For small business owners, two things are always in short supply: time and money. This often puts entrepreneurs in a position to make some tough decisions. Chances are, as a business owner with a vast array of responsibilities, writing tweets and posting photos to Instagram isn’t high on your priority list. Yet it’s no longer acceptable for small businesses to forego activity on social media. If you’re a small business owner and find yourself pushing things off your “to do” list (like curating social media content), it might be time to think about outsourcing. As much as social media can help your business grow, it can also feel like a HUGE time sucker, especially when you’re the only person running the business.
A social media manager can be an invaluable addition to your small business’s marketing team. Not only does hiring a social media manager free up your time but is a case where spending money leads to making money. Having a social media marketer on staff can help your business’s operations improve in a variety of different ways, and it’s more than worth the recruiting and on-boarding expenses. With the help of a seasoned social media manager, you can strengthen your business’s online presence. Is it worth it to spend money on a social media manager if it frees up your time and results in an improved marketing strategy?
First, What Do Social Media Managers Do
Let’s start off by defining what a social media manager is. A social media manager has access to your social media channels, implements a strategy that will bring you more followers and engagement and builds brand awareness over time.
No matter your personal philosophy on social media, it’s a lifeline for small businesses. Compared to traditional advertising mediums, it’s incredibly affordable and effective. It’s also one of the only advertising arenas where smaller businesses can get a leg up on larger corporations via their personal and authentic content.
If you already use social media personally, it’s easy to assume that you can manage your business’ social media content on your own, but using social media for business is much different than using it personally. Marketing businesses online is more complex than most people realize. Compared to the personal use of social media, business use is disciplined, planned, and requires significant knowledge of the best practices and trends. Social media managers are experts at understanding this difference and aligning their marketing efforts with your larger business plan. They gather metrics on page performance, engagement, and followers, set goals, focus on branding and brand awareness, create posting schedules, curate content that is perfectly attuned to the image and tone of your business, optimize content for search engines, design advertising campaigns, select posts to boost, run ads, interact with followers—and a whole lot more.
All of those tasks add up to a lot of time spent and the need for a specialized and focused approach.
A Professional Managing Social Media
While it’s great to have an existing employee pitching in with social media efforts, you’re better off hiring a social media expert to manage these tasks. Instead of just posting at random, this individual can create a strategic plan to help your business get the most out of your social presence.
During the interview process, ask them to produce a sample social media plan, so that you can see what their understanding is for using different social media platforms. As an experienced social media marketer, they should know how often to post on each platform and the type of content that performs best.
To help with the decision, here are six signs it’s time for you to hire a social media manager.
- The Social Landscape Is Always Changing
Many of us see people using terms on social media and wonder what they are. Often the use, and over-use, of hashtags is confusing. Younger members of the family or business are frequently embarrassing based on the company’s social media posts. This is very common when the poster is probably not the most savvy social media user. If you are planning to manage your business’ social media, this may prove to be a big issue.
Social media marketing should come across in an organic manner. Posts must hit all the right points without coming off as though they’ve been planned, and embarrassing mistakes must be avoided. Because we view social media as something we use for fun, it can be a challenge to take it seriously. The more important social media is to your marketing strategy, the more important it is to have an expert handling related tasks. The idea of hiring a social media expert might seem strange, but digital marketing consultants know how to accomplish this, whereas casual users can fumble.
Do you feel like there are new social media platforms all the time? While Facebook remain at the top of the pack, Instagram is giving them a run for their money, and other newer platforms are steadily rising as well. Snapchat, anyone? YouTube is the king of video, but what about TikTok and Reels?
Which platforms do you need business pages for? Which should you be managing, and which are unnecessary? That will depend on many factors, including the demographics you’re targeting. How do you use each of them? Best practices vary by platform, so Facebook marketing and Instagram marketing, for example, are two different beasts.
If you feel overwhelmed just thinking about this or struggle to understand social media platforms, it may be best to hand these tasks off to someone who can swim when you tend to sink.
In addition to the audiences’ sophistication changing, the technology is always in flux as well. If you and your other employees are not up-to-date on the latest social media marketing tools and strategies, the time that you’re spending posting to your channels may be a waste. By hiring a professional, you’ll be confident in the time and resources that are being spent in this area. A social media manager can keep track of any algorithm changes and new trends within the platform, but also adapt your strategy and the content based on the latest updates.
A social media manager will take in what changes are either happening or soon to take place on a platform and in the overall social media world. By being focused and agile, they can make recommendations on changing campaign objectives and generating new content to provide continued success with regards to their goals.
Staying up to date on these changes requires a subject matter expert to keep a keen eye, to make sure that the brands they work for have continued success in social media platforms.
