It’s a question I get asked often by clients and professional contacts. Should I outsource my social media management? Is it better to keep this in-house, or is it safe to have a firm or consultant take over? My answer, as it is with most things related to communications and public relations, is that it depends. It depends upon your industry, your expectations and goals for social media, the organization of your team, and the type of content you wish to share. And most importantly, I caution everyone with the tried and true advice of “You get what you pay for.” This doesn’t mean you have to invest a large portion of your overall marketing budget to outsourcing social media management if that’s not really going to move the needle for your business goals. However, you should value such a service enough to pay for quality – and for even better and more personal results, hire local!
If you find yourself falling behind on your social media management, drudging over what content to post, where, and when, then it might be smart to consider the benefits of finding the right professional to handle your social media strategy for you. Keep reading to know when outsourcing your social media management may be a smart decision for your business. And most importantly, be honest with yourself as you reflect on your current social media efforts!
You’ve put social media on the backburner.
I would say most business owners feel like there is a lot on their plate any given day. Throw in the responsibility of posting fresh content to social media on a near-daily basis and this task often gets shoved down to the bottom of the list. The tasks that get priority are ones like delivering a product or service to your customers, putting out fires, important administrative tasks, and you get the picture. If you wear many hats, the ones most likely to gain your attention are the ones that directly impact the bottom line of your business. And while I can make a case that social media does as well, it’s often not as direct or immediate, so it feels “less important” and is therefore often overlooked.
This is a good indicator that you may benefit from outsourcing your social media management because the person you bring on board would exist primarily to make sure your social media presence is accurate, active, and setting the right impression with your audience. They’re not wearing all the other hats like you, just the social media one.
You don’t know what type of content will engage your audience.
Say you do find the time in a day to open up Facebook or Twitter, and as the cursor blinks in the blank box, you realize you have no inspiration as to what to post. Do you try to sell your good or services? Maybe. Do you try to engage your customers? Possibly. Do you share a behind the scenes glimpse of your work to humanize your business? Makes sense. All of this uncertainty can be paralyzing to the point at which you give up and move on to the next work tasks. Well, that didn’t accomplish much. My point here is that simply having the time to manage your social media doesn’t mean it will be any more effective than posting nothing if you don’t have the expertise or inspiration to pull together exciting content.
In hiring someone to manage your social media, you’re also gaining their expertise. Ideally, you’re working with someone who has experience in this area and can create great content to match your audience and your social media goals. It’s on them to find the inspiration, produce something different for every post, and design a graphic to go with it. This means you get to get back to running your business and focusing on what you enjoy doing the most.
You don’t know the right platform(s) on which to focus.
Similar to not knowing what content to post, you may also be confused about the best platforms to use. The answer is uniquely tied to your audience, goals, and capacity, but I say with certainty the correct answer is never “all of them.” In my experience, the most effective social media presence is accomplished when you’re focusing on 3 or fewer social media platforms. This gives whoever manages your social media channels a reasonable bandwidth to develop custom content for each platform, resize images accordingly, post, and monitor content on a daily basis. Adding too many more into the mix and soon you won’t be managing any of them well. When you outsource your social media management, you will gain expertise on the best platforms to use and how to improve your profile and content to bring it to the next level.
There’s been little to no growth with your accounts.
Has your Facebook page been sitting with the same 100 followers for months? Has no one liked or retweeted a post on your Twitter account since you created it? It’s time to breathe fresh life into your social media presence, and often this comes with changing things up by outsourcing it to someone who can offer a new perspective. A professional social media consultant can do a deep dive into your social media profiles, dust them off, make enhancements, and fill the “engine” with fuel. It’s no silver bullet that you’ll go viral in your first month, but it is more than you’re currently doing which is a great place to start.
You’re just getting started.
In contrast to the point above, maybe you don’t have an established social media presence yet. This is also a great time to solicit the expertise of a professional social media manager for advice from the start. They can help set up your profiles, pick the right account name, fully brand it, develop your description, and determine the best hashtags to use. Essentially, they prevent any missteps from being taken right from the start which will set you up for success in the long-term.
You don’t enjoy doing it!
And finally, do you find that you’re just not really that passionate about social media – at least for your business? That’s OK! It doesn’t mean you’re denying your need for it to market your business, or putting your head in the sand, it just means you might benefit from outsourcing the work to someone else. And even if you do like social media, you may not be comfortable or feel inspired to create content about your own business. When you’re very close to a subject, it can be hard to see it from the perspective of what your audience might care about. These are all good reasons to seriously consider outsourcing your social media management.
What has been your experience with growing your social media presence for your business? Do any of the above points resonate with where you currently stand with your social media strategy? If so, outsourcing some or all of your social media management may be a wise decision to allow you more time to do what you love while ensuring you have a top-notch social presence.
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