With so many social media platforms to consider using in your business and the time it takes to both develop and implement an effective social media strategy, it's no wonder that more and more businesses are looking to outsource social media!
Most business owners understand the benefits of an active social media presence. However, that requires the development of a strategy initially, and the implementation of that strategy can be easier said than done. It takes time to learn the best ways of using platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn (and keep up with the constant changes), and to manage a social networking site effectively means committing to spending around 30 minutes a day (per site). So, if you are managing Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, then you are already committing 1.5hrs a day to social media, and that's without even considering spending time on your blogging and email marketing activities.
What are the key reasons businesses outsource social media?
1. Lack Of Knowledge
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 choose to outsource social media, or you have a dedicated member of the team who is willing to take responsibility, it is important that you ensure that they are investing time in learning and discovering new things. For example, we produce a weekly email for our coaching club that fills them in on “what's new in social media”. It is amazing how much you will miss if you do not keep up with the latest developments in the digital marketing space.
2. Processes & Procedures
A social media agency will have seen the demise of MySpace and the rise of Instagram. (FYI – I was in a room of people earlier this year, most of who had no idea what MySpace was! I felt OLD!)
An agency would have enjoyed the reach of Facebook a few years ago and understand how best to manipulate algorithms and create organic content that works alongside the Facebook adverts they create for you, ultimately maximising on your results. In a nutshell, if you outsource social media to an agency, you can expect them to be working with proven strategies and procedures that work.
An experienced consultant will know how many posts to send at optimised times, best practice for different platforms, and the best places to find unbranded content. They will also have the flexibility to change strategies and processes as and when needed by understanding the trends and measuring your results.
3. Consistency is key
If you outsource social media – you guarantee consistency for your brand. If you are fully invested in making your social media presence work, then you have to make consistency a priority. 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, in theory, you may not even notice the difference!
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.
I have three questions for you to consider…
- How much would it cost your business to employ a marketing consultant or Digital marketing role?
- What is the value of the time you are currently spending on your social media activities at the moment?
- How much is/would a poor social media presence actually cost you in missed opportunities?
There are lots of benefits of having the right person internally managing your online marketing. However, there are so many aspects to hiring the right person – that getting it wrong can be a risky business.
In all honesty, if you have the right person in your business already, and they have the capacity to dedicate time to your online presence, this will always be your most effective solution. Even then, however, they will probably need a helping hand in terms of guiding them on the best strategies to use and ensuring their knowledge is up to date – see my previous points!
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.
If at this point you are thinking that it's worth looking into outsourcing your social media to an established agency, then I reckon I heard of one somewhere recently… (lol!) In the meantime, however, you could check out our social media marketing packages here! (Double Lol!)
(I know – no one actually types ‘Lol' anymore.)
5 – Content Creation
Creating social media content, email marketing copy, or even your blogs, can be daunting – your content needs to reflect your brand and your company voice. Internal content creators often have tendencies to use company jargon or use industry lingo, which isn't necessarily always the best approach. When you're writing for anything ‘online', it is essential that you are using customer-focused language.
Agencies often implement a sign-off process that allows these types of errors to be avoided and pick up any grammatical errors or off-message posts that might do more harm than good. In most cases, you, as the client, have full control.
Should you outsource social media or recruit internally?
I'm really sorry, but there isn't a right or wrong ‘one size fits all' answer for this. We have seen companies flourish and excel when their social media accounts have been managed internally. The key is to ensure that the person doing the work is passionate about both your brand and your industry, is good at research, and has the intuition and acumen of a born marketer or entrepreneur.
If you do decide to outsource social media, please remember that it is a partnership. If you're thinking “I don't need to worry as the agency is looking after my social media” – then you are doomed from the outset. You will certainly not be in a “set it and forget it” situation. Your agency will be working alongside you to ensure that you are on track with your business goals and objectives. That means that in order for you to see an ROI, you'll need to keep them informed on what those goals and objectives are – especially if and when they change!