One of the best things about the internet is that it can connect you with the world – by simply clicking a button.  Think about it.  There used to be a time when the only way people could interact with someone from a distant land was by traveling days, weeks, or months at a time.  As we progressed as a civilization, it became easier to communicate.  To think that something like the Pony Express used to be the fastest mode of communication at one time?  It pales in comparison to modern-day websites, social media, and e-mail that give you almost instantaneous connection with people halfway across the world.

That one-click mentality has its disadvantages, though.  Instantaneous gratification has become a way of life it seems.  If someone fails to respond to an e-mail within a reasonable timeframe, it can adversely affect a company’s ratings.  Facebook chastises me for a 2-hour response time to messages on one of my business pages.  Twitter sends me e-mails to let me know what my friends are talking about and liking when I haven’t pulled up my personal twitter account in a few hours.  It becomes more apparent that the immediate response has now become an engrained part of the corporate way of life.  If a business does not have a Facebook or Twitter account, they are missing out on a potential market.

This concept has recently been solidified for me.  In the last couple of weeks I have had meetings with several potential new clients.  These meetings have been with start-up companies, community groups, and long-term businesses.  No matter which stage of business the company is in, they are looking for a way to integrate social media into their business platform.  In each meeting, one of the first questions I am asked is how can they launch a successful social media platform without having it occupy all of their time?  It becomes a vicious cycle. If a business owner is on Twitter or Facebook to answer and engage with their audience, it takes time away from their day-to-day business needs.  If they are focused on their day-to-day business needs and are not engaging as much through social media, they run the risk of missing out on an inexpensive option to grow their audience.

This is where a dedicated social media person comes in handy.  Whether you hire a firm, an intern, or a social media guru to manage your social media integration, it can take the pressure off of you to manage social media integration.  You can set the number of hours and workload for that particular individual. Is it worthwhile to hire and train someone to run your social media in-house?  Is it easier to hire a company to put a social media marketing plan in place for someone in-house to manage?  Does it make more sense to simply hire a company to manage and maintain your social media for you?  As with any hiring practice, run through the pros and cons as they relate to your business.