Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and now Snapchat! Each month a new social media platform is born and the landscape changes yet again.
Most business owners see a benefit in having an active social media strategy. However, implementing that strategy is easier said than done. It takes time to learn the platforms (and keep up with the constant changes), and to manage a social networking site effectively should take a min of 30 mins a day (per site). So, if you are managing Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, then you are already spending 1.5hrs a day on social media, without even looking at other platforms, blogging and email marketing.
If you want to meet your social media goals and objectives, then you will need to employ someone who has a wealth of experience in the online marketing sphere. They will need to invest time each day into the learning process, not just the “doing”. Whether you are outsourcing your social media, or you have a dedicated member of the team, then please ensure that they are investing time in learning and discovering new things. For example, we produce a weekly email, along with an educational video every week to our staff with “what is new in social media”. It is amazing how much you will miss if you do not keep up with the latest developments in the industry.
A social media agency will have seen the demise of MySpace and the rise of Instagram. They would have enjoyed the reach of Facebook a few years ago and now they know how to manipulate the algorithm and how to create Facebook adverts to achieve excellent results. An agency will have proven strategies and procedures that work.
An experienced consultant will know how many posts to send at optimised times, the best practice for the different platforms, and the best places to find content. They also have the flexibility to change strategies and processes as and when needed. For example, we have been implementing a strategy for blogging and guest blogging for the last three years. However, with recent Google changes, we have now changed.
Outsourcing your social media means that the job gets done, no matter what! If your account manager is sick or on holiday, then the agency will brief an alternative account manager to look after your account. This process should be seamless and you will not even notice the difference. We all know that the key to success online comes down to consistency. There is nothing worse than looking at a blog on a website and the last post was in 2014, or the last tweet was a month ago. Employing an agency keeps the content flowing, and in turn, this increases your search results on Google.
How much would it cost a business owner to employ a marketing consultant nowadays? Perhaps someone who has a marketing or digital media degree and has a good level of knowledge? £25k – £30k per annum? There are, of course, lots of benefits to having the right person internally managing your online marketing. However, there are so many aspects to hiring the right person that getting it wrong is very risky business. How do you know that they will be good at managing a Social Media campaign?
In all honesty, if you have the capacity, and you can dedicate someone internally, then this will always be your most effective scenario (if you have the right person). But what sort of person are you looking for? [Julia, puts on her recruitment hat!].
Ideally, you want someone who can spell, has good grammar, and understands the different languages and functionality of the platforms (ie: do they know about retweets, hashtags etc) – you can test your potential new recruit with these social media skills tests here. This person needs to be commercially aware (do they know about your industry and the business?). It’s great to have a marketing graduate, for example, but I find it is much more effective to have someone who actually understands the lingo and terminology of the industry that they will be producing content for, rather than understanding how social media works (social media can be taught afterward. You need someone who is a good communicator internally as they need to be able to ask questions and find out what is happening in the business. Are they confident enough to take photos of visitors, grab a video of that new machine that was just installed, or get everyone to sing happy birthday to a team member, whilst taking a Twitter Vine. This person needs to be confident.
If you do decide to outsource social media management, not only are you guaranteed a professional who knows the ins and outs of the industry, but it also costs a lot less than a full-time salary. Additionally, this professional will be supported by a whole team, so for less money, you get much more. To find out our costs for social media management.
Alternatively, you may want to consider outsourcing your social media to an established agency (we know a good one!).
Creating content online for your social media, email marketing, or blogs needs to reflect your brand and your company voice. Please be aware that an internal content creator may have tendencies to speak in company jargon or industry lingo which may not be the best approach. When writing online, we strongly advise using customer-focused language.
Agencies often implement a sign-off system to avoid such errors whether they be grammatical errors or off-message posts that do more harm than good. In most cases, the client of the company has full control.
Should you outsource your social media or recruit internally?
There is no right or wrong answer for this. We have seen many companies flourish when they have an internal person working the accounts, and they excel when the CEO or Managing Director has time to put into their own social media channels. They key is to ensure that you have someone that is passionate about the industry, is good at research, and has the intuition to smell a story when one crops up.
If you do decide to outsource, please remember that it is a partnership. You will be working alongside the agency to ensure that you are on track with your goals and objectives for the business. It is certainly not a “set it and forget it” situation. If you have the mindset of “I don’t need to worry as the agency is looking after my social media” – then you are doomed from the outset.