When social media marketing was still new, it had many fewer associated risks than it does today. Business and public figures could use their accounts in a fairly casual way without too much risk of controversy or backlash, as long as they weren’t completely careless or deliberately provocative.

How the times have changed. Today’s social media marketing usually requires a strictly buttoned-down brand message and a controlled pattern of communication. It calls out for the hiring of professional social media managers who have some expertise in public relations, as well as the full-time focus that is required to handle problems as they emerge.

This shift from the old way to the new way of doing things has come with notable tradeoffs. There were certain advantages to freewheeling social media marketing, which may not be accessible to those who fully rely on professional assistance. Meanwhile, there are people who have accepted the risks of an ill-advised tweet or a misplaced advertisement in order to maintain the organic tone of their social media marketing.

It’s up to you to decide where your priorities lie and to structure your social media marketing campaign accordingly. But as you think about that, it’s also a good idea to remember that this is not strictly a binary choice. There definitely is a tradeoff between professional expertise and personal control, but that trade off can be a matter of degrees. It may be possible for you to give up a little bit of control over your brand in exchange for a little bit more security in its messaging, or vice versa.

To understand where your social media marketing should land on this spectrum, it’s probably a good idea to first understand your target audience and the overall social media landscape you’ll be operating in. This is a good idea no matter what, as it also tends to yield invaluable insight into the types of content, keywords, and posting schedules that might serve you best – just to name a few.

You can try to run those types of analytics on your own, and there are certainly online tools that will allow you to do so. But if you have less than perfect confidence in your ability to navigate the learning curve, you’ll probably find that it’s worth paying for consultation with a digital marketing professional, even if the result of that consultation includes you deciding that you won’t need them over the long term.

As well as helping you get started with planning out your social media marketing, that consultation may also lay the groundwork for a reputation that comes in handy later on. This is to say that even if you choose to go it alone on your marketing campaign, you can’t entirely ignore the possibility of getting the worst of the control/professionalism trade off at some point down the line.

That doesn’t need to be a crisis, at least not an unmanageable one. But the faster you can reach out to someone with the professional expertise to get you out of today’s social media minefield, the faster you can get back to doing your own thing online and advertising your products or services to people who like your style and won’t keep pressuring you to put on a filter.