A major question to consider when you are getting ready to get active on social media, is who will handle your accounts. In my experience there are only a few options:
- An employee – in house option
- A social media expert
- A marketing agency
- An intern, student or ‘kid’
The internet is full of opinions on who it should be, but it really comes down to the pros and cons and what works best for your company. This post will explore each of the options as unbiassedly as possible (I am a social media expert, after all). Let’s get started.
Can You Handle Your Social Media Accounts?
Every person is unique and it is very difficult to fully mirror someone else’s personality, so can someone else build relationships, send traffic to your website and represent you in social media? Yes and No.
Yes, someone can represent you because you can’t possibly be everywhere at all times, and social media experts understand how important it is to successfully mirror the image a company wants to present. Is that image you?
Or is it a friendly voice on the other end that has been trained extensively to understand social media, business, and the relationship building they are hired to do. What are you most interested in- being yourself, or getting results from using social media?
I realize it sounds extreme, I’m sure you definitely could be the person who brings in likes, entertains your followers, and encourages them to buy from you, several people already do it. Comedians, business owners, and others. The difference between you and them is whether you have the time to do it and whether you know how to do it (you can get social media training).
Unfortunately, many small business owners try to do it themselves and achieve, at best, mediocre social media success because they do not get training, and they use social media as a broadcast method instead of a way to connect with their fans.
Maybe you don’t believe me, but take a look at Facebook and Twitter, search for businesses, I promise you will find small businesses who have set up accounts and abandoned them, because it doesn’t work (so they say) or it wasn’t worth it.
On the same token you can also find a LOT of businesses that are making it work, so I have to conclude that it isn’t the marketing avenue of social media that doesn’t work, but that some people can’t make it work.
No one is YOU- no one can respond to everything exactly the same way you would, but maybe that isn’t best. Maybe you need someone that has experience making these connections, knows how to use the tools and can spend time implementing a strategy that will work.
Perhaps you have a short temper, or you just want people to visit your website (isn’t that what we all want?) so you only post links to your site, or maybe you just don’t understand the technology and you don’t want to learn how to make it work. In all of these cases and more, hiring someone else could be best for your company.
Benefits of You Being Your Own Social Media Manager:
- You know your business very well
- You are an authority in the industry
- Other than time, it is free
Drawbacks of You Handling Your Company’s Social Marketing:
- You may not know how to use social media very well
- You may not know how to connect with your followers
- You might not have the time to do it
- You don’t have the knowledge to take full advantage of social media
- You don’t have the time for the training
You Can Hire Someone In-House for to be Your Social Media Manager
With that covered, let’s discuss the options of hiring someone else. Here are the benefits of hiring an employee to do the work in-house:
- You get more control over what they do
- You can see your money working right in front of you
- You can brainstorm with them, and among the team in real life
- They are specialized to work with your industry and company
Drawbacks to hiring in-house:
- Cost for the experience they have
- You have to provide training, and social media is constantly changing, so continued learning opportunities as well
- Lack of expertise for the tools and platforms available
- Salary, benefits, health insurance, etc
- You have to know what to look for to make sure they have experience and know what they are doing
In-house social media summary- this is an expensive option, getting someone with a lot of experience means paying big money to get them, and keep them, then to pay for additional training and on going education can be pricey.
The benefit is that if they do have a lot of experience and are great at the job it can pay off in social media ROI, but you should be very picky in choosing someone to represent your company. Hiring someone in-house is always a big investment, consider all options.
Outsourcing to a Social Media Marketing Expert
Someone who has experience in marketing and using social media can almost certainly take care of your accounts, here are the pros and cons of hiring someone like us (Social Media Fuze) to be your social media manager:
- Expertise with each platform and tools
- They take care of their own continued education
- Very little work for you
- Up and running quickly
- They understand the relationship marketing
- Monthly reporting and consulting to understand results
- You have more time for other things
- Less expensive option
- Less immediate control – your level of involvement is up to you
- They must research and get to know your industry
- Followers do not get to know YOU but the voice you want representing your company
Summary- outsourcing to a real expert means you have a less hands on approach, while you trust an expert to bring you the results you want to see for your company. There is less of your personality across the accounts, but you are more than welcome to interact with followers as well.
Experts should continue to stay on top of social media changes (these happen ALL of the time) and participate in continuing their education of marketing, relationship building, etc.
A Marketing Agency for a Social Media Manager
If you are already working with a marketing agency, you no doubt trust them. There are several benefits to working with one because they have expertise in marketing, the one thing I caution here is to make sure they have experience with social media.
Social media marketing is still fairly new and many agencies do not have the experience, results and training to provide this service. They may however outsource social media to someone like us, in which case they still handle the bulk of your marketing and make sure your brand is consistent on all fronts, and that is beneficial.
Hiring a Social Media Intern or Marketing Student
A very common ad I see online is one for a social media intern. I cringe so much when I see this, for several reasons. My first thought is the company is trying to save money, and then I realize they probably don’t understand the value social media can bring to their company, or at least understand that not ‘just anyone’ can do social media. I tend to feel bad for these companies, because I don’t think their venture into social media will work out. This isn’t always the case, but it is very common.
- No experience
- Little to no marketing experience
- No successful background to pull ideas from
- No training in tools or platforms
- Little understanding of relationship marketing
- Expensive mistakes your company has to pay for
I realize everyone needs to start somewhere, but is your company the place for on the job training when it involves your brand and your public image? Social media interns should intern under social media experts, or at the very least in a marketing agency, though this doesn’t exactly mean they have a social expert to learn from either.
As I said above, it is still a new field, there is a big difference between a year of experience and no experience, between having successful results and just posting updates for a company.
There are a lot of ways to save money in your marketing budget or within your business, if you can’t afford a social media manager who has experience either by hiring them, outsourcing to them or signing a contract with a marketing agency, social may not be the best path for you.
Who Should You Hire?
The answer is going to depend for every company that reads this article. I hope I’ve presented as non-biased information as I could, and of course if you would like to talk more about it, please contact me, comment below, visit me on Facebook or Tweet about it. And before you hire anyone, check out social media prerequisites to learn everything you need to know before starting your social media campaigns.