When and How to Outsource Social Media

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Many small businesses could benefit from a digital marketing strategy (including social media), but simply don’t have the time, patience or personnel to make it happen. Working with a freelancer or consultant is a great option, but when exactly should you outsource social media? And how do you go about it?

Does your business really need social media?

A successful social media strategy takes time and effort, so the first question you need to ask yourself is if your business actually needs a social media presence.

For example, if your target audience is not active on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) then creating accounts, managing pages and generating content might not be the best use of your time (or money).

But if you have a great story to tell, wonderful images to share and a target audience who is digitally-savvy and regularly engaging on social media, then you could definitely benefit from a social media strategy.

What are the benefits of social media?

Done properly, social media can:
• Increase brand awareness
• Generate leads
• Drive traffic to your website
• Fuel word of mouth
• Boost sales
• Develop brand loyalty

Further to this, social media allows for more personal interaction with potential customers; you can to talk directly to your audience, allowing you to tailor your products or services to meet their needs.

Even better, social media spend is easy to track. One of the biggest challenges for any marketer is proving return on investment (the dreaded ‘ROI’).

But social media tracking and analytics tools (like Google analytics or Hootsuite Impact) can measure website traffic generated from social media (likes, click-throughs and conversions) and paid social media ad campaigns across all platforms.

The cost of digital media is also significantly less than traditional media (consider the expense of TV, print and radio campaigns).

So, not only are you getting more bang for your buck, but you can track it to see what’s working, what’s not, where (which platforms) and how your customers are engaging with your brand. This is real-time marketing and it can be a very powerful tool.

When to outsource social media?

Of course, this all takes time. But, anything worth doing is worth doing well.

If you don’t have the time, know-how or mental energy for social media, why not outsource it to a social media consultant or digital marketing agency?

Not only will they have the experience to set up your online presence from scratch, but also keep your pages up to date, generate content and respond to comments, questions and queries quickly and efficiently.

What does a freelance social media manager do?

Once you’ve decided to outsource your social media, you need to determine exactly what you require from your new social media manager or team.

Essentially, they will be able to help you with pretty much everything, including:

• Setting up and designing each page (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc.)
• Developing relevant content and creating a content calendar
• Publishing stories (including images and videos)
• Overseeing all social media activity and engagements (answering questions and responding to complaints)
• Monitoring competitor activity
• Designing a strategy to generate leads and increase sales

How to outsource social media?

It’s normal to feel wary about outsourcing your social media.  No one knows your brand like you do. Depending on your needs though, there are two ways to outsource social media:

  1. Contract a social media expert to set up your pages, design an initial strategy and put tracking and analytics tools in place. They will be able to teach you the basics of social media – and get you on your way. Once you are confident, you will be responsible for all your posts, content and conversations (maintaining the voice of your brand).
  2. Entrust all your social media (from set-up to day-to-day activity) to a team of specialists.

Both routes require trust and confidence. You need to find a social media partner who has the expertise to create a solid strategy – and the skills and intuition to ‘speak’ for your brand. To find the right social media partner, look online.

LinkedIn is a great resource for professional recommendations and advice. Then have a look at the individual or agency’s website, note their tone and style. Look at their social media pages and decide if they would be a good fit for your business.

Most will be happy to chat about your exact needs and then develop a quote to meet your budget.

How much will it cost?

The first question that most small businesses will ask (and understandably so) is: How much will it cost to outsource social media?

While social media pages are free, it takes time to set them up – and a whole lot more time to keep them current and up to date.

Think of social media as an ongoing conversation, and to be successful it needs an ongoing commitment.

For this reason, most social media freelancers/agencies will charge an initial set-up fee (to get you up and running) and then a monthly retainer (anywhere from £150 upwards) based on how much you outsource to them.

The fee will include:

  • Daily posts
  • Community management (replying to comments and direct messages)
  • Monitoring your competitors
  • Managing paid ads
  • Tracking your ROI

An experienced social media manager will be able to assess your needs and tailor a package to meet your budget. So, if the question is when to outsource your social media, then the answer is now. Get started with a free trial today.

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