Should You Hire a Social Media Manager?
As a freelancer, you do everything—manage the books, handle the sales, and make the coffee. All this on top of your actual job, be it writing, photography, graphic design, event planning…whatever.
There are some things you can outsource. You can hire a bookkeeper to keep your finances straight. These people already know how to use such software as Quickbooks, and outsourcing means you don’t have to spend the time learning the program or inputting numbers into a spreadsheet.
Did you know you can also outsource your social media? There are people out there whose job is to handle other peoples’ social media marketing, saving them oodles of time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Constant Contact, you name it.
Maybe you aren’t good at keeping up a presence on these social media platforms. Maybe you don’t know how to leverage them. Maybe you are just so busy that you don’t really want to take the time to learn. But should you hand over your online branding to someone? This is the exact question answered by the Young Entrepreneur Council for The Washington Post. Some of their answers, included here, are worth pondering.
We originally tried to manage our social media presence part-time, but we learned quickly that in order to go from just having a presence to actually building and maintain high-value relationships on several different platforms, we needed a full-time social media manager. So yes, we do have a full-time person on social media. —Paul Gollash, founder and CEO of New York-based Voxy.
Taking time to build relationships through social media takes time and perseverance. It’s not something you can pay attention to one week and then drop it for the next two. You need to have a ongoing presence online to build faith, followers, and credibility. It’s more than just posting a tweet once a week or something to your Facebook page every so often. If you aren’t engaging your followers, you aren’t doing yourself justice.
Within our team of 20 subcontractors, we have two that focus entirely on social media activities for our company and for our clients’ companies. One reason is because we also incorporate specific tracking techniques to help us measure effectiveness and reach. While tracking techniques are used in traditional marketing also, it is helpful to have someone already well-versed in this specific area. —Erin Blaskie, CEO of BSETC in Ontario
All the social media marketing in the world doesn’t do you any good unless you know what is and isn’t working. And if you don’t know how to track your progress, you’re stuck in the mud.
Why spend gobs of time and effort on doing something if you aren’t going to measure the success and failure of your effort? Why work harder if you don’t have to? You need to find what works for you as a freelancer and small business person and take that route. There’s no sense in spending lots of time on something that you don’t know if it’s really working or not.
Social media is about the give-and-take between your company and your users. The authenticity and personality of those interactions are critical to increasing customer loyalty. Therefore, we have a dedicated community team who continually experiments with various social media strategies and explores ways of tapping into the potential of new social media platforms like Pinterest. —Emerson Sparts, CEO of Chicago-based Spartz Media
Letting someone else experiment on new social media outlets and tactics for you saves you valuable time. Will Pinterest work for you? Instead of spending 40 hours deducing it for yourself, ask the experts and get back to work. Sparts goes on to say that having someone handle their social media also helps when platforms like Facebook and Twitter change their look (like Facebook Timeline), they have experts who can deduce how the change affects their followers and how they share information.
Hiring a social media manager can be a tough decision. You want to be sure you are hiring someone who is credible, who can take your social marketing goals and run with it, and who can improve your fan and follower base. Do your research before hiring someone. This should be a partnership, not a dictatorship, and make sure they are actively doing what they say (and are charging you) to do
It can also be a financial decision. Maybe you just don’t have the funds right now to outsource this aspect of your job. That doesn’t mean you can’t consider it for the future and plan out what you would like this person to do for you.
The benefits of handing this important piece of marketing your business can be substantial. Not only do you not have to worry about keeping on top of all the new social media outlets and changes out there, you can focus on what needs to be done to make money for your business.
Do you work with a social media manager? We’d love to hear your thoughts.