This Tuesday I spoke at the social media panel of SES Hamburg. While I enjoyed the great session for some people in the audience social media and blogs are not as enjoyable. The contrary seems to be the case. The last question asked at the end of the panel was the most striking. A man in a suit asked:
Can I outsource all that social media marketing crap to affiliates?
He really said “crap” and he was not really fond of the idea of having to deal with social media. While I see these websites and ways of publishing as new opportunities obviously others don’t. So let’s take a look at the outsourcing issue. We, all three of the speakers, were quick to warn of the dangers of outsourcing social media marketing to affiliates. Why?
- Affiliates do not care for your reputation, they aim at quick profits
- Affiliates often already fail in ethical SEO, in social media the standards of ethics are even higher
- Affiliates might break local laws in your name and at least in Germany you can be sued for that as well
So the idea of making affiliates your representatives on social media is inherently a bad one. The outsourcing idea by itself is not though! Indeed many people outsource their social media activities to marketing companies specialized in
- dealing with social media in a responsible manner
- creating outstanding content for social media, sometimes referred to as link bait
- offering business blogging consulting
One of my examples on the panel was in fact a blog I manage and write for in the name of a big German client, a shopping search engine. While some other shopping search engines have their blog-like news sites that even get tolerated on social media, my client’s blog really got accepted as a real genuine blog and even got linked by “real bloggers” in their blogrolls. This blog managed several times to get to the front page of the German Digg equivalent so it’s more than accepted, it’s a real blog itself by now.
So can you successfully outsource your social media marketing activities?
Yes you can! If you think it’s crap, I’ll advise you to change your mindset first though.
What are the most important benefits of serious social media engagement?
- Joining the conversation, you talk with the people instead of people just talking about you
- Reputation management and building, people get to know you and your brand, they remember you in a positive light
- Link building, if you offer value people will naturally link to you
Stop ignoring social media and blogging. If you can’t manage it yourself find a pro. You’ll find plenty of them in social media or via their own blogs.