Social media: Should I do it myself, or outsource?
I have several social media pages for my business, and it's quite a lot of work to maintain. Should I hire a social media expert to improve or maintain them, or should I just work on them myself? What are the pros and cons to hiring a social media expert? My main concern is that a freelancer I hire may not get as good of a grasp of the ins and outs of my industry and what makes my particular business unique. What are your thoughts?
There are two key things to remember about social media. 1) Social media is a dialogue/conversation that is ongoing - it is a direct interaction with your customers, associates, and community. 2) Social media does not require that you be in all avenues/portals--meaning, u can have a FB page and Twitter, Instagram, etc. and not be on Pinterest, or Yelp, etc... ONLY be on social media portals if that is where it makes sense for your business to be and where your customers are! Understanding those key points should help with your focus, understandings of how/when to engage on social media. Second to those are your level of expertise to actual perform the duties and realize the benefits...if you aren't comfortable with it, don't truly understand all the keyword/hashtag/connectivity to grow your business/customer base, and find that it is taking too much of your time, you can determine if you truly need a social media pro. Use your energies where they will be most effective and let a sm professional take the reins for your sm program.
I hope this helps--good luck!!
Managing social profiles oneself is well and good, if you have sufficient time to sit back and post your updates, responses. When there are several pages to go, it'd be hard enough for you to make a quicker and active response, and the time frame remains surplus. Hopefully, the best option is to hire a social media manager.
Hiring a social media expert indeed does the same of what you do, but still they keep updating the happenings in and across the platforms, and makes it higher with the engagement, researches, marketing, etc. Knowing that social media pays the dividends to any sort of business, experts do understand how to make posts, how to increase the engagement, what could be done.. and what not?
Certainly, you could get along with what you want on hiring experts.
One more consideration is Legal:
The statements on social media can be used against a business when it serves the opponent. Depending on the nature of your business and the high legal risk areas of the business, there may be a subset of the social media material that needs some filter for those legal risk areas. That subset may or may not need a lawyer to review but should have someone with a particular training in the risk area.
It is a very good question. When it comes to Social Media and managing it, it can become a full time job. Because you are the knowledge expert of your business, you know your market and competition at first it appears that self-management might be the way to go.
Outsourcing Social Media management, can save you time, but you need to find the expert that understands your business and the vision of how you want to manage it.
My advice is start talking to people and ask them to see a portfolio of their work. The idea you want to make sure, if you hire that person they are going to deliver the most for your investment.
Zack, with the great answers you've gotten you can see what's the best and worst thing that could happen with either decision. I think the recent American Apparel event is an example of exacerbating the problem while trying to recover from a social media issue.
On July 3, "stylized" artwork based off the infamous picture of the 1986 explosion of the American space shuttle Challenger was posted on American Apparel's TUMBLR with #clouds and #smoke hashtags.
Within hours, American Apparel removed it and apologized on TWITTER claiming it was insensitivity of on an "international" employee born after 1986. That, in turn, opened them up to further criticism on several fronts:
1) Why does American Apparel have non-American employees? More relevant than their name is their own emphasis on "Made in USA".
2) Why were the reins of their social media accounts in the hands of someone so clueless?
3) Why sprout an excuse as weak as "it happened before they were born and in another country"?
https://twitter.com/americanapparel/status/484834097051598848/ apology tweet
http://goo.gl/I3Vv19 a MediaBistro story with more details of the incident.
I get this question all the time. As someone with a background in social media in a corporate setting, outsourcing your social media to someone else could mean doomsday for your business. That being said, a lot of business owners I know don't have an interest in managing their social media profiles and want to focus their time on other aspects of the business. The bottom line, you should not outsource UNLESS the person taking over your social media strategy 1) really knows what they are doing and (just as importantly) 2) knows your industry and your business inside and out. They need to know the lingo and the current events that fall under your business niche so they can properly align your content strategy with what is being discussed online. I recently wrote a blog post about why you shouldn't outsource your social media if you're interested. Great question and a question I get a lot! 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Outsource Your Social Media & What To Do Instead: http://buff.ly/1T2sRRt
It depends on the type of business in question. If your work is very personal, people will use social media to find out about you - deciding whether you're the kind of person in whom they can place their trust.
There are programs such as Hootsuite that can help you coordinate your efforts. Others, like MailChimp incorporate feeds into their program so that your newsletter also gets posted to your networks upon publication to your subscribers. This can streamline your efforts, making less work for you.
One way to reach out to your public that takes less time and effort involves looking for articles relevant to your clients, and hitting all the social media buttons that come with the articles, so that your people get that information. Not all of it has to come directly from you!
If you are going to go with an expert, take the time to interview them, and look at their work for other clients. How well do they grasp that individual's personality and offerings? I've stopped reading emails from service providers I respect, simply because their email headings were disingenuous and clearly written to be provocative rather than engaging and caring.
The one primary factor that will answer your question is defining how much your time is worth to you. Time is finite whereas money is not.
If you feel your time would be well spent doing it then do it, if not, don't. Only you can really answer the question. Good luck with it.
Use a social media expert or marketing company to give advice and audit what you are doing. They can often help with some of the admin style tasks.
However for many businesses the message given by social media is strategic and should form part of your core sales or customer facing work, so in-house may be better.
The real question is are you putting in the correct amount of work? If it is useful then investing in this work is worthwhile. If not you need to reduce what you are doing or do more efficiently.
Hi Zach ~ This question is asked all the time by many of my clients! My question back to them is "would you pull your own teeth or operate on yourself"? Sounds funny but true! When outsourcing your Social Media profile to a professional you must research their experience and professionalism.
If you do your selection carefully, interview them as if you were going to hire them as an employee, ask for references it will work.
The one question you did not ask, "how much should you budget for"? That will be a longer conversation which I am happy to have off line if you are interested.