Social Media Marketing: Should You Outsource It, or Not?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve consulted with three or four clients who’ve inquired about the social media marketing services my SEO outsource firm offers. In all cases, the clients decided to hold off on ordering the service. And, lest you think I’m talking myself out of business, here’s why.

The Naked Truth about Social Media Marketing

Usually, when clients call, they have a vague idea about social media marketing, but practically no idea about how to effectively integrate it into their marketing efforts. Once I explain exactly what’s entailed, that’s when they go:

Oh, I see what you mean. We’ll get back to you on that; right now we’ll just go with the article package (or some other service they’re interested in).

So what am I saying to them to discourage them from using the service? Quite frankly, the simple truth, which is – in social media marketing – the emphasis is on the word “social.” I’m actually thinking about discontinuing this service because the vast majority of clients don’t use it properly. Here’s what I mean.

Please, Don’t Hire Me to Do Your Social Media Marketing Unless . . .

When I consult with clients about social media marketing and social networking, I explain to them that although we can set them up and manage interaction for them, the bulk of the work – the interaction – has to come from them.

This is true simply because no one knows your product/service like you. The whole point of interacting on social media sites is to build and contribute to a community. This means posting links to helpful articles on topics in your niche; answering DMs (direct mails) from readers; giving your opinion/feedback on articles posted by others; etc.

No outsource firm is going to have this kind of intimate knowledge about your product/service (at least, not unless you pay them a huge fee to be able to research and stay on top of what your niche is all about).

So I tell clients, sure, we can set you up and interact for you. BUT, to build a viable, thriving, trustworthy reputation – which eventually leads to sales – YOU (or an employee) are going to have to take control of your social media marketing. We’re here to get you started.

I go on to explain that, in my opinion, they should hold off on geting involved with it unless and/or until they have the time to really devote to it.

Social media marketing is not a “set it and forget it” form of marketing. And, this is what most want. They want to post links to only their stuff – and not contribute to the community at large.

Going this route can actually harm your business because you will be looked upon as somewhat of a parasite in social media marketing circles. You have to be willing to give a lot more than you take from these communities — especially in the beginning — in order to eventually reap the just rewards.

If you want a quick hit, invest in PPC (pay per click marketing). Social media marketing, like article marketing, is a slower build — one well worth the time and effort — if you have both to give.

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Freelance writer and web entrepreneur. Learn more at's "About" page.

Jared O'Toole - February 24, 2009

Very true. Most people who dont fully understand social media want to use but don't want to "use" it. They don't understand the commitment it takes and on top of that don't understand why they would hire me to help them if they have to do all the work.

It's kind of funny but if they don't want to take the time to understand the strategy involved, well its their lose.

http://orangeampsroc - February 24, 2009

Unfortunately this is one of those necessary parts of a good campaign, and I say unfortunately because we all know how boring and tedious social media submission can be at times.

Dean Saliba - February 25, 2009

I'm one of those people who knows nothing about using social media to promote a blog. It is something I've wanted to learn but my main thought of having to spend lots of times on it puts me off.

I don't think I'd ever ask someone to do it for me, my blogs are my children.

John Beckley - March 9, 2009

I have the same problem in my shop. We set accounts up and train them but they need to get involved in the actual conversations…… just can't outsource that! I'd say 60% of the social media accounts we set up with our clients lay dormant after 3 weeks.

This kind of marketing takes time and energy with the returns sometimes hard to quantify.

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