Do you hate the thought of managing social media for your business?
It takes up so much of your time and effort and, since this is not your area of expertise and you’re probably not even sure if it’s actually helping your business.
But you know that with the right person managing your brand online that you would actually get results. You consider hiring a social media manager, but another employee is a huge cost commitment that you cannot afford right now. The next best option is to outsource this aspect of your business to an agency or freelance expert who understands social media and can do all the drudge work for you.
The truth is, many businesses get to this point without giving any in-depth thought regarding what social media really means for their business and what they need to be doing versus those that arepointless or not getting results.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before shelling out cash for a social media manager for your business:
What do you want from social media?
Have you identified specific goals you want to achieve using social media? Or are you just racing to acquire likes and follows? If you are only engaging in social media because it’s the shiny, new object and ‘everyone else is doing it’, you really are wasting your time.
Social media can be tremendously beneficial to businesses, but there must be a business goal involved which helps determine your strategy and guides your tactical approach. This includes the channels you use, the content type and frequency as well as the metrics you track to measure your success.
If this sounds too complex, it’s understandable. At this stage, you should probably get a social media consultant just to help you draft a strategy document.
Do you know enough about your business?
How much revenue did you earn last year? What would you like to earn in revenue this year? Who is your ideal customer and why do they choose your business over your competitors’?
An in-depth understanding of your business is a crucial first element to pursuing any marketing activities. Many business owners handling social media on their own skip this step because they feel they know the answers in their mind.
Once you begin engaging someone else to strategize, communicate with your customers and promote your business on your behalf, this is information they will need in order to do their job effectively.
Can you do social media yourself?
After deciphering the complexities of social media and laying out your strategy and plan, you may realize it’s not as difficult as you previously thought. A few business owners might decide to try managing it on their own.
Keeping social media in-house has a few benefits. You retain control over your activities, you can answer customer service questions faster and you can keep the same level of authenticity with your customers and clients.
Of course, this is still going to take a significant time investment. The good news is that there are many tools you can use that will save you a ton of time. You can subscribe to relevant blogs through Feed.ly to get content ideas and inspiration, Oktopost.com is great for scheduling posts, monitoring you social engagements and measuring the business impact of your social media campaign. Here’s a list of a few others time-saving social media tools we recommend.
What are the options for outsourcing social media?
All social media managers are not equal. Some agencies offer comprehensive packages that include strategy development, campaign development, monitoring and analysis. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get someone to just post content and nothing else.
There’s nothing wrong with either of these approaches, it’s simply important for you to understand what options are available and choose the one you’re most comfortable with.
If you want to maintain most aspects of social media yourself and maintain authenticity, you may just want to outsource the content development and scheduling aspect. $99 Social is perfect for this. They develop and post content daily to the social media channels of your choice. You can also send them your own business content or ideas and they will incorporate those as well.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution, you may need a freelancer or an agency. Freelancers are less expensive to hire and usually flexible, but an agency will have several people dedicated to your account to ensure you get the best in all areas at all times.
Can you afford to hire someone to manage social media?
Once you’ve decided the type of entity you want to hire, you can research costs. There is no standard pricing structure for social media services so you may see a large range of pricing based on experience, services offered, and brand names.
If your research indicates that you simply cannot afford the ideal service, you may have to explore how you split up your social media tasks to handle some of them internally and use an external service for the tasks that are too time-consuming or difficult.
Is it the person/business you’re hiring right for your business?
Anyone you hire to manage your social media presence should be trustworthy, knowledgeable and experienced. You should also be able to collaborate and communicate with them easily.
When you give someone access to your social media accounts, you are basically handing over the keys to your castle. This person now has control over the public image of your business and that should never be taken lightly.
How will you maintain authenticity?
Your true fans know your voice. They know what your business is about and what they’ve come to expect when they walk through your doors, and they can instantly tell when something is off, even online.
If you outsource social media, always be sure to stay involved and communicate with your customers once in a while to let them know that you are there and you are listening.
There is no need to lie or even hide the fact that you’re not there all the time and someone else manages the account on your behalf. It’s perfectly acceptable to outsource, but it’s still important for you to have a say in what happens and be visible.
Yes, social media can be hard to manage, especially for a small business owner with so many other things to worry about.
Luckily, there are numerous tools and options available for those who wish to outsource aspects of social media.
Just make sure you fully understand your business and needs and outsource to someone who fits perfectly with the level of input required to achieve success on social media.
How do you handle social media tasks in your business? Please share your solutions in the comments below.