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If you have decided that your online presence is going to be crucial to your overall marketing strategy, then it’s time to think about hiring a social media professional.
Social media managers, strategists, experts, whatever they decide to call themselves on paper, they have one thing in common. Their job never existed twenty years ago. We are at a very niche point in the timeline of internet advancement where the business world is aware of social media, yet few are able to harness it without the help of an expert.
Outsourcing vs hiring in-house
While social media is an important job, it may not necessarily be a full-time one. If you are a small business, you may only need to devote about 12 hours a week to social media. While you may think that you can just get Pam from accounts to send out a couple of weekly posts, as we discussed in the previous parts of the series, social media marketing does not simply involve a couple of tweets here and there. In order to create a successful social media marketing campaign, you need to either budget a good wage for a hands-on, experienced social media manager, or hire an external agency.
There are many benefits to outsourcing your social media. One of the biggest issues is that the work is not set within the confines of a Monday – Friday nine to five. Evenings and weekends are peak times to engage social media. It’s unlikely Pam from accounts is going to want to spend her Friday night on twitter, and quite frankly, it’s unfair to ask.
Social media agencies are usually made up of a team that will be available to work on your account 24/7. This means that your posts will be sent out round the clock, leaving you and your employees to graft on the sales stuff.
In addition to this, it is far easier to keep your voice consistent when you have an entire team dedicated to producing good content for your brand. When you find a good social media agency that you can trust, you can show them exactly how you wish to be put across, and leave them to it. One of the main errors made by businesses is to hire interns to do their social media. After each fortnight or month, the intern moves on, and you pass on the passwords to the next, not only flagging a major security loop hole, but making your content inconsistent and sporadic.
Of course, the obvious benefit to hiring an external social media company is the fact that you are hiring skilled professionals that have the tools and the know-how to help your company stay ahead of the competition. Not only do they have the insider knowledge and strategies to boost your content, they have the time to do it properly.
What to watch out for
Social media is something that essentially anyone can do, however it is the fact that it is done with panache that will ultimately show its worth. If you are going to invest in hiring an external agency to cover your social media, or are looking to hire within, it’s important to look out for the following factors:
Do they have any previous experience and if so, do they come recommended? Have a look at their website for their list of clients. Can they give a good reference?
- Check their own social media channels
No one trusts a skinny chef. Does the company you are looking at have quality, engaging content on their own social media channels? However, be aware that many users pay for “likes” and “followers” on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, so rather than looking at quantity, scrutinise the quality.
Due to the nature of the job, the title Social Media Expert can often be self proclaimed by a savvy teenager. While they may end up proving to be indispensable to your company, it’s important to do your background research and check that they can demonstrate and deliver excellent work before hiring them.
- Corporate agencies
On the contrary, it’s equally important to watch out for larger agencies that are focussed on delivering you a generic package that offers little to no customisation. These companies may be cheap, but will often have such a large number of clients that they may not give you the kind of attention you need.
Risks of not hiring a social media expert
It’s important to understand that while social media is something that’s essentially free and can be done in spare time, it’s not as straightforward as posting good content.
As social media continues to grow, as do the opportunities for a company to be damaged. A simple backfired tweet or negative comment online can be a PR disaster for your brand. Someone who can fight these fires as well as produce consistent, top quality content can really shift your business from being stuck in the middle ages to standing out in front of the crowd.