Social media management is a career where a person tweets, posts, and blogs for someone else. Think of it as ghost-writing, but with an online twist. I've watched the rise of social media management with some interest and I actually offer social media management services myself. Companies are also looking for internal social media managers to help them manage and monitor their online presence. It's clear that as people and businesses continue to deal with the vast amount of information as well as the need to continually adapt to the evolving social media technology, having someone actually willing to do social media management can be really useful. Not only will the social media manager keep profiles up to date with relevant information or write for you, s/he will also monitor what people are saying about your brand and respond for you or at the least bring it to you attention.
On the other hand, there's also something to be said for the value of Do It Yourself (DIY) social media, where you manage your own accounts, make responses and otherwise interact with people. It's much easier to be authentic and accurately represent yourself and your brand when you do the social media for your business. People will also appreciate that genuine interaction for what it is. Additionally keeping up with the technology has its own benefits, in terms of understanding how it can be applied to your business in a meaningful manner as opposed to having someone else try and figure that. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of each approach.
Social Media Management Pros
With Social Media Management you can delegate someone else to be responsible for your social media presence. This person will keep the technology up to date, and ideally will also keep all of your social details, such as your profile, up to date as well. This person will post content for you and represent you, saving you a lot of time that you'd need to invest if you were maintaining those profiles. Another pro for the social media manager is that s/he can notify you when online conversations are ready to be turned into offline connections.
Social Media Management Cons
Unless the social media manager works for your business and is intimately acquainted with what you do, s/he won't always have answers to questions, or be able to accurately represent you. Another issue is confidentiality. Will that social media manager keep information confidential? Perhaps the number one problem is that the manager can't be you, and sometimes that makes all the difference when it comes to connecting with people. If the person your manager connected you with notices a difference in your offline interactions, there's the potential for an awkward situation.
Social Media DIY Pros
Learning to do social media yourself can be useful, because not only do you learn the technology, but you're uniquely suited to represent yourself in ways no one else can. Another benefit is that social media can put you in touch with a lot of other people who are interested in what you are interested in. Doing social media yourself allows people to interact with you and this carries over into offline conversations. That consistency can prove helpful in developing a relationship with the person.
Social Media DIY Cons
Doing it yourself means you need to learn the technology, and that can involve a bit of a learning curve. Also social media can be time consuming and overwhelming because of all of the information. Social media also doesn't have an immediate return which means you need to be consistent in your time investment and really make the effort to consistently communicate.
Which approach is better?
Neither approach is intrinsically better than the other. Social media management can be useful for the really busy business owner who wants to have a social media presence, but knows that s/he will never do it justice. At the same time DIY social media as the benefit of you being on there and keeping up with what people are saying about your business and your industry in general. If you do go with a social media manager, make sure there's a confidentiality clause in the contract and also a means to get training if you decide to take over your social media accounts.