Usually No. You really could be foolish to do so.
I say this even though I run a client's Twitter and Facebook Communities. Been doing it over two years now. We often make fun of Social Media Ninja's and Gurus who advise on doing this but have never done it for a Brand. Doing it for themselves doesn't count. Show me one community for a brand, built, run and operated by a Brogan or Solis. Yet you will listen to them about how to do social media?
Who should run the Social Media? The real answer? The top Dog. The top Dog should help and seriously spend time doing it. I suggest 1 day a week the CEO should do this. Or CMO. I don't care how big a company or how well paid they are. If they don't they are failing their company.
Why? Because they should see their customers up close. Their complaints. The things the Company does that impacts customer service, image, etc. Bask in the glory of compliments too. Nothing wrong with that.
The community I run is 99.9999% positive. And I have skin in the game. I am their Director of Marketing. I believe in their product. I believe in their future. I share my client's vision. I am their company when it comes to Social Media and Marketing.
But Chunk-n-Chip makes the best gourmet ice cream sandwich in Southern California. How could they not make people happy. But they get some poor Yelp! reviews here and there. We even have a 'Terrorist' lately leaving false reviews. They get people who complain every so often on Twitter, though rarely and almost never on Facebook. But when I get those complaints it is a pain the ass. I think 'I have no control over this'. All I can do is advise my client what to do. If they don't take my advice (my client takes my advice I am really lucky btw) I am still paid to handle Social Media and have to deal with these issues. But it is a small business so I can share individual occurrences because they are few and far between. She can feel my pain.
Most CEO's and C-Suiters I am sure feel this stuff is below them. But there have been examples of CEO's working Customer Service Lines in the past. If I see that I know it is a good company. Buy their stock. But what about a larger business. Is really all you care about is an Agency giving you a report that says the sentiment with no content? Will they act quickly if they see a trend? Or will they wait for the monthly data report?
So when businesses think they can outsource this work is that the smart move? For example VW has Edelman Digital running their Facebook page helping mine for complaints. VW wants Edelman handling complaints? Even identifying them to me is risky and needs close monitoring (maybe VW does this?). Would a Digital Agency worker be able to see a trend really quickly for a problem that could lead to a recall or lawsuits like an Auto Industry worker would? Edelman calls this customer care effort a success, because it nets them billings. And it is slick. But they seem to be running it vs VW. So I call just the set up a success. Jury is out on the management and operations.
When I pursue clients I pursue clients I want to work with. I won't work with someone just because I want billable hours. If I believe in what they are doing I want to work with them. I can then ethically and emotionally represent them.
My client in Southern California has many fans on Twitter who now follow Sky Pulse Media on Twitter. They know that even from Upstate NY and Vermont my 17 years in Los Angeles and Orange County and my buy in, that I am truly part of that brand vs just a hired gun. How many agencies who run Social Media Communities can say that about what they do? Think about it before you out source.