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Is your social media presence in the right hands?

3 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Are you outsourcing any of your social media efforts?

  • No, and I don’t plan to 65.87%
  • Yes — part of my social media presence 14.33%
  • No, but I’m considering it 11.95%
  • Yes — all of my social media presence 7.85%

This week’s poll question isn’t really about social networks.

Sure, we’re talking about outsourcing Facebook pages and the like, but the real question here is “What is the value of your organization’s culture and institutional knowledge?” In social media circles, that’s not a question that comes up often enough.

Solid blog posts, thoughtful Twitter responses and the like aren’t actually that hard to create. But what is all that content worth to your organization? Chances are they’re not worth much at all — they’re just noise — unless they’re aligned with your organization’s brand identity, culture and mission. If another organization can perfectly parrot your identity, culture and mission, I think that means there’s something wrong the organization at a much deeper level. The roughly 8% of SmartBrief on Social Media readers who have outsourced everything about their social media efforts have effectively said, “Anyone can sound like my organization” or worse — “It doesn’t matter what my organization sounds like.”

Consultants and agencies can be incredibly useful parts of a social media effort. They can help plan, they can help monitor, they can help analyze and they can even help critique content with great effectiveness. About 14% of our readers let someone else handle part of their social media efforts. I think that can be perfectly sensible. But when you ask another organization to completely take over as your voice to the world, you’re either giving up something invaluable, or you’re masking a much deeper deficiency.

We talk a lot on this blog about the importance of aligning social media with organizational goals, but in some ways I think that’s inadequate. To really align with your goals, it must first be aligned with your organization — the way a person’s skin is aligned with their body’s movement. How can you synthesize that?

I’d be curious to hear from readers who are completely outsourcing their social media presence. What made you take that route? What results have you seen so far? How are you attempting to cope with the disconnect between your organization and the people handling your presence? Do you think your fans can tell the difference?