Social media has become one of the most important pieces in any business’ marketing and communications strategy. According to brandwatch.com, there are over 4 billion internet users, with over 75% of those users having social media accounts!
So it’s really no surprise that it’s a form of engagement worth investing in.
What may be less clear is how exactly you can manage a professional social media presence when you have small teams that may not have the time or the expertise to take on the task.
The time and expertise required to manage social media means that, for many small businesses, it’s a function worth outsourcing.
But how do you know whether to outsource or keep the task in-house? And what are the benefits of outsourcing social media beyond simply saving the time of other staff and reducing costs?
Read on to discover all you need to know.
Why Prioritize Social Media?
Social media should now be key to any business’ communications and marketing strategy. It has become a dominant form of communication in our lives. According to a recent Nielsen report, the average American spends around four hours a day on social media platforms.
Businesses have recognized the valuable role that social media can play in their communications strategies. Individuals communicate with their family, friends, and peers on social media. This makes it a source of word of mouth content when it comes to companies and brands.
According to another Nielsen study, 92 percent of consumers trust what their friends and family have to say about a product or brand, over what the company says about itself. As a result, social media engagement is one of the most valuable forms of communication available.
Therefore, it is no surprise that 73 percent of small businesses already invest in social media, and that 95 percent of small businesses are intending to increase their investment in social media, according to a 2019 survey.
Learn more about why social media mentions are so important in this article.
Why Some Small Businesses Fail At Social Media
Big businesses like the high street banks and popular fashion brands can invest in large social media teams. These can develop compelling content hourly and engage with user interactions in the moment. This kind of investment is beyond most small businesses, and also probably surplus, to what they really need.
But small businesses do need to be on social media. It is a valuable tool that can be exploited. But also, just because you aren’t on social media, doesn’t mean that people aren’t talking about you. You have no way of monitoring or influencing the story if you aren’t part of the conversation.
Many small businesses also choose to manage their own social media accounts. This is often because they believe that the resource requirements are relatively limited. Plus, who knows their business better than they do?
But managing your own social media only makes sense if:
- Someone on your team has the time to commit to it.
While popping up a post on a couple of social media platforms may only take a few minutes a day, managing social media content is time-consuming. As well as posting, you need to be monitoring posts and responding to any customer engagement.
A swift response can make the difference between converting a potential client into a customer, or leaving someone feeling like your business is unprofessional or unresponsive. This can be a 24 hour a day job.
- If you know what you are doing!
While anyone can make a post, can they post something that achieves the goals of the company and effectively engages target audiences using content appropriate to the platform?
Can they research competitors and take advantage of social media trends to give your company a boost?
Do they have time to develop their social media expertise?
Knowing how to use social media for personal purposes is not the same as knowing how to manage a brand account.
Responsibility for social media should never be given to a member of staff to do “off the side of the desk.” This generally means that it is done poorly or overlooked. If you are not willing to invest in social media as a genuine skill and responsibility in your in house team, it is worth considering outsourcing.
Benefits Of Outsourcing Social Media
While outsourcing social media might like a significant financial outlay, you are actually economizing as well as professionalizing. Here are four of the main benefits you can gain from outsourcing your social media management.
You Will Save Money
For most small businesses, social media management is not a full-time job, and may only require a few hours a day. But it does require specific expertise, which comes with a price-tag. As a result, creating a role with sufficient hours to attract desirable candidates can be expensive, and does not necessarily provide the best return on investment.
Outsourcing companies offer attractive roles for talented social media managers. They can get the hours that they need, and are able to work for a variety of different brands, which keeps their role challenging and interesting. The benefit to you is that you can get the few hours of social media activity that you need each week, but you can still get an expert. Plus you can save significantly on recruitment, and pass the burden of finding a social media expert to other social media experts.
In addition to this, your relationship with the social media outsourcing company is results based. This means that if you happen to get partnered with a social media manager whose voice or tone doesn’t work well for your business, you can asked to be switched to another social media manager, or even terminate your contract with the service. You aren’t burdened with deciding what to do with an employee who just isn’t the right fit for your company. .
Many small businesses simply don’t consider outsourcing due to the perceived costs. But a basic package, such as our $99 per month service for Facebook and one additional social media platform, is highly affordable and a significant upgrade from no social media, or poorly managed social media.
More comprehensive and bespoke services cost more, but are still significantly less than paying to even have a part-time expert on staff.
You Will Gain Expertise
If you outsource your social media, you might feel like you are missing out on having someone that knows everything about your business. But do you really need that? You already have that resource in house in the form of you and your staff.
What you need, and what you gain when you outsource, is a social media expert that fills a gap in your existing expertise. A good social media manager will try and learn as much about your company as possible, and stay informed. And they will reach out to you when they do require the specialist and specific knowledge that only you have.
Social media professionals know how to craft the kinds of stories and compelling content that work on various social media platforms. A professional social media manager will have access to tools that facilitate publishing content, monitoring activity, and analyzing results.
They will know how to conduct competitor research and see what works and doesn’t work in your industry. This enables them to properly position you in the market. As an expert, they will also know about social media trends, and how to take advantage of them to give you a boost.
Basically, a professional social media manager is working faster and smarter than you in an area that you may not understand. This gains your business expertise that it needs, rather than replicating expertise and knowledge that you already have.
You Can Work Strategically
Businesses generally know they should be on social media. They are less clear on why they should be on social media and, therefore, how best to use it. When you outsource your social media management, the first thing the management company will want to do is develop a strategy.
A good social media manager will look at who you want to talk to, including your target audience, what message you want them to receive, what action you want them to take, and what social media success will actually look like. This can help you decide how to best use social media to meet your goals.
This can inform exactly how important social media is to your communications strategy. Consequently, you can then determine how much time and money your business should be investing in it.
A clear social media strategy can also help you economize. Being on social media does not mean being on every platform. You do not need to be posting daily on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. A good social media manager can help you identify where your target audiences are most active. You can then focus your efforts and resources there.
You Can Measure Success
Whenever you invest in anything, you should know what you are getting in return. You don’t want to be investing time and money in anything that is not helping you meet the priorities of your business strategy, whether that be creating sales or raising awareness.
An experienced social media manager will know how to measure key metrics. Conversion rates can measure social media-driven sales. Learn more about social media conversion rates here. Sentiment analysis can measure the perception of your brand, and how social media may influence that. This helps you understand what your return on investment is for your social media expenditure.
An experienced social media manager can also gather data about your social media audience. This often reveals surprising information about who is engaging with your business and what appeals to them. This can help you and your managers to make informed and data-driven decisions. This can improve your business outcomes as a whole, far beyond just your social media activity.
Social media is more important than ever to small businesses wishing to implement an effective communications and marketing strategy. But for most small businesses, managing social media can be a challenge.
Core social media tasks such as posting require relatively little time. This can make it difficult to justify a dedicated member of staff. But the task also requires significant expertise, which often requires employing a dedicated member of staff.
For this reason, in the case of many small businesses, social media management is best outsourced. In this way, you gain the services of an expert at a rate much cheaper than having to employ a dedicated expert on staff.
You may be lucky enough to have a social media enthusiast on your team. If you are willing and able to free up their time, and they are happy to keep a light eye on social media activity while not working, great. If not, outsourcing can be the best solution for small businesses to achieve social media success.