tend to get neglected. In comes outsourcing to pick up the slack and make sure everything gets done, but is outsourcing your social media cheating? Here are 8 arguments to this modern debate:
1. It's Cheating!
It's Not Your Work - Ultimately the content that is being presented to the world on your behalf isn't really written by you. Sure it will likely have the same views, interests, and even grammatical quirks if you hire someone really good... but it's still not your work. According to academia that is textbook cheating.
It's Insincere - Social media is meant to be personal, a way to keep in contact that is informal and unplanned, but outsourcing it breaks those key principles. It's very impersonal to have interactions that don't reference memories, or events. If someone from your real life tweets you something personal a social media person might not be able to reply, or even worse give a generic reply.
It's Misrepresentation - People won't meet who they've been interacting with, if you're using social media for business chances are you're in contact with people you have never met before. People will have expectations of you from the social media interactions under your name and could be really put off when expectations and reality don't line up.
It's Untimely - You probably won't have up to date content. Unless your social media person has direct access to all of your files they can't post pictures of events as they happen, or tweet about the amazing service you had at the trendy raw food restaurant down the street. Doing your own social media insures posts are in real time about current events.
2. It's Smart Resource Allocation!
It's Not Essential - We have limited time and a whole lot of responsibilities, eventually something will have to give. Certain things you have to do yourself, no exceptions, like going to the gym or spending time with your family. However, lots of your daily activities are non-essential and you happily hire people to do them, things such as mowing the lawn, or cleaning the pool, so why is social media any different? To most people social media really isn't any different, its just another activity they do because they have to.
It's Ghostwriting - Outsourcing social media can be viewed as ghostwriting, you could be really interesting but not know how to condense a story into a 140 character tweet, or you might not have the search engine know how to find articles you (and your contacts) find stimulating. Social media is an art and a skill, one which many will never master, hiring a master can save you a lot of stress and potential social media faux pas.
It's Economical - Chances are if you are in the market to hire a social media person your time is worth more than theirs, thus saving you money. If you're spending time on social media and that isn't your area of expertise, you are wasting time that could be spent making money.
It's Efficient - You could never post and reply on every platform in real time while living your life. Unless you bring your life to a halt every 5 minutes to check your accounts chances are your interactions will be sporadic at best. A social media person would be able to interact all the time because that's their only responsibility, keeping your social media consistent and saving you time.
Is it Cheating or Not?
It depends what definition of cheating you go by, hiring media personnel is definitely deceptive (especially if it isn't made known that you aren't personally running your social media), but it also can save a great deal of time and money that could be allocated to more important things. Equally strong pros and cons can be made for either position, and your perspective likely depends on your type of business and how you value time, and integrity. People will always have polar views on social media, what side do you take and what side do you and your company practise? Is your social media personal, in-house or outsourced? We'd love to hear your thoughts on outsourcing social media.
Image courtesy of Victor1558, Flickr.
By Liam Martin
Liam Martin is co-founder and CMO at Staff.com, an online staffing agency which matches employers and employees for long term working relationships. He has almost 10 years experience in remote team management, focusing on making remote teams work more efficiently. He's managed large teams across 9 different countries and is an expert in online collaboration and business process modelling.