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This might be the dirty little secret that no one wants to admit. That if they had their druthers, they would outsource their social media activities. Why? Because what they won’t admit is that social media is a big time suck and furthermore, they might not even admit that they are tired of “engaging” every day. Why? because they didn’t know it was going to be like this.

It’s hard to be “On” every day isn’t it?

There is the pretty side of social media, the stuff that you read about every day about how cool it is and glamorous and sexy and blah,blah,blah, but the dark side is that social media is hard ass work. In fact Amber Naslund just the other day, wrote a”be careful what you wish for” post about the down n dirty aspect of social media.

Those of us who have been around know this. I can’t tell you how many times I have bouts of writers block; and then other times, its a magical stream of consciousness that propagates itself in 3 posts in one day. But you see, there’s more than just the blog, that’s the easy part; there are status updates, there are content updates, consuming content, creating content, sharing info, driving traffic, analyzing data, connecting with your peers, finding your customers, making sure your clients are happy, and looking for prospects. All via social or electronic means. Every day and night. Which leads to this- and I know you’re thinking it or thought about it…

“If I could, I would love to outsource some of this stuff in a New York minute.

But is that really wise? To outsource your social media activities. Except for those times when I’m feeling a bit toasty around the edges, I like doing it. I like connecting and consuming and creating.

Have you ever wondered though if there are others doing it? Well I got news for ya. Hell yea and you betcha. Most wont admit it unless your name is Guy Kawasaki. Todd Defren points out in his wonderful social media ethics series that they have been faced with that exact dilemma, and still others are doing it and you don’t even know about it.

The sexy term might be aggregating activities

The fact is, there are a lot of people who are automating a lot of their social media activities and still another group that are completely ceding control of their social media day to day operations to someone else.

Either in an automated fashion, or by merely having agencies do the work for them in the form of ghost writing or status updates or flat out being someone they are not- people and companies are choosing to wash their hands of real life engagement. Some admit it like Guy Kawasaki and still others… You’d never know the difference.

Do you care about who you “think” you are talking to? Brand or otherwise, I do. I don’t like talking to logos and when you say you are Mary, I trust that it is Mary that I’m talking to. Some don’t care and some do- some seem to only care when they find out they are being duped. Some companies seem to think it’s OK to create fictional characters inhabited by multiple people within an organization, I’m not one of them, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Here’s the point.If you’re going to outsource your social media activities, I don’t care, and I won’t care until I find out that who you are is not who you’re supposed to be. I’m taking the don’t ask don’t tell stance. Why? Because I trust you. Funny thing that trust eh?

But I’m also not dumb.

I think that more and more people or companies are doing it (outsourcing their social activities) than you think. Or they are seriously looking at solutions that can streamline, enhance and speed up the reward of their social activities Why? Because I encounter companies and agencies every day that say they dont have time to do it nor do they care to, they just want to reap the benefits. I know it’s selfish and disingenuous but…

I’m ok with that. Why? because isn’t social media from that standpoint, just an extension of what a PR or ad agency already does? In their eyes it is. It’s marketing and PR. They will say, “What’s the difference”? Just do it for me and we’ll pay you. I’ll do it and get you started, but I’ll train you to do it for your selves and your company. You need to take ownership.

As social continues to grow and grow, some people just don’t want to do “it”, the social stuff, they would prefer that someone else do it for them- and you know what? There are plenty of people that will do it and… Do it well and.. You’ll never know the difference.




About the Author
Marc Meyer is the co-founder of hashtagsocialmedia.com, a weekly Twitter based chat hosted by industry thought leaders, discussing the business of social media. When not hosting Twitter webinars on MyVenturePad, Marc is busy writing for his globally recognized blog on all things digital. Marc is a principal, digital strategist and director of search and social media for Digital Response Marketing Group in Naples, Florida.

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Comment by John H. Isaac on August 27, 2010 at 7:12pm
This is the number 1 reason why we created a hands-free monitoring tool for our dealership clients. When a dealer setup their free dealer rating account they get this tool free also. They can simply setup their alerts and go sell cars. We created this because this was one of the biggest obstacle when soliciting dealers. If vendor would get smart they would create hand-free tools for dealers to use themselves.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on August 26, 2010 at 2:32pm
@ Ed: Ha! Ashton Kutcher has outsourced his tweeting to Justin Bieber!! :)
Comment by Ed Brooks on August 26, 2010 at 2:17pm
@Keith - Makes a ton of sense

@Ralph - Is that Justin Kutcher, little known sportscaster who doesn't tweet? Ashton Kutcher, Mr. Demi Moore, or Justin Bieber, tween heartthrob? Just asking!
Comment by Keith Shetterly on August 26, 2010 at 11:54am
If I had a single franchise single store, I'd buy the "you must do it yourself" argument. Three stores and 16 franchises . . . that's certainly a candidate for outsourcing. Social Media and otherwise. The Internet isn't a Ronco "set it and forget it!" appliance, though, and neither is a SM service vendor's contract--so oversight and monitoring of a 3rd party SM service vendor is appropriate and needed.

Social Media will never "save us all" in this market. Just because it's important and fun to do doesn't make it less of -- yes, it is -- a time sink.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 26, 2010 at 12:55am
OK, so I gotta ask... Is this really Gary Weinberg posting on behalf of Marc Meyer? Or, did Gary post this because he works for the ADP/BZ Results Social Media Reputation Management team and he wants to let everyone know that he has a legitimate job? LOL... Whatever the case, I still don't believe that Justin Kutcher does his own tweeting!

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