- Integrated Social Media For Better Marketing Strategy
Often social media is not incorporated into the overall marketing strategy, but has random posts being published by several people as they think of them. Employees posting at random on your social media profiles, having no plan, will do a disservice to your brand as it will feel unorganized and disjointed. I strongly advise that find out how you can either:
- Have an existing employee who is passionate about this space take over the social media efforts full time.
- Or reconsider if your brand is ready to be in this space.
Additionally, social media is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. In many ways, this approach can do greater harm than good for your messages could become out-of-touch with recent trends and social news.
Having a plan developed for social media requires the social media expert to come together with all other people executing other marketing campaigns (direct mail, email, paid search, TV, radio) on your brand’s behalf.
Doing so will prevent your efforts from being siloed and increase the synergy of all your marketing efforts – online and offline. Social media can remind prospects of marketing campaigns and redirect them to visit your website for more in-depth information.
For example, if you’re planning on pushing out a direct mail piece, one that is more costly than perhaps paid search or email, your marketing team should think about how your direct mail piece can be partnered with emails and social media campaigns after its in-house date to magnify your message.
- Build Your Brand With Consistent Social Content
Depending on the type of business you run, traditional advertising mediums may have been more effective than social media. However, as demographics shift and older Americans are establishing an online presence, it’s becoming less and less common for this to be the case. Instead, most businesses, both small and large, are finding social media as the most immediate way to connect with their target audiences. The messages from your company that people see on social media must match the message on your website and those provided by your sales and customer service people.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a company’s social media page hasn’t been updated in ages. A social media manager will make it their main priority to post consistently on each platform. They’ll also know what type of content will be best received on each platform – instead of just posting the same message on every one of your business’s profiles. But a social media manager can also keep your brand agile – switching objectives, creatives, or content if your current efforts aren’t doing as well as they could be.
By posting consistent social content, you’ll also have another way to drive traffic to your business’s website. Your new manager will be able to do this by sharing blog posts, exclusive offers, and other links that will lead followers back to your website. Having these social posts is another way to convince prospective customers to check out what your business is offering. Additionally, this can also mean sharing customer testimonials, promoting company culture, or simply better reflecting your company’s brand.
If you aren’t currently thinking about branding, that’s where a social media manager will be of benefit. How do you want to represent your business on social media? And what do you want potential customers to see when they visit your profiles? It is vital that they get clear insight into what your business does, and how it stands out against competitors. Your social media profiles are the perfect place to refine your brand experience. Hire a social media manager who’s creative and can bring fresh ideas to the table. They’ll be able to ensure that your business’s brand is well represented on each social media platform.
Branding is the impression you want visitors to have about your company, or the feeling they have when thinking about you. The quality of your posts are the foundation of that impression. If you have a computer, phone, or tablet, what else do you need? Believe it or not, there are many more tools you can use to manage social media accounts. Typos, grainy images, or mis-timed posts will generate a less than professional impression, and new visitors will think that how you do this one thing, is how you do everything.
A social media manager’s goal is to create brand awareness for you, and establish your business as a professional and an expert in your industry. By creating consistent and valuable content, your followers will begin to trust you and identify your brand. Furthermore, you will start to have loyal fans who look forward to what you will be posting next.
- Re-engage With Existing Customers And Generate New Customers
Ultimately, sales are what matter most. You may be social media savvy, adept at various platforms, own the right tools, excel at writing, and have more time than you know what to do with—but if your pages aren’t seeing the right levels of engagement, you aren’t getting the results you need to be successful at social media marketing.
Engagement refers to the likes, shares, comments and other interactions that are the lifeblood of social media. If these are low, your efforts on social media are being wasted. Rather than struggling with this and stressing over it, it may be time to hand it over to a social media manager. Social media manager(s) are constantly on high alert to each message, review, and comment happening within social media regarding a brand. Using their skills and proven strategies, they can boost engagement levels and achieve the results you’re aiming for.
Posting consistently will help you build your social media following. If you’re currently having a difficult time attracting new followers, posting on a regular basis could be the change you need to make. Most social media users who posted consistently and then decreased their frequency saw their traffic drop by up to 50%. This is why it is important to stay steady when it comes to social! Your social media manager will know how to post your business’s newest offers on social media, through both paid and organic efforts that attract your audience’s attention and mind-share. Through social media you can connect with new customers, and now you’ll have someone fully focusing on this initiative.
How your social media manager does this will depend on the type of business you own. For example, if your run a restaurant, your social media manager should focus on promoting images of your restaurant’s cuisine and ambiance. In comparison, a business in the service industry will benefit from sharing customer testimonials. Of course, as with any marketing idea, your social media manager will need to try different sales tactics to see what works. This means they should be set up with appropriate analytics tools, so that they can examine how many leads your efforts are producing.
