Should Employees Handle Your Social Media?

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Having your social channels managed internally might seem like a no-brainer. After all, who knows more about your business than the people working for you, right? It might also seem like a way to keep resources under control, seeing as you’re already paying your employee, this would just be an additional task. In theory, that would be ideal, but caution, Dear Reader. When deciding whether to dedicate one or a team of employees to handle your social media channels, you should probably take a gander at the pros and cons first:

First the pros:

  • Knowledge- Unless they’re a brand new hire, your employees know the in’s and out’s of your business more than someone on the outside; they live and breathe it (at least during business hours!) and really know the long-term goals, and aspirations.
  • Company voice- Every company has its own unique culture and “voice”. An employee would likely have a knack for getting that to come through in your messaging.
  • Increased workload- Are you looking for ways to give an employee more of a work load? Assigning them as the company social media manager may be a perfect way to accomplish two goals at once.
  • Convenience- Having the social media updates come from within will (usually) mean that updates may be created on the fly and in a timely manner, with consistency. It might be easier to plan your editorial calendar with an employee as well, so posting can be planned along with product/service rollouts, company events, and even tradeshows.

On the other hand, we have the cons:

  • Balance- Will the assigned employee also be visiting their personal accounts  (inadvertently or on purpose) during the time they should be only managing yours? Mistakes happen, and there is a chance a Tweet or Wall Post meant for their own followers is instead posted to the company account. Once something is put out there on the internet, it is almost impossible to fully erase its existence. This may end up being a dangerous risk to take. The other potential hazard: they’re spending more time responding to their own accounts than handling yours.
  • Professionalism- Does the employee have the ability to communicate with proper grammar, punctuation and spelling? Lazy or weak skills here can reflect negatively on your business. An occasional typo is one thing, but having poorly composed posts showing up consistently with your brand name on it can send a very mixed signal about your brand’s overall attention to detail.
  • Customer service- Can this person provide thoughtful, even “kid gloved” replies when needed, in response to a barbed or critical post made by a customer? It is one thing to be clever enough to think up a fun tweet, but replying (or maybe even diffusing) a difficult or sensitive customer requires a great deal of skill and diplomacy. Someone quick on their feet and careful with their words is needed in this situation.
  • Distraction- Adding the weight of handling all social media updates may prove to be a distraction from the employee’s current work tasks. Previous work duties cannot take a back seat; they need to be able to handle ALL tasks and deliver quality work in every aspect.
  • Feedback- Is the employee able to provide accurate reporting and analysis to you, showing the results over the course of a week/month/year of social media activity? This part of your social media puzzle cannot be overlooked.
  • Brand placement- Do they understand where to focus your brand, why that is the focus, and most importantly how to reach the right audience? In order to be successful in handling social media internally, it is vital to understand why placement, timing, consistency, and voice all weigh on the brand, in either good or bad ways.
  • Learning and adapting- Social media vehicles are constantly shifting, updating, tweaking, and working to “improve” their services; staying on top of new trends and changes is a key component to keeping your brand ahead of these curves, rather than behind them.

If you should decide to handle all updates internally, here are some guidelines to help:

  • Lay out all of the rules and expectations plainly and honestly for employees to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • It is essential to have the employee(s) trained properly. Do not simply assign the tasks to someone and allow them to “wing it”.

Create a conduct policy as the employer, either separately for the social media projects, or as a part of the employee manual. As mentioned before, once something is said online, it is out there for good, regardless of how hard you try to cover your tracks. A conduct policy serves as your own type of insurance policy should things go down the wrong path.

Answering the question of handling it all internally or looking outside of the company is different for every different business. It is important to sit down and hash out exactly what it is you want accomplished from the social media updates, and whether you can effectively accomplish that from within. If not, shop around until you find a partner that fits seamlessly with your business. We offer both training and account management, so you can check us out first 🙂

4 thoughts on “Should Employees Handle Your Social Media?

  • Rachel Berry

    Interesting take on it. I think it has to come down to the individual employee – if you have someone trained/trainable, disciplined, appropriate and eager, who has the bandwidth for the task, I’d find it hard to outsource. But I’d say most of the companies I’ve worked with don’t have anyone fitting that description.

    • Deb Kolaras

      Appreciate the feedback, Rachel and really agree. And to back up what you noted, what we see too often is the “eager”, but not necessarily the “knowledgeable” and it can take an ambitious, but unwitting employer down a fruitless path 🙂 Hopefully this helps some avoid the mistakes we’ve probably both witnessed 🙂 – Deb

  • Terence Bloom

    Thanks for the post. We had a part-time employee that we gave the job of doing this; we did it without much of a roadmap and I suppose thinking at the time was she was younger than us, so probably knew what to do with this “new thing”. We did a poor job of documenting things (like passwords) and when a message (really 4 of them) really upset a customer, we had a mess on our hands; she was part-time and was gone while the “mess hit the fan”, so to speak. At that point, we had to reconsider her handling it at all. Her personal opinions began to reflect on us rather poorly, in those and other messages and we didn’t know because, well, we left it to her to handle and didn’t really oversee it. We since removed her from that duty and hired an outside consultant to handle things for us. In retrospect, we should have done that first because it seems outside companies have the handle on it any way and aren’t involved in the inner drama that some takes place at our company. It also ended up costing us about the same too, because we got to scale back hours on the employee that was previously handling it, plus we did away with some other marketing we were doing.

    • Deb Kolaras

      You’re welcome, Terence and it sounds like things eventually worked out okay 🙂 You raise another good point, and that’s that of the part-time person. If they’re not around, there should be backup person, just in case customers have questions, etc. Glad it’s all back on track for you. – Deb


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