Big brands have the luxury of delegating their social media activity to specialist agencies, leaving them free to concentrate on the important business of growing that bottom line. But outsourcing social media needn’t be exclusive to the big boys.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can enjoy the same benefits, albeit on a smaller scale. Using an external agency or freelance marketing consultant as your social media manager will free up crucial hours every week. Time you can use to focus on the operational side of growing your business.
If you’re an SME looking to increase exposure and drive traffic to your website or premises, here are a few things you need to know about working with an external social media manager.
Why outsource social media management?
There are literally billions of people worldwide using social media on a regular basis. Its benefits as a marketing tool are indisputable.
Businesses who take advantage of this can interact with and attract new customers if they are active and take part in social conversations.
In general (and within reason), the more regularly you can post to your social media channels, the higher engagement and ROI you’ll see. This could mean dedicating around an hour each day to monitoring your social channels, posting relevant content, participating in conversations and growing your following in the process.
According to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 64 per cent of marketing teams report spending six or more hours each week on social media.
For a small business owner who is already spending most of their time on business development and operations, finding spare hours to strategise and dedicate to social media can be difficult.
That’s why outsourcing your social media management to a knowledgeable third-party is so important – it can take one key business-building task off your plate.
What can you outsource to a social media manager?
Social media is more than just posting a few messages to Twitter and Facebook when you happen to feel like it.
Here are a few tasks an external social media manager could take care of above and beyond simply posting messages:
- Social media strategy – including posting frequency, types of content, keyword research, influencer research etc;
- Set-up and branding of new or existing social profiles – consistent branding and voice across all your channels is crucial;
- Sharing and commenting on third-party posts that are relevant to your brand;
- Engaging in conversations with other users – be it existing or potential customers;
- Social media monitoring – keeping an eye out for mentions of your company and interacting with those posts;
- Social customer service – responding to questions or complaints from users;
- Following relevant industry influencers or potential business customers/clients;
- Content marketing – helping to develop your own original images, memes, articles, blogs and resources that can be promoted on social media;
- Newsletter marketing – a round-up of your company news and most popular social posts and interactions.
A good freelancer or agency can learn (or already knows) your industry or niche and help manage your social and online marketing channels. This will help you attract the right kind of followers who could be potential customers or partners for your business.
How do you get started with a social media manager?
First you need to want to grow your business. If you’ve read this far, chances are we can check this one off.
Whether you already have a few social media profiles, or are just starting out, gather a list of all your online profiles (including log-in information).
When you find an agency or freelance social media manager you want to work with, they’ll review your social profiles and recommend a strategy to improve your following and engagement rate.
You may discuss some or all of the following:
- What is the profile of your ideal customer?
- Do you have any existing keyword research or SEO research done for your business?
- What platforms do you think your customers frequent?
- What’s your budget for social media?
- Do you have any internal resources or budget to produce graphics, e-books, whitepapers, guides or other content marketing materials that can be promoted on social media?
- Do you have a list of customer email addresses?
Your social media manager will probably suggest focusing on a couple of social platforms at first. You don’t need to participate in all of them right away (that’s just impossible for many small businesses).
Once you pick a few of the most important ones for your niche, you’ll need to consult your budget and, with your social media manager, decide on the following goals for each platform:
- How many original content posts do you want each week? (content promoting your business, or sharing a DIY or tip);
- How many curated content posts/shares do you want each week? (content that you re-post or share from relevant third-party sources);
- How many replies or comments do you want to do each week? (commenting on another post, answering a question posed by another user, seeking out users and starting conversations with them);
- How many new users do you want to follow each week? (searching using keywords and/or geo-filters to find people who might be interested in your niche or company);
- How many new followers do you hope to earn each week? (set a realistic goal for how many new, targeted users you want to gain each week/month).
Of course, when working with any external business consultant you’ll need to keep them apprised of your business happenings so they can respond and plan social media accordingly. This might include:
- New or discontinued products and services;
- Changes to company address or hours;
- Special promotions or contests;
- News about important new hires or team members;
- Recalls or potential negative press you’ve received;
- Links to articles, blogs or places where your company is profiled;
- Events or conferences you may be attending.
Where do I find a social media manager?
There are many places you can find social media managers. You can reach out to your personal business connections for referrals, or join local business groups to see if they recommend any freelancers or agencies.
Search social networks like LinkedIn or Twitter for people who are promoting their social media services, and Google phrases like ‘Social Media agencies [your locality]’ or ‘Online marketing consultant [your locality]’.
The 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report we referenced earlier found that 88 per cent of respondents saw an increased exposure from using social media, 78 per cent reported increased website traffic and 69 per cent saw an increase in customer loyalty.
They also found that 91 per cent of businesses indicated that six or more hours a week produced the greatest exposure for their business.
Your small business could see similar successes by employing a contractor or agency who specialises in online content and social media marketing. Rely on this external resource to manage your online social presence while you focus on the operational and sales side of your business.