Now, often this would be a wise decision (as long as they choose a company that does a good job and doesn't overcharge them, of course). Well established, quite large businesses would benefit most, I think. There'd be so many aspects to monitor and manage, after all.
They'd likely have a social media presence already in the sense that people would be sharing updates about them (hopefully overwhelmingly positive, of course!). So, as well as creating and managing extended campaigns, contests and the like their social media managers would be engaged in reputation management on a daily basis. It would be impractical to do all that in house, surely.
But what if you were just a small outfit with a few employees, or even a sole trader? That's a very different situation.
Now, I know that a lot of people in this situation would be tempted to pay for someone to handle their social media presence for them because of the time commitment required. Many would also be tentative about doing it themselves because it's all new and mysterious to them. Best hand the task to someone who really knows what they're doing, they'd be thinking.
Well, in my opinion if you're in this boat you should do it yourself -- or at least give it a red hot go.
Why? Because the whole point of social media is to enable people to connect with each other quickly and efficiently and then communicate in a meaningful way. So why introduce a middleman? Isn't it better to just cut to the chase?
Take Twitter for example. In a lot of ways it's like virtual speed dating. Sure, you're not looking for romance on the site (well at least not in business, which is what I'm focusing on here!). But it's certainly a very rapid method of sussing out heaps of people quickly and then keeping in contact with the ones you like, right?
Now, to extend the analogy, what if you're a bloke called Bill who's looking for love. You think: everyone's into speed dating. Better get into it. But I find it all a bit daunting ...
So you decide to hire a speed dating manager -- some appealing, confident guy who basically impersonates you because you're too shy, or busy or whatever to attend the event in person. And he shows up and meets a whole bunch of women in rapid succession. He exchanges contact details with several of them.
Then when you want to go to the next step you call them a few days later. They say who's this? You say it's Bill, from the other night? They say, "Mmmkay ... You don't sound like him." Then you explain that he was your speed dating manager.
If they didn't all hang up at that point you'd be lucky. And if you did manage to keep any of them on the line you'd be starting from scratch again ...
See what I'm getting at?
If you want to do business with someone you are going to have to actually connect with him at some stage -- in person, online or on the phone. So why not get the ball rolling using Twitter, Facebook, or some other social network?
Sure, you might not feel comfortable with this approach for various reasons, or just be too flat out to give it the time and energy required for it to start getting results. But it's certainly worth a try don't you think?