I believe that if you resort to using a ghost-tweeter to update your Twitter feed then you’re doing it wrong.

Why? Well mainly because I think social media is about customer (or audience) centricity. It is about placing the customer at the very heart of your business, and caring about what they have to say. And as such it has an impact on – and it reflects – organisational culture. 

The brands that are doing social media right are very much focused on listening, sharing, communicating and responding. Outsourcing these tasks is myopic, and it can also be rather dangerous (especially if you fire the ghost-tweeter and fail to change the passwords to your social media accounts).

Before I reveal my seven reasons I should point out that I’m a fan of freelance copywriters, who can be a great aid to your business. But I think they should be producing content that feeds into your social media profiles, to entertain and inform your audience, as opposed to having outright control over your Twitter account.

It is important to define a scope – and some guidelines – for your social media activity, and to figure out what kind of content is going to work for your fans and followers. Copywriters can play a big part in that. It’s just that I don’t think they should become ghost-tweeters on your behalf.

So why should you avoid hiring a ghost-tweeter? Let me explain why I think it’s a bad move…

1. You probably don’t need to

Social media isn’t rocket science. There’s nothing to it, once you’ve learned the basics. Skill up!

2. Your staff are your best asset, when it comes to social media

They are far closer to your products and services than a freelance ghost-tweeter will be. Make the most of their knowledge and passion.

3. Why pay a ghost-tweeter when you could invest in in-house social media training?

It’s like paying rent: dead money. I think it is far better to invest in training up your staff, for long-term success.

4. It’s a cultural thing. Or at least it should be…

By outsourcing your tweets you are avoiding the issues that social media presents for companies (especially the bigger ones). Take ownership of your social media presence. Figure out how it might affect your organisation culture and processes. Hire copywriters to produce compelling content, rather than to write your tweets.

5. Social media isn’t all about broadcasting messages

Ghost-tweeters shouldn’t be tasked with dealing with customer service issues and other queries. Note too that your PR and marketing team might not be the most suitable respondents. Focus social media on brand and service, rather than sales and marketing. 

6. You need to make your own mistakes

While there are lots of guidelines for social media, there is no fixed rulebook to adhere to. What’s right for one brand may be wrong for another. Mistakes will inevitably be made, and how you deal with them reveals a great deal to your audience. Firing a ghost-tweeter who has overstepped the mark isn’t going to help you to figure out Twitter and Facebook.

7. You might get found out

And that might become a reputational issue. Oh boy.

What do you think? Am I being harsh? Are there some exceptions to the rule?