More than 30% of US small businesses have outsourced at least one marketing process. And usually, social media is one of the first processes outsourced.
Not only marketing processes are outsourced, but they tend to be outsourced to agencies and managers from around the world. Sometimes miles away, causing account blocks and temporary bans due to security triggers set in place by social networks.
Here's when proxies, in general - and datacenter proxies, in particular - come into play and become part of an organization's setup.
Social media management outsourcing trends in 2020
There are several reasons for which a company should outsource social media.
While each business has its characteristics and needs, the outsourcing trend is expected to continue its growth in the next decade.
Why the social media outsourcing trend is important
This trend creates new opportunities for both businesses and marketers.
First, businesses gain access to expertise, which is invaluable to companies lacking resources to develop it internally.
Second, social media management takes time. According to Hubstaff, companies can spend almost 8 hours a week managing a single social media account - that's nearly a day's work (or 32 hours each month).
On the other hand, this trend creates employment opportunities for remote managers and agencies from around the world and for marketers looking to take the digital nomad path and move to live abroad.
Today, it's easier than ever for small and medium-sized businesses to outsource social media to remote managers. And vice-versa: remote marketers can reach business clients with more ease. Actually, besides freelancing platforms like Fiverr, there are even hiring agencies, like Remotive, dedicated exclusively to remote workers.
However, when it comes to managing social media accounts remotely, this mobility creates issues for both companies and managers alike.
An outsourcing issue: "Suspicious Login Attempt"
Everybody was prompted at least once with a "Suspicious Login Attempt" message when trying to connect to social media accounts from a new location or a different country.
For most people, this is not an issue. But it becomes one when a remote manager - living in a different country and timezone - triggers this block for an account belonging to a company that invested time and money in developing its audience.
It is inconvenient for both parties, especially when the time difference is significant and the social manager can't reach the company to verify the login request and unblock the account.
Furthermore, if the company conducts sales and promotions through the [now blocked] social media account, this minor login issue translates into lost opportunities. This downtime can also turn into customer dissatisfaction when support is carried through the account - making it almost impossible to reply to customers' messages.
Here's where proxies come into play. They reduce the risk of blocking an account when logins are forwarded through it.
How proxies for social media work
There's no reason to get into every detail of how a proxy server works.
The first significant feature to remember is that a proxy server hides the IP address of its users. At the same time, it advertises its IP address as belonging to the user.
In other words, a marketer using a proxy to login to social media accounts won't display its real IP address to social networks, but the proxy server's one.
Also, a proxy can be accessed at the same time from different locations by multiple users.
These two features, replacing the IP address of its users and supporting multiple connections from different locations, render proxies a suitable tool for outsourced managers and remote companies.
Proxies for social media are necessary when several team members from different countries manage the same accounts. The social network won't see several connections spread around the world; it will see all login attempts as coming from one single IP address (as in the case of a regular Internet connection in an office building). In this way, it won't trigger any failed login blocks.
Platforms blocking login attempts
It's safe to say that most platforms, if not all, limit or block suspicious login attempts. From Instagram and Facebook to Pinterest and Twitter, when outsourcing social media management, any platform is susceptible to blocking remote ("suspicious") login attempts.
Not only social networks do this, but also Google and even Hootsuite - the social media management tool - do it.
All these blocks are enforced based on the IP address (hence the location) of the remote manager - which for the social network looks like a strange outlier to previous logins for a company's account.
Sharing the same IP address - through a proxy - and maintaining all connections to the social network through this IP address helps businesses and managers alike avoid blocks and unnecessary downtime until the login is approved and identity verified.
Which proxies work best for social media
Today, there are more than ten types of proxy categories. And there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to it.
Most proxies are named based on the platform for which they are allocated. For example, a company looking to outsource their social media management for Instagram can look for social media proxies or 4G/mobile proxies (these are proxies with a mobile provider ISP, like Sprint or AT&T).
But, for those looking for alternatives, there’s always one: either to tolerate the risk of blocking the social media account or to further-integrating the remote manager.
Alternatives to using proxies
Some businesses avoid using proxies for social media. Some [unknowingly] decide to use a simple connection and tolerate the risk of triggering account blocks every time the remote manager changes locations (this is the case of digital nomads - who can travel and connect from different countries in short periods).
The other solution is to further-integrate the remote social manager into the organization's processes and system by creating a "virtual office connection". It can be achieved with the help of something similar to proxies - a VPN - Virtual Private Network. Not a commercially-available VPN, but a dedicated one built between the company's office and the remote manager's device. This connection can be achieved with free open-source tools. With it, a remote manager's connection is forwarded to the company's servers, as if the (remote) device is part of its internal network.
Both alternatives are viable, but neither of them is as straightforward and easy to implement as a proxy service.
Chris Roark, author at BestProxyProviders a proxy services review company helping marketers and developers find proxies suited to their projects. I am a tech advocate interested in marketing and automation.