While social media was once more of a buzzword, today it has become an essential part of almost every business’s marketing strategy and plan.
Whether your consumers are young teens scrolling Tik Tok between classes, or 50+-year-old businesswomen only on LinkedIn to grow their network and scale their business, social media plays an essential role in how you interact with your target audience.
Although there are vast benefits of using social media to gain publicity, provide value, and connect with customers, many businesses shy away from utilizing it to its full potential.
Usually, this hesitancy is because of the time and energy required to be consistent in creating content and managing each platform.
But this isn’t an excuse!
Even if you don’t have the capacity to manage your social media accounts in-house, you should still be showing up on social media. At the bare minimum, that means posting semi-consistently on the 1-2 platforms your ideal clients frequent most.
And as your business grows it looks like showing up more frequently, potentially running ads, and getting more creative with how you connect with your audience.
Regardless of the level of support you require, there are a number of options for outsourcing social media management to relieve some of the burden from yourself or your team.
In order to ensure you select the right option for your current stage of business though, there are a few things you need to consider.
Below I’ve outlined a few items you need to think about, and some questions you should ask yourself before you hire social media support.
Alignment in values
Whenever you’re hiring support in your business, you need to ensure that your values are aligned.
Additions to your team should integrate seamlessly into the atmosphere and culture of your business in terms of work ethic, communication styles, and business goals. If there’s a disconnect, it can undermine the structure and flow of your company.
For example, if you value in-person meetings, it might be important to you to find local support rather than a remote freelancer.
If you have clear boundaries around the hours you do and don’t work, you need to ensure that the person or team you’re hiring respects those boundaries and won’t be emailing you expecting a response at all hours of the night and weekend.
Beyond alignment in work styles, there also needs to be an agreement in your approach to content creation.
- If you value honesty, will they prioritize ensuring everything they post on your behalf is accurate, or are they willing to bend the rules in the name of marketing and sales?
- If you value accessibility, will they ensure that your video content has captions or that they’re adding alt text to their images?
- If you value collaboration, will the person or team you hire respect that you’d like to be involved in the process of each post, or are they going to post content without your approval?
- If you value innovation, are they going to bring you new ideas and pitch new content concepts regularly?
- If you value diversity, will they be sure to source images and content from diverse sources?
Are you on the same page when it comes to the number of posts that will be created each week or month? What about the content approval process? Or the type of content being created?
All of these can be important considerations when bringing on a social media management team.
Scope of work
This idea of alignment blends in seamlessly into understanding roles and responsibilities when it comes to content creation.
You should be clear on any and all expectations that you have for this new person or team AND that they have for you.
There are countless elements of social media management:
- Creating content calendars or a posting schedule
- Graphic creation
- Taking images and video
- Photo and video editing
- Writing captions
- Creating and posting stories to Instagram and Facebook
- Physically scheduling and/or posting to the platform
- Interacting with comments
- Responding to direct messages
- Adding hashtags
- Proactively engaging with similar accounts
- Running ads
- Creating analytics reports and reviewing your account
What are you looking to outsource? What specifically do you need support with? Getting clear on this will help you to find appropriate support.
When you’re speaking with potential candidates, ask them to outline exactly what it is they will deliver for you each month, so you can ensure it’s in alignment with your needs.
You also need to determine what’s required from you for the contractor to do their job, so you can make sure you have the time and resources to provide this.
Otherwise, you’ll end up in a situation where you’re paying for a service that can’t be appropriately executed.
This brings us to the fact that you likely cannot hand off all aspects of social media management.
To some extent, you need to be involved in the content creation or planning process. Before you get overwhelmed though, this is a good thing!
Your social media is an extension of your business. It’s a way to connect with your community and sell your services.
In order to do that effectively though, the content you post needs to speak to your ideal client, and be in alignment with what you’re trying to sell.
The social media management support you hire needs to work with you to understand your business.
This will allow them to come up with relevant content ideas, effectively portray your brand voice while writing captions, and create a marketing plan that generates interest and conversions.
Especially at the beginning of your working relationship, this will likely require significant back-and-forth.
What you’re looking for from the social media contractor or company is a willingness to learn about you, your audience, and your offers.
