It’s not quite paralysis by analysis, but a recent report seems to indicate that a shortage of technical aptitude is putting an undue burden on the folks in your IT department to support some pretty basic social media management tools.

The VB Insight report, Social Media Management: Tools, tactics . . . and how to win, finds that more than 22 percent of social media managers rely heavily on IT to support their use of SMM tools, and another 39 percent can’t get by without some regular help.

At a time when social media managers in San Francisco are earning an average of $83,000 — and many are earning more than $100,000 — is it really acceptable to employers that social media managers need regular IT support for simple tools like Marketo or HootSuite?

According to the report’s author, Stewart Rogers, it shouldn’t be.

“Our experts feel these tools, on average, are easy to use,” Rogers wrote. “Pareto’s Principle applies (the famed 80/20 rule). 20% of the users need 80% of the support.”

Drill down a bit and some of the reasons for social media managers’ reliance on tech support become easier to understand, if not accept.


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First, decisions on which social media management tool to use tend to happen pretty quickly. In fact, 58 percent of social media managers spend less than 3 weeks researching the SMM tools they ultimately buy, according to the report. That’s not a lot of time to make an informed decision with such massive potential ramifications for your brand, and caution loves to hedge its bets on the back of others.

Second, integration of social media management tools to your existing CRM and datasets isn’t easy. A standard implementation takes up to eight weeks, with more complex, cloud-based solutions such as the Salesforce marketing cloud potentially taking much, much longer to get live, placing a lot of stress on your IT department.

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Third, social media management is a booming industry. Eighty percent of the report’s 1,100 respondents, representing everything from startups to large enterprises, say they expect to maintain or increase their spend on social media management tools this year. And where there is significant enterprise investment, you can expect to find IT nearby.

Finally, those same social media managers who you’re paying pretty righteous bucks are often young and lacking in “been there, done that” experience, creating both an inherent reliance on coworkers and a risky personnel investment for brands of any size.

Put it altogether and your folks in IT support may be deserving of a bonus this year you’d rather they didn’t have to earn.