- Reporting & Tracking
Your social media efforts can help you improve other existing marketing campaigns. A social media manager is familiar and knowledgeable about social media analytics and what they mean. They can analyze the results of your posts (what times to post, engagement, post reach Etc.) A social media manager will look at campaigns over time and will know if a tactic is becoming fatigued or if the strategy should be adjusted. Without analytics, we wouldn’t know if our marketing strategy is working or not, which leads to a huge waste of time, and when using social media ads, a huge waste of money.
A social media manager will check their ads regularly – turning underperforming ads off and optimizing other campaigns to make sure you’re money is being well spent and your goals are being met.
Unfortunately, each social media platform has their own set of tools and frequently change their reporting structures. For example, let’s look at Instagram. To be successful on this platform, you’ll need to understand how to use the tools that gather metrics, tell you who’s engaging with you, which posts get the most engagement, and reveal where things are going wrong. You’ll need to know which hashtags to specifically focus on since they’re central to this platform, as well as tools that can schedule posts and identify trends. All of the above applies to one single platform. As you can see, being effective in social media marketing requires significant learning investment. It’s almost always cheaper and more time efficient to hire someone who already has the knowledge than to acquire it yourself.
This knowledge provides tremendous value at the end of the month reporting as they will provide documentation telling a story of:
- What was executed that month.
- How well it did compare to previous months.
- What should be done next.
Sometime campaigns will have a continuing success and can lead to other great ideas, which wouldn’t necessarily be the case if you didn’t have someone dedicated to these efforts around the clock. A highly engaged social media post can inspire a longer form blog post that will increase search engine optimization for your website.
- Social Media as a Customer Service Tool
Many business owners don’t realize that social media isn’t just for advertising products or services – it’s a customer management tool, too. You may not realize it, but customers expect your business to provide customer service through mediums like Facebook, but few actually deliver it. This also goes for Twitter – the majority of customer service complaints go unanswered by businesses.
It can be difficult to respond to customers on social media, in addition to other platforms like customer relationship management (CRM) programs, email, and voicemail, to name a few. A social media manager will be responsible for handling social media messages, so you won’t risk ignoring customers or waiting too long to respond.
If you ignore feedback on social media – you may lose them as a customer. According to an Forbes, 66 percent of consumers stopped doing business with a company after receiving poor customer service on social media. Neglecting social media in your customer service efforts could risk customer retention, and lessen the likelihood that you acquire new clientele through this medium.
Hiring an individual who has a great deal of experience in this area is huge, as within seconds a social media manager can help mitigate and solve an issue which would have otherwise turned into a disaster if a less-seasoned individual would have put in the role.
It’s vital that the social media manager develops not only the right voice and language of the brand within social media, but also work with other individuals within the business, like customer support and PR, so contingency plans are put in place, well before a social media crisis takes place. Not only do they have the right process in place with regards to triaging, but also they’re aware of how to conduct themselves within the platform, representing the brand.
The action of responding to a comment, whether it’s good or bad, should also be done within a certain time-frame. The sooner, the better, so your brand can either help solve a problem for an existing or future customer or client, or make someone respect how your brand conducts itself on social media.
How to Select a Social Media Manager
Realizing that your business can benefit from outsourcing social media marketing tasks is just the first step. Next, you need to find the right social media manager for your brand. Here are some steps to take as part of the vetting process.
- Ask to see accounts that they already manage. Read through them to get a good feel for their tone, voice, friendliness, and more. Also keep an eye out for anything that could be a red flag, such as spelling errors, repetitive content, or potentially controversial posts.
- Get references. If the candidate is experienced, they should be able to provide you either with the contact information of another client or a letter of recommendation. You can also check their LinkedIn for endorsements.
- Request details on the results of past campaigns they have run. They should be able to outline the key performance indicators they were targeting, what their goals were, and how their results matched up to those goals.
- Find out how many other clients they are working for. While you cannot expect to be the only client unless you are offering a salaried position, you can expect that they will not take on more than a full-time load, which may only be a handful of clients.
- Get the details on how they measure performance. Which tools are they using, and how will they analyze the data? You should also get some examples of how they have put data to work in the past to improve campaigns.
- Give them a difficult scenario and ask how they would handle it. This could be something like dealing with negative page feedback or how they would handle an important deadline while sick. The goal is to find out how they approach high-pressure situations.
Ready to Add a Social Media Manager to Your Team?
Adding another team member can be daunting but we are here to help. Our team is ready to step in and take over your social media tasks while creating and implementing a social media marketing plan that aligns with the values and image of your brand.