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. For example, is it worth it to spend money on a social media manager if it frees up your time and results in excellent social media strategy?
In some cases, that answer might be no. However, the answer is most likely yes. Not only does hiring a social media manager free up your time but is a case where spending money leads to making money. Just in case you’re on the fence, we’ve compiled seven signs it’s time for you to bring a digital marketing consultant on board.
First, What Do Social Media Managers Do
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 this may demonstrate a lack of understanding of what social media marketing demands and what it is that social media managers do.
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. You may have already decided it’s time to outsource your social media marketing. Here are some additional signs it’s the right time to do so.
1. Social Media Is Central to Your Marketing Strategy
Depending on the type of business you run, traditional advertising mediums may be 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, rely heavily on social media to connect with their target audiences.
The more important social media is to your marketing strategy, the more important it is to have an expert handling related tasks. Because we view social media as something we use for fun, it can be a challenge to take it seriously. The idea of hiring a social media expert might seem strange, but they’re the experts in this area.
2. You Aren’t Exactly Social Media Savvy
Do you ever see things on social media and wonder what they are?
Do hashtags confuse you?
Do younger members of the family think you’re embarrassing based on your social media use?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re probably not the most savvy social media user. That’s okay — many people aren’t. But if you are planning to manage your business’ social media, this may prove to be a bigger 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 to, and embarrassing mistakes must be avoided. Digital marketing consultants know how to accomplish this, whereas casual users can fumble.
3. The Variety of Social Media Platforms Overwhelms You
Do you feel like there are new social media platforms all the time? Well, you aren’t wrong. While Facebook and YouTube 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?
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.
4. You Don’t Have All the Right Tools for the Job
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.
Let’s start with Instagram. To be successful on this platform, you’ll need 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 tools that specifically focus on hashtags since they’re central to this platform, as well as tools that can schedule posts and identify trends. This list doesn’t even mention things like cameras, editing, and design software.
All of the above applies to one single platform. As you can see, being effective in social media marketing requires significant investment. It’s almost always cheaper and more time efficient to hire someone who already has the tools than to acquire them yourself.
5. Writing Just Isn’t Your Forte
Social media posts may not be the next great American novel, but that doesn’t mean creating them doesn’t require quality writing. In fact, writing social media posts can be challenging. They need to be light and friendly yet authoritative, and the voice used needs to remain consistent across posts and platforms. Also, since you don’t want to post identical content to all platforms, rewriting and revision skills are critical.
If you don’t consider writing to be your major strength, seek out a social media manager who is experienced at crafting written online content.
6. There Is Never Enough Time
Running a business is a time-intensive endeavor. Even if your business is small, it requires numerous tasks every day just to remain up and running. Dividing your time between those vital tasks and social media management may be asking too much of yourself.
When social media marketing is done correctly, it’s essentially a full-time job. Every day starts with looking at metrics and research related to social media trends within your industry. From there, posts are made. On Facebook alone, businesses should share posts almost every day, not including live Facebook ads. Since visual content performs better than text, time is also needed to create and format visuals that accompany each post.
Every platform your business has a profile on increases the social media workload. Instagram’s best practices mention posting up to three times per day, and Twitter mentions the same. On YouTube, it’s suggested to post a video about once a week. This is an intense schedule, especially when placed on top of all the other tasks related to owning a business.
7. Engagement on Your Pages Is Low
Ultimately, results 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 levels are considered dangerously low if they slip below 10 percent. At this point, something is wrong, despite your best efforts. Rather than struggling with this and stressing over it, it may be time to hand it over to a social media manager. Using their skills and proven strategies, they can boost engagement levels and achieve the results you’re aiming for.
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.
Ask them to make a pitch. In this pitch, they can outline which platforms are best suited to your business, which KPIs to target, campaign ideas, expected costs, and more. This will give you a clear picture of what you will get if you choose to work with them.
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.