Last year, 205 million people browsed products, compared prices, and bought merchandise at least once, and that number is expected to grow to 224 million by 2019.
Social media has become the new word of mouth allowing your brand’s message to spread quickly and by people who stand behind the product or service. It has and will continue to have a significant impact on business and marketing. It allows a company to interact and develop relationships with a specific audience, for significantly less money than more traditional marketing tactics.
Social media is a major piece of the marketing strategy and these days businesses are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. And several others are using a plethora of specialty platforms like Houzz to promote their business. It’s a lot of work, it’s time-consuming, and it’s not as easy to manage; especially when the boss wants to see results from the effort.
Depending on who you talk to, it can take anywhere between 8 to 30 hours per month just to manage one social platform, and do it well. Even adding just one or two can make time management a bit tricky.
Businesses that use social media typically handle the task in one of three ways:
- Internal staff member(s) managing accounts, sometimes with oversight from a manager
- Outsource to a dedicated social media or marketing firm
- A collaboration between internal staff and an outsourced firm
According to The CMO Survey, 20% of social media marketing is outsourced to agencies, but it doesn’t mean that is what is best for your organization.
So, how do you decide what works best for you and your business?
Before you jump the gun and decide to hire a marketing firm, pause, and take a look at your current situation. Here are several questions to ask yourself before you make a decision one way or the other:
- What social media platforms are you currently using?
- What is your goal with social media?
- Are you using all of them well or have you spread yourself too thin? (becomes ineffective)
- Is there someone, perhaps you, that works on your social media every week?
- Do you have a plan for creating content or curating it?
- Is there a process for how content is approved and scheduled on social media?
- What is your engagement strategy? Beyond just shouting information out there, have you created a plan for reaching out to individuals with questions or feedback?
- Is there someone in the company who has at least 3-4 hours available every week to focus on social media? Consider his or her workload first.
Yes, that was a lot of questions. But taking the time to think through your social media marketing is important, especially with the impact it makes on most businesses these days.
Aabaco Small Business reported, 64% of users on Twitter are more likely to buy products from brands they follow online, and 50% of customers have purchased items based on recommendations on social networks. After you’ve written out the answers to all of the questions above, what does your gut say? Do you want to keep it internal or has it become too much to handle and you just want it off your plate?
If you decide to hand off the work to a marketing or social media firm, then my recommendation is to stay in the conversation. Build a process that works well for you and your schedule, whether it is a weekly email or regular phone calls to check-in. Even though you’ve outsourced your social media, you or someone from your team will need to communicate regularly with your social media manager at the firm. You will need to make sure that your voice is still coming through and aligning with your business values, otherwise, you may end up alienating your audience.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure to think it through and ask yourself those questions. Then you can make an informed decision that works best for you and your business.
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