5 Things to Consider before Handing Over the Keys to Your Social Media Accounts

Keys photo by Vickie BatesIn the few short years since brands took up social media, I’ve been handed the keys to any number of social accounts, and though the organizations were very different, the thing they had in common was that there was absolutely no introduction to the goals driving engagement in these channels.

Never mind that turning over accounts to people without a discussion of goals, audiences, strategy, tactics, voice and metrics (at the very least) is like handing your car keys to a teenager without asking whether they have a driver’s license.

As Michael Brito noted in the Mashable post “10 Twitter Best Practices for Brands,” it’s important to be flexible without being too restrictive when turning over keys to anyone – employees, contractors, interns. “Planning, training, coordination and integration with social tools is imperative,” Brito emphasizes.

One of the hallmarks of social media is its speed of delivery, but that should never be confused with a speedy hand-over of your accounts.

Here are 5 tips to consider when asking someone to manage your social media accounts:

1) Why are you doing social in the first place? Do you have time? If not, is that why you’re handing over the keys? Maybe what’s needed is an examination of your channels, timing and audiences. Which are you having the most success with? Where are the crickets chirping? Perhaps you need to narrow or refocus your social media presence more than you need someone new in the driver’s seat.

2) What experience does the person have and what do their social accounts look like? Are you bringing them on board for their voice and their followers? Or do you have a strategy in mind for how they will engage with your followers?

3) Discuss the following and ask for a mini-comms plan that includes:

  • goals and how they’ll be measured
  • strategy and tactics and a timetable for implementing
  • tone of voice
  • what’s worked and what hasn’t
  • expectations around engagement
  • how you want to grow followers
  • how to manage difficult situations and crises
  • back-up, off-hours support, vacation coverage
  • anything that’s unique to your accounts and audiences

4) Cover the tools you’re using – such as Hootsuite or Buffer – and don’t assume that using one makes someone an expert on another.

5) Finally, listen to what they have to say about their own social media practices and see if adding some of these new ideas to your own accounts results in positive engagement with your audiences.

3 thoughts on “5 Things to Consider before Handing Over the Keys to Your Social Media Accounts

  1. Hi Vickie,

    At this point, I’m not engaged enough with my own social media sites to consider hiring an account manager. And this is the first I’ve heard of this practice (shows how out of touch I am!).
    But… this is a helpful post because if I ever get to the point of actively managing several social media sites I would definitely consider “handing over the keys” to an account manager. And now I’ve got your handy tips to guide me!
    Thanks for another informative post, Vickie!

    • Hi Rita,

      As you note, this is more typically the type of thing that large companies or brands do when they have too many social media accounts to manage by themselves.

      Just wait till you publish your book of photographs or a travel book – then you may want to hire someone to manage your publicity accounts!

      • Ha. Good point, Vickie!
        I think I WILL wait until that bestseller is published to consider hiring a publicity account manager. (Could be a loooong wait though!)

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