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? “