Delegate Social Media Tasks? Ouch!

File this one under “Do as the Pharisees say, not as they do”.

There is a certain marketing guru – yes, he is well-enough known and well-enough respected that the word “guru” applies – who recently sent me an email newsletter. Out of respect, all names have been changed in this blog post.

Before I tell you what was in that email, I should make very clear that this is someone whose opinions I respect. He always gives good advice and his newsletters are always worth reading. For the purpose of this post, it is worth noting that I frequently come across his articles posted at “one of my favourite social bookmarking websites” (OOMFSBW), and of course I vote them up.

The newsletter I mentioned earlier landed in my inbox. The gist of it was that one must be careful about outsourcing or delegating social media tasks – that one must be particular about choosing whom to ask to do such things for you.

The newsletter offered the suggestion that asking your little sister to handle your social media would be a great idea if she had taken courses in marketing communication. But it would be a bad idea if she was a high school student who likes to share cool music and daily tidbits on FaceBook.

It just so happened at the very moment that the newsletter arrived I had a story submitted to OOMFSBW mentioned above, and I was in need of a few votes. So I thought I would fire back a quick response asking him for a vote. In the context of his email newsletter, it seemed highly appropriate.

And in the context of his email newsletter, the response I got back could not have been more surprising – nor more ironic.

“This is Guru’s Director of Marketing, Jack. Guru is travelling at the moment, so I wanted to respond to your request. I didn’t understand what you were asking. I submitted the article to OOMFSBW and I friended Amabaie. If you could clarify what you are asking, that would help me to be able to help you.”

At first, I sat there stunned. Could a newsletter about carefully choosing someone who knows social media be followed up with a live example so poignantly demonstrating why it is crucial to do so?

So I explained.

“OOMFSBW is not just about submitting. You need votes. I vote for most of Guru’s stuff (pretty much any that I see). I would love Guru’s votes for the two I subbed today… (and I included my submissions URL again)”

Two days later, I received a note back.

“I understand now. I just voted for 7 articles for Amabaie.”

So I explained again.

“So also to understand, there is a limited window when the votes actually count. In the case of OOMFSBW , it is xx hours. In other cases, it is typically xx hours or xx days or a month. Just so you are aware in the future.”

As you can probably guess by now, this was total news to him. I think our friendly neighborhood marketing guru very amply demonstrated how crucial it is to delegate social media tasks to someone who knows social media.

Interestingly, I was reading the very next day on WeBlogBetter about whether one should delegate social media tasks to an intern. So, just for fun and because it is so on-topic with this post, let me share the comment I left at the end of the post.

“Hello. I would like to introduce everybody to our new company spokesperson, Rob-the-intern, and he will be managing our company’s entire reputation. Our credibility. Our image. The very factors upon which all our jobs depend. Please help me welcome Rob-the-Intern. I said, “Please help me welcome Rob-the-Intern.” Um…somebody? Anybody? “


  1. HA! I know exactly what and who you mean. Thanks for the chuckles.

  2. David, this is an insult to teen-aged girls everywhere – except those with marketing experience. How dare you! 🙂

    I’m sure this isn’t the first time that a guru has regretted “outsourcing” or delegating a critical operation. Personally, the only delegation I find helpful is Twitterfeed. That works because I followed Gail Gardner’s advice on GrowMap: carefully select a few sites whose content you know is consistently good and that only update only periodically.

    When I first started using Twitter, I delegated the “get followers” to some robots. Guess how that turned out. I had to get another robot, ManageFlitter, to undo the first robots’ damage.

    Machines will ruin us all!



  3. Hey David, the term “outsourcing” in the context of acquiring specialized talent and skilled services is less apropos. What firms need to assess — based on their own unique circumstance, capacity, and opportunity — is whether to gain specialized services and skillsets — AND desired results — by “partnering” with an outside firm. Not outsourcing, per se, which implies a negative ROI, but partnering — which implies a mutual commitment and loyalty to achieving clearly agreed upon opportunity.

    Specialties like Legal, PR marketing, Accounting/Payroll, Sales, and in this case, Social Media Marketing are often-times gained more productively and results achieved more effectively via partnership. A good, solid, honest Social Media management firm will be able to counsel brands on the best way to proceed to achieve their social media goals. Juan

  4. The internet is a great place to share insights and I believe sometimes the process is more important than the destination, every thought deed or action may cause a reaction, therefore cosistancy is something to be admired. A robot serves a purpose and at a later date can be discarded. Naturally favourable content is to be voted for my vote goes to you David for a continuation in cyberspace.

  5. Some of these big time list spammers are ridiculous! I doubt some of them have even worked in the last few years, it’s all sorted by VA’s.

  6. Is it me or is this stuff getting harder.
    Social media fragmentation is just one more thing I need to pay attention to.
    I would never outsource anything this important. I’ve tried it in the past but I always feel that I would have done a better job myself.

    Nice article.

  7. If you’ve looked at the size of the task and weren’t inebriated at the time, then outsourcing your social media marketing, or at least portions of it, is really the only sane solution to cover the numerous items that need to be performed on a regular basis.

  8. Amazing read! There is no best person to handle social media who does it for fun and not deliberate marketing. If you won’t enjoy it, how you gonna make it enjoyable to others. These are the ones who lead a social media website to develop further and not hesitated to experiment. The common SMOs often doesn’t like many updates unless it fulfills their needs or help them to boost their presence.