Study: Most companies ask employees to dabble in social media

It’s been said that it takes 10,000 hours of working on something to become an expert. Given a 40-hour work week, that translates to 4.8 years to become an expert at something. 4.8 years of working on something, exclusively, from 9-5 and you can call yourself an expert.

Let’s look at the ages of the most popular social media marketing platforms for businesses:

• Facebook: 2005 (8 years ago), Facebook Pages: 2009 (4 years ago)
• Twitter: 2006 (7 years ago)
• YouTube: 2005 (8 years ago)
• Linked In: 2002 (13 years ago. Holy smokes, they are the oldest?!?!)

Given the newness of it all, on most of these sites, you would have to work half of your time (20 hours a week) from the start to be able to claim expertise. And Facebook Pages experts who work 40 hours a week can’t even exist until next year. Plus, given how often social media changes and how many new technology tools are released daily, to use it expertly requires focused attention on only social media, all the time.

Now let’s talk about who is working on your company’s social media marketing. No one can argue the fact that social media is vital to modern marketing (well, some can argue, but they would be wrong most of the time). A new study put together by Ragan and Nasdaq, “Structuring a Social Media Team“, takes a close look at how companies handle social media efforts. In the study, they were asked if anyone works exclusively on social media. You’ll see in the graphic that a whopping 65% are assigned to take care of social media, in addition to all other tasks required by their job.

We can only assume this leads to a lot of dabbling in social media. A post on Facebook and Twitter here, a video there. Likely a lackluster effort, with no great content, no help to a company’s brand, and certainly no time to measure results. In fact, in the survey, people were asked what kept them from measuring social media. You’ll see that most cite lack of time and manpower far ahead of a lack of money. Shortly after, people don’t know what tools to use or are overwhelmed.

Wouldn’t you be overwhelmed? You are being asked to take part in social media—to lead your company’s brand and converse with consumers in this new realm of marketing, but you are asked to do it on top of everything else you have been working on. And I would guess the roadblocks to measuring social media would closely match up with the roadblocks to participating in social media effectively. You don’t have time to do more than a few posts a day, you don’t have enough people who know what they are doing, and you are overwhelmed.

This is where outsourcing social media to the experts makes sense. You might worry about “sending it away.” Aren’t you giving up too much control and placing your brand—conversations, comments, your voice—in someone else’s hands? But I can speak from the side of someone who has taken on our client’s social marketing. We do not see ourselves as someone else. Once you entrust us as your social media partners, we become a part of your marketing team. We take great care understanding your brand, crafting your voice (with your help), and presenting you in the most professional way. We work with an approval level you are comfortable with, and most of the time our clients enjoy the freedom of giving us the reins once they see how much we understand and care about them.

And here’s where the big benefit comes in—we are experts. We do this every day, and on top of our expertise that comes from doing, we spend a good deal of time each week researching the latest tech tools to stay ahead of the game and meeting to brainstorm new and inventive things we can do for our clients.

According to the report, 22% of companies plan to hire people to help with social media in 2013 (with 78% responding no). It is great to see more companies putting budget toward social media. But hiring an entry level social media strategist does have its issues. Candidates likely won’t come with our expertise, our power of team-thinking, and our guarantee to be around after a year without moving on to another position.

Who handles your social media? Could you use some help? Ask us more about how we can become a part of your team.