Ashton Kutcher, movie/television star and social media mogul, has recently been in the news for deciding to “take a break from Twitter” and outsourcing his presence to members of his production company after he was too quick to tweet about his disappointment in the firing of Joe Paterno from Penn State.
Although Ashton made an unfortunate decision during a controversial time to share his thoughts and, in turn, greatly offended a percentage of his followers, I still don’t think outsourcing is the way to go.
I used to help businesses with their social media presence by offering my services as a freelance community manager.
I figured, if I can convince a brand that they need social media in their marketing plan by doing it for them, it would be a win-win situation.
But it actually wasn’t at all. No winner here.
Social media presence goes down the crapper when a brand outsources their voice. And here’s why:
Their personality is gone.
Your fans and followers aren’t connecting with your brand when you’ve outsourced because you are instead leaving that job up to some one that doesn’t know your business the way you do. Their time is now spent learning about your industry, so they can try to properly implement for you, instead of teaching you about marketing the business you already know back and forth. The whole point of social media is so that these potential buyers can feel that connection with you. So give them that opportunity and don’t leave the job of winning business to someone who doesn’t know what the heck their talking about.
They don’t care about the growth of the presence.
I also assumed what I was doing was some sort of job security I had figured out while working for myself. This was not the case. By implementing for the business, no matter what I reported about the growth of our presence, conversions, or any analytics, the growth of the brand’s presence online wasn’t being felt by the brand itself. They didn’t have an appreciation for how far they’d come because they weren’t doing the work to build relationships themselves. If the budget called for cuts, it was easy to take out social media because it’s difficult to measure and therefore, not worthy of their funds. Every client I had that wanted me to manage the community for them didn’t need my services anymore before the 6-month mark.
So Ashton, I really think that since you’ve apologized and recognize that you did wrong, you should keep doing what you’re good at. Connecting with your followers and growing your presence online. Not that someone with 8.3 million followers needs to grow, but that level of influence isn’t going to mean anything if you take the personality out of it.
People want to follow your voice, even when you screw up. Stick around and make it right.
What do you think about outsourcing social media? Think it can work? Or a business no-no?
P.S. Here is the video I made for Tweetfind regarding the @aplusk/Twitter controversy: