I ran across an interesting tweet just now. It was a simple one-liner with a link to a page about outsourcing your social media profiles.
I had an idea that the social media outsourcing statistics would show an increase in participation at some point – but it’s awfully early, don’t you think! Now normally, I don’t pay these sorts of things much attention. I just scroll right on by them. But today, I decided to take a look at the page the link was pointing to.
On the page, there was some copy about outsourcing your Twitter profile building and your Facebook friend getting… 20,000 followers in a month… 1,000 friends in 2 weeks… All for the measly price of $5,000.
First of all, who would pay that? And second, what does someone who pays for these services hope to gain from the whole process? Sure, 20,000 followers is cool. But none of them will be targeted in any way! There won’t be any foundation of a relationship that you’ve built with them. So what good are they?
All ranting aside, it is possible to use outsourcing statistics correctly in social media. In fact, Guy Kawasaki and a few of the top tweeps in the world outsource their stuff. Generally, they are pretty forthcoming about it though. There are subtle distinctions in the tweets that tell you who it’s from.
What I wanted to do was put together a quick list of things to do if you decide to outsource your social media marketing efforts. This is by no means exhaustive, but will serve as a basis for those who are thinking about it!
Make sure your outsourcing agents provide value
Link after link after link to your site is bad. That’s been covered in numerous posts here and around the Internet. Make sure that your outsourcers have guidelines about what to tweet and when. For example, you can only tweet the top stories on Digg between 2-4pm. This will help make sure that good content is getting put in your feed.
Have a way of ‘signing’ each of the tweets and status updates that your social media outsourcing company sends out
By making sure that your outsourcers are signing tweets, you can pinpoint who said what. Ways I’ve seen this done is by initialing the tweet, such as ending it in ‘^dr’ or ‘!lto’. So if one of your workers, David Rose, sends out a tweet, they finish it with their initials.
Don’t let them answer any business related replies without your approval
Another hangup can happen when someone replies to you or sends you a direct message. Unless the outsourcing agent is intimately familiar with your business, are you comfortable letting them answer questions for you?
When you build a social media network, your following is looking for stuff from you. Whether you’re actually manning Tweetdeck or not is a different story. If you do decide to outsource social media, make sure that you lay some ground rules with the team who will be interacting with your community for you. Make sure the outsourcing statistics weigh in your favor.
If there are no rules, you’re going to end up building a following of untargeted people who won’t really provide any value to you at all. That’s not what social media is about.