Here’s a question I hear all the time from prospects, clients, and people who know what I do for a living:
“What is the best way to manage our social media presence?”
I take a deep breath when I hear the question, because there is no one right answer. Anyone who tells you there is either over-simplifying or has no idea what they’re talking about.
The beauty and the challenge of social media is that by its very nature it is unpredictable, ever-changing, and masterful at making “experts” and “best practices” look foolish and outdated. That’s why people like it. That’s why it’s been a powerful force in human interactions and movements, from reuniting families and rekindling friendships, to helping people start a revolution.
The uncontrollable nature of the social realm is familiar territory to those of us in PR, where our days are a constant balance between the stories we want to tell, the events of the day, and the mindset of the audience we’re trying to reach.
So when I read a headline like this one “Why Outsourcing your Social Media is a Bad Idea” I have to be honest, I get annoyed. The article itself is less cut and dried (and therefore more credible) but the headline implies that the only way to do social media is to take it all in house; after all, how could anyone else know and speak with your voice, your messaging, your business. Um. I think that’s what PR agencies are supposed to do – know our clients’ business, messages, products and services cold…and we need to know when to elevate questions about those things to executives, customer service experts and internal clients. That’s not new territory for PR people. And it’s one of the many good reasons why your PR partner is actually a great choice if you decide you need help managing your social media presence.
At the end of the day, the most important thing about the way you manage your social media presence is that you actually do so – because if you don’t, either someone else will (ask BP, or Kenneth Cole or ask United if they break guitars) or you’ll be dinged for not having a presence.
Whether you trust your agency partner enough to know and speak in your voice, or whether you build up an internal team to do it, it’s an investment.
Personally, I’d rather have an agency that already knows my business be the ones to start the ball rolling – but that’s my perspective. My question for you is: do you trust your PR agency to know your voice and communicate on your behalf? And if the answer is “no” then I’d suggest you have a bigger problem on your hands.