Small to medium sized companies often struggle with this question. Should you hire a social media manager? Why or why not? When is the right time? Are there companies that should do it themselves rather than hire out?
Let’s explore these questions.
Realize There’ll Be a Disconnect
If you outsource your social media, there will be a disconnect between you and your audience. For example, a woman might come up to you at a conference and remark on an exchange the two of you had in your Facebook comments. If you tell her you weren’t the one who actually wrote that exchange, trust is instantly broken.
In many industries, customers don’t expect a direct connection to you. Nobody expects Southwest Airlines’ CEO to write their tweets. Yet in other industries, people do expect a direct connection. Know which kind of industry you’re in.
You’ll Need to Train Them
If you’re thinking you’ll save time by outsourcing your social media, think again. You’ll have to spend at least a couple months training them. Don’t expect to save time until month 3 or month 4.
You’ll need to train them on when to post, what statistics to track, how you want comments responded to and so on and so forth. They’ll have questions that you’ll need to answer. You’ll also need to track their hours, handle billings and invoices and generally do quite a lot of administrative work.
Most importantly, you need to teach them your voice and style. This is perhaps the hardest of all. Getting them to be able to write like you can take some serious trial and error. You’ll likely have to approve their status updates for a month or two before you can let them post directly.
It’ll Cost More Than You’d Think
Social media isn’t something you can outsource to an oversees firm. Cheap Indian or Filipino outsourcees aren’t going to cut it. You’ll either have to outsource to someone you know, or use a reputable first world country based firm.
Why? Though oversees firms can and do have employees with perfect English, they won’t have employees who can accurately portray subtle tones. They won’t be able to emulate your voice or represent your brand.
To hire a firm that really knows what they’re doing is going to cost a decent chunk of change.
Know How to Measure Success
Finally, no matter who you hire, make sure you have solid numbers that you can use to measure the effectiveness of your social media manager.
Are you getting more likes or followers each month? What’s the virality of your posts like? What percentage of posts get replies, comments and shares? How many average comments are you getting? What about click throughs to your website?
Pick one stat to be your primary stat, then 3-5 additional stats to monitor. Make sure your social media manager knows what stats you’re looking for.
All in all, hiring a social media manager can be a great decision. It can take a lot of weight off your shoulders and set a big part of your business on autopilot. Just make sure you know what kind of investment you’ll be putting in, both in time and money, before you get started.