Business Owners: Buy Social, or Be Social?

[tweetmeme source=”helpmerhonda11″ only_single=false]PSST…. business owner.  You want your business on social media?!   No time, you say?  Maybe you can just PAY someone to do it for you!  You could be like Zorro…the masked man of the social media world!

You could do that, but here’s a different suggestion…decide to invest some time learning how to BE social instead. I know the demands on your time are real, and you are spread too thin…but you may find that you gain more than you think from engaging personally in social media.

In any case, think twice before you outsource.  If you need help, choose your provider, and your venues, very carefully.  Blog? (ghost blog, actually)…maybe the right person can do it with your supervision and involvement.  Facebook?  Maybe.  Twitter?  I wouldn’t.  Linked in?  No way.  The opportunity cost is simply too great.

What will you be missing in terms of hearing DIRECTLY from your customers, and forming new relationships?  Let me ask you a few questions:

  • Would you hire someone to go to a networking event for you?   Walk around and meet people, and engage in small talk.  How well would they pull off being you?  What would you come away with?
  • How about if that person was a college intern.  Now there’s a thought: substitute someone with little or no knowledge of your business, and let them talk to potential customers and other influential people online. Sounds silly, but I know businesses who do this.

Newsflash:  you started your business, and no one can represent it as well as you can.  No one else has the passion, the knowledge, or the history.

Here’s what I suggest:  hire someone to help you develop your social media strategy, and show you how to engage and maximize your time on one or two platforms.  Nothing wrong with that… after all, even Zorro had Tonto.

Then, make the time to engage with your customers.  You will be glad you did.

PS:  Full disclosure…Call me a hypocrite, but I have some clients who, in addition to hiring me for social media strategy, have outsourced their social media to me.  I do a good job…but given the choice, it is always better to be authentic.

As a social media provider or business owner, what’s your experience been with outsourcing?

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About Rhonda Hurwitz

Rhonda Hurwitz is a content strategist and marketing consultant who helps mid-sized businesses develop more effective online strategies. @rhondahurwitz on Twitter, and on Forbes.com: http://blogs.forbes.com/people/rhondahurwitz/
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