Pass the Baton: 3 Ways to Delegate Social Media Without Fear

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What’s the best social media advice we can give? Know when it’s time to let someone (capable) handle your social media accounts for you.

Our business is our baby. We hate delegating. And today’s small business owner is especially hesitant to hand over social media management.


Social media is just another customer service touchpoint. We let our employees prowl our store aisles, man our cash register, and even (gasp!) answer our phone.

However, we’re resistant to identifying a social media delegate – either an outside consultant or a member of our existing team – and letting them like Facebook comments and respond to mundane tweets.

It’s too bad. For entrepreneurs, time is money.

Plus, all the data shows that rapid response in social media is incredibly important. In the new book “Hug Your Haters,” digital strategist Jay Baer highlights the following stats:

  • 40% of customers who complain in social expect a response within one hour.
  • Only 32% of social complaints get replies within 24 hours.
  • Customer advocacy jumps 25% when brands respond to online complaints.

So, yeah, maybe it’s time to delegate social media. If you agree, here are three documents you’ll need.

The Docs You Need to Delegate Social Media

I’m guessing that every customer-facing employee in your business undergoes training. You may even have a script for answering the phone and a process for ringing up a brick-and-mortar customer.

The same attention to detail is needed to delegate social media. Prepare yourself and your social media delegate with these three documents:

1. Social Media FAQ

The answers to nine out of 10 questions you receive in social media will be fairly obvious. How late are you open on Sunday? What’s your return policy? Are these brownies gluten free?

Without fail, one of my client receives the following question every day: Where can I buy these in stores? The answer varies by state, so we maintain a state-by-state list of retail locations to ensure rapid response.

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon – or the business owner – to answer such basic queries.

Our social media advice to you? Document answers to your most frequently asked questions and hand ‘em off to your delegate with confidence.

2. Social Media Engagement Guidelines

If you actively publish compelling content in social media, you probably receive responses. Some are positive. Some may be negative. How should your social media delegate respond?

Response to positive comments can be as easy as a like or a gracious thank you.

Response to negative comments require a bit more care. And, as Jay Baer points out, they must be addressed. If you want to handle these personally, your delegate should offer immediately to resolve the issue via email or direct social message depending on the platform and then escalate.

3. Social Media Escalation Guidelines

If nine out of 10 questions are so easy a caveman could do it, then one out of 10 requires a bit more thought. And then, of course, there are the negative responses that need your personal attention.

Escalation guidelines outline exactly how urgently your delegate should bring the issue to your attention. If there’s a product safety issue (for example, a claim of food poisoning), you’ll probably want an immediate text or phone call. If a customer is simply dissatisfied and wants a refund, an email notification may suffice.

Handing off Social Media Is Just Smart Business

As Jay Baer and just about any digital strategist will tell you, proactively managing social media is just good business.

But is doing it yourself smart business?

With these three documents, a little oversight, and a lot of trust, you could be ready to delegate social media and get back to running your business.

Will you follow this social media advice?

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About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.

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