Why Debra in Accounts Payable shouldn’t do social media

I had a meeting with an executive recently who understood that he didn’t know the first thing about how to move his organization into the digital media realm. And that’s a virtue — to be wise enough to understand there are things you don’t know intimately and need help with.

He knew he needed that help. He knew it was worth it to pay a professional who would help him pro-actively, deliberately, and methodically move forward in a way that minimized any liabilities. It was a must to have someone who was skilled in developing a strong social media policy for his organization and implementing it.

The problem was his team.

“You don’t have to pay someone to do your social media.”

“This shouldn’t be a budget item at all.”

“Have one of the secretaries do it for a few minutes a day in addition to their other work.”

“This doesn’t have to be so difficult — I do my own social media all the time.”

“My nephew is in college and is great at Twitter, he could do this as an intern.”

There’s still an entire segment of the population that has to catch up with the realities of digital media marketing and the implications for organizations — especially high-risk entities like city and county governments or businesses with specific marketing objectives.

There are ins and outs of which Debra in Accounts Payable can’t be expected to remain abreast, like:

  • Best practices in setting social media policy for organizations – particularly to minimize legal risks
  • Built-in copyediting chops. Nothing says “hack job” like easily avoidable spelling or punctuation errors
  • Dynamic week-to-week shifts in how platforms’ algorithms and functions change
  • Hidden tricks and workarounds to make platforms perform in the ways you specifically need them to for your organization’s legal concerns
  • Managing the flow of information from the departments in your organization to triage what needs to go out to the public and when, and for what reasons
  • Investigating and learning about navigating new platforms as the public shifts their attention
  • Remaining up to the minute in current events that could be good hooks for your messaging, or conversely, require immediate messaging action from your organization

That doesn’t exactly sound like something that poor Debra should be expected to do in twenty minutes a day on top of her actual job description. You definitely either need a full-time employee with experience in digital media to do this as their core job description, or you need to outsource it to a contractor. 

The last thing you should do is listen to well-meaning team members who think social media is no big deal. They’re the same people who, when the intern makes a wrong judgment call and a lawsuit gets filed, will bellow “How was this allowed to happen?”

Social media is worth doing — so it’s worth doing right. 

Angie Aker
Digital Media Pioneer


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