As millennials overtake boomers in terms of their purchasing power, sellers need to be aware of the shift in their collective buying habits. Millennials are much more responsive to personalized digital marketing than the more traditional, mass-market advertising of days gone by. They’re looking for businesses that interact with them on a more personal level and make them feel as though they’re always the most important customer.
Social media provides companies with the avenue to create and cultivate those personal connections. Not only is having a social presence expected, 73% of consumers reported that they were more likely to buy from a brand that responds to them on social media (source: HubSpot)
However, having a social media presence, and doing it well takes time and plenty of attention to detail. The question that remains, is how do you effectively manage your brand across (one or more) social media channel(s). Your options are to do it yourself, hire someone to do it internally, or outsource the work to a qualified marketing agency.
Why this much focus on social media?
Believe it or not, social media works for most businesses… if it’s done right. Social media can’t be just something you “do;” there’s a smart way to manage your social media efforts which involves planning, intent, creativity and even skill.
Managing your social media channels and communities can help you provide stronger customer service, build customer loyalty, learn more about your buyers, drive traffic to your website and even increase revenue.
Responsibilities of a Social Media Manager
If you’re considering investing the money to hire a someone to manage your social media, the best advice I can give you is spend a little extra for the right person, one with proven skill in marketing and communicating across social channels. This isn’t a job for an intern unless you already have someone managing social media on staff to train. Spending less money on this role is actually a greater risk to your business.
This role is every bit as important as a marketing manager role so the requirements are a bit more than “you must love social media.”
In addition to managing social profiles and channels, the biggest responsibilities include:
- Always be learning – ongoing learning and research to stay on top of industry trends, generating leads, engaging with influencers and how to best generate interest in content and offers
- Help create and support content and communications strategy
- Listen and engage in relevant social discussion, competitors, and/or industry – from existing customers, leads, and prospects, what’s changing on social networks and in the industry, and be able to react and respond accordingly
- Work alongside other marketers and content producers to help distribute content that educates and entertains our audience
- Drive consistent, relevant traffic and leads from social network presence
- Explore new ways to engage and new social networks to reach target buyers; communicate and present opportunities for growth, ideas and program status updates clearly and effectively
- And (one of the most important in my opinion) understand sensitivities when communicating in the social media space
To help get you started, here is an example of our social media manager job description. Feel free to take this, edit it, and make it your own.
Managing social media yourself
The biggest benefit to managing social media yourself is that all communications come directly from you, the business owner. Who better knows the tone that you want your business to convey than you? Every customer response will truly have a personal touch that cannot be replicated by another.
However, there are several downsides to choosing to manage social media yourself. One major reason is time – it takes time to manage a social media calendar and respond to individual responses online, and to do it well. As a business owner, it’s hard to make those tasks a priority over things like customer phone calls, sales, accounting, and staffing, especially when it’s hard to see the immediate impact of your actions.
However, the biggest challenge a business owner faces when choosing to tackle the social media beast alone is consistency. The only thing worse than not having a social media presence is having a sporadically updated one (and the latter, may in fact be much, much worse).
Are you the right one for the job?
It might be time to consider hiring a person or an agency if you’re already managing your social media responsibilities yourself but notice:
- Social media keeps getting pushed to the back burner
- Posts get published, but no one thinks about reading and sharing other posts (or responding)
- You’re already putting in 40-50 hours/week before even thinking about sending out a few tweets
- Not even sure how to use anything other than Facebook or Twitter
Hiring an in-house social media manager
The second option is to hire an employee to manage your social media. There are several benefits to hiring someone to manage your social media. First, employees have the unique advantage of being able to showcase the inner workings of your business in order to truly highlight your company culture. In addition, they’re also more readily able to adapt your content messaging to changing business needs.
Lower-salaried employees (like interns and recent graduates) may seem like a good, low-cost option for small businesses or those with salary constraints, however you need to consider that those types of hires will require a lot of handholding and training to get up and running, if you want it done right. Many business owners are also reluctant to entrust their reputations to someone who has never before worked in a professional environment.
On the flip side, hiring a more experienced social manager will allow you to sidestep those issues, but it will cost you, According to Glassdoor the average salary of a social media manager is over $47,000 – and obviously this fluctuates by location. In addition, you also have the headache of advertising the job, performing interviews, managing turnover, training, benefits, payroll taxes, etc.
The biggest drawback to hiring a social manager internally is the limitation of that individual’s bandwidth and their ability to keep up with ever-evolving social media trends and making sure the social media efforts continue to align with the rest of your marketing goals.
Technology changes almost daily and you want to stay on top of the trends in order to maximize their full potential for your brand. This is where hiring a professional marketing agency to manage your social media presence can really make you shine.
Outsourcing social media management
As a business owner, you can’t be expected to be an expert at every aspect of your business. Even if you consider yourself socially inclined, ask yourself if you have the time required to consistently maintain and network professionally across multiple social media accounts. By entrusting your social media marketing to a professional agency with the expertise to consistently curate and publish content, engage with customers and partners, listen and respond to keyword mentions, review analytics, and follow up on customer reviews and complaints, you’re allowing your business to really shine online while you continue to focus on the day-to-day operations.
One of the biggest advantages to outsourcing your social media marketing is cost. Many small business don’t have the budget for a full-time social manager, especially when you consider the cost of employee benefits, in addition to salary requirements.
An agency delivers professional results from highly-qualified social media experts for a fraction of the cost of hiring one. They’re in tune with the nuances of each social network and what content is relevant for each. And, they use the latest and greatest social media strategies to maximize the potential of your content.
Often, working with an agency for social media is best when done in conjunction with additional marketing strategies.
Regardless of which choice you make for managing your social media presence, no one will have the same passion and knowledge as you the business owner, but you simply can’t do it all.
Hiring an internal social media manager will eventually provide you with a valuable resource to tap into your unique company culture, but there are additional expenses that go with it.
Hiring a contractor or an agency will give you instant access to social media expertise, although it will take some time for them to become familiar with your brand.
You may ultimately discover that some combination of these options will be the best way to help you achieve your social media goals.
Consider your own skills, time availability, the skills available within your organization and your financial situation to help determine whether a hiring someone to manage social media is the right fit for your business.
If you think partnering with an agency fits with your business goals, give us a call and we’ll help you determine whether it’s the best move for your business.