What comes to mind when you hear the words “Social Media Marketing”? Do you think of a fun, interactive, useful and engaging marketing tool? Or rather a confusing, frustrating chore that has become a huge time-suck? If you chose the latter, you aren’t alone. Many small business owners (and even large business owners) feel similarly.


By now we all know how important it is to have a social media presence, and how it can improve your brand, both on and off-line. However, there’s no disputing that crafting a solid social media strategy, and then effectively implementing it, takes time. If you don’t have the time or resources to put towards such a commitment, the end results are usually sporadic, poorly-written sales-oriented messages. (Which doesn’t do much to help marketing efforts.)


Here are a few signs it may be time to hire a specialist.


You don’t have the in-house resources to dedicate to social media.

Social media a big job, but not always a full-time job. Small business accounts typically require anywhere from 6-21 hours of attention per week. These hours fluctuate based on the number of accounts, how much engagement you need, and the depth of your strategy. Adding it to a current employee’s workload would be a major addition in hours, yet it’s not enough hours to hire a dedicated social media resource. Outsourcing this role allows your accounts to get the time and attention they need to be a success. (It also ensures that you will never have a comment from a disgruntled customer sitting on your timeline unanswered all week.)


You aren’t getting the engagement you were hoping for.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Just because you have a Facebook page, does not mean you’ll get 100,000 likes in a week. Being present is not enough, you need to have great content too. Your content should be valuable enough that your customers will want to share it with their followers, otherwise it probably isn’t worth posting. When you keep social media internal the content can become stale, or you aren’t able to post at the right time in the right quantities. A great social media specialist will fine tune your strategy, and be able to get your engagement up in no time at all. (And if they think you could benefit from a little paid social media advertising, they can do that for you too.)


You feel like you don’t have a full grasp on how to use the platforms.

The social media landscape changes quickly, making it difficult for anyone other than a specialist to fully understand every last detail of how Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (and Pinterest, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+, Snapchat, Yelp, Tumblr, Vine, etc.) all work. It’s a social media specialist’s job to know how to best utilize each platform. They’ll be able to provide detailed insight about where your customers are hanging out online – narrowing down the decision of which platforms to be on, what types of content to post, and how often you should be posting.

When you decide to outsource, here’s one tip I cannot stress enough: Participate in the process! Passing off your accounts and then washing your hands of everything social media is not the way to go. You need to provide information and news about your business on a regular basis – otherwise, your social media managers will have very little idea about what your company is up to, making your messaging feel inauthentic. When you provide the necessary information, they are then able to guide your social strategy, and portray you in the best light to your customers. You may also find that when you aren’t focused on cranking out posts, you’re better able to assist with the creative and strategic process!

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