- What is their content creation process like? Will you be able to see content before it’s posted?
- How far in advance are they planning content? Does this work for your team when it comes to planning out your launches and other marketing initiatives?
- Do they allow revisions and edits to content before it’s live?
- Will you have regular meetings to review content performance and plan future content?
As you move forward with this company or contractor, you may be able to pull back and be less involved (assuming this is what you want), as they become more familiar with your brand and perspective.
However, there should always be some level of involvement and interaction between you and whoever you choose to hire.
This will support you in creating the most effective content possible.
Tools, communication, and associated costs
There are a few other considerations to take into account when it comes to client involvement:
- What social media management tool will they be using? Is this something you’ll be expected to pay for? What are the costs? Do you have access to the account? Are you able to easily use the tool to review content?
- How will the contractor or company communicate with you? Are they willing to utilize the project management and/or communication software your business already has in place or will you need to learn a new platform?
While these may not be deal breakers, it can support you in seeing if you’re on the same page with the person you’re hiring.
It can also help you gauge the level of flexibility they have and their commitment to support and work with you.
Their experience, expertise and previous customer feedback
Like any hire you make, you want to ensure whoever you bring onto your team for social media management support has positive reviews and significant experience in the field.
- How long have they been managing social media in the way they would be managing yours?
- What types of businesses and what platforms do they have experience in?
- Do they have any testimonials?
- Can you see some examples of their social media content?
- Do they have the insight or knowledge to create content for your industry? Or will you be providing them with enough information that they can learn?
- Do they have examples of growth or conversions they’ve been able to achieve for other companies?
Not only is it important to ensure that the person or company you hire knows social media, but that they can apply what they know to a business of your size, in your industry.
Beyond their general proficiency with social media, and being able to execute on the creation of posts and captions, you also want to ensure the work they’re doing is effective.
Because there’s no point in creating social media content if it doesn’t advance your business goals.
Reports and suggestions
Changing algorithms and metrics mean ROI (return on investment) is becoming increasingly difficult to prove on social media.
However, there is always data that can be shared and reviewed.
The support you hire should be able to take relevant data and present it to you in a way that you can utilize to make changes to your content strategy moving forward.
So, have you clearly outlined your goals so that you can pass them along to this person or company?
Are they open and receptive to working with you and helping you achieve these goals? Or, do they believe in different metrics and measurements of success?
Do they know how to effectively craft stories and content in a way that propels your goals forward? Can they foster and build deeper relationships with your audience to increase conversions?
As you gather more data, will they support you in analyzing what’s working and what isn’t?
Based on these results, will they provide you with relevant suggestions and ideas so that your content can be tweaked in a way that will hopefully perform better?
Social media goes beyond the surface-level concept of posting – it’s about strategy and intentionality to drive business forward. Finding a contractor or company who can support you in that process is essential!
The contract, budget, and ongoing support
Social media platforms continue to evolve and change direction and what worked last year may not work today.
That’s why it’s so important to check on the parameters of your relationship with this potential contractor before you hand over the keys to your social media (so to speak).
- How long is the contract? Can it be canceled by either side? How much notice do you need to give?
- What do they charge? Again, check in on the deliverables they’re promising and ensure they’re clearly outlined. How often will you be invoiced?
- If you’re “paying to play” – how will ad budgets be determined? Will these costs be added to your invoice?
Social media, like any digital tool or marketing strategy, is a fluid process. It requires continual testing and tweaking, planning and action-taking, to find what works for you.
Ongoing support from someone well-versed in social media and marketing strategy is going to be key in helping you stay on top of all the latest social media platforms and trends, and focus on what works best for your business.
There is no one-size-fits-all
There is no one right answer when it comes to social media management.
While some businesses may thrive tackling their accounts in-house, many others find they have very little time to focus on social media marketing in an effective way.
Social media is about connection, sharing value, building community, and getting your marketing message and offerings out there.
It needs to be a consistent, strategic, ongoing effort.
If you’ve realized you need support in the form of a digital marketing agency that combines content creation, advertising, and strategy, check out our plans!
When you hire us, you’re