A couple of years ago Ann Handley, the Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs, snagged the @MarketingProfs name on Twitter and started making fabulous use of the site to connect with and engage MP’s members. Everyone knew that if they had a question or issue with MP, that Ann was the person they could reach out to.
Since that time, several people on MP’s staff have followed Ann’s lead and joined Twitter. I would guess the virtual company has at least a dozen employees using Twitter every day to connect with its members, and they are a fabulous case study for leveraging Twitter as a channel to connect with customers.
But let’s play ‘What If’ for a moment. What if a year or two, when Ann was really starting to develop a following on Twitter and as becoming the ‘face’ of Marketing Profs on Twitter, what if she had left the company? She would not only be leaving MP, but she would be taking MP’s presence on Twitter with her. Suddenly Marketing Profs would have lost a channel that was becoming a valuable way for them to connect with customers.
Here’s another scenario: Let’s say your company over the last year has been outsourcing all of your social media efforts to an agency, or a strategist, and that person has become the online ‘face’ for your company on social sites. What if that person is suddenly hired by a larger company, or if that agency suddenly folds? Suddenly, your entire social media presence will disappear.
Now I understand that many companies are in both of these positions. You may have one person that really ‘gets’ social media, that volunteered to dip their toes in the SM waters for the company, and now 6 months later has really created a strong social media presence for your company. Or maybe you decided months ago that you definitely DID want to use social media, but just didn’t have the resources, and needed to outsource your efforts.
But even if your company is in these positions, you can’t completely isolate yourself and your employees from what is happening with social media. If only one person can handle your social media efforts fine, but if nothing else, have them give you a weekly/monthly report/training session on how they are using social media. If you are outsourcing your social media efforts, make sure that the consultant or agency handling your efforts keeps you as involved as possible in what they are doing. For example I offer outsourcing to clients, but we do it on a tiered basis, meaning I handle almost everything at the start of the project, we are splitting the work by the middle, then by the end they are handling almost all the content creation, and are ready to take over for themselves. But even at the start of the process when I am handling everything, the client is kept aware of everything I am doing, so they know what’s happening.
The bottom line is that if you put 100% of your social media efforts in the hands of one person or an outside group, if that person/group leaves, you are screwed. If nothing else, when the social media efforts from that one employee starts to bear fruit, start having that employee train other employees on how to use social media. Ann was smart enough to tell the MP staff that she was really starting to get some traction with @MarketingProfs on Twitter, and Marketing Profs was smart enough to listen, and now the company has a vibrant network of employees on Twitter, instead of just Ann.
So don’t put all your social media eggs in one person’s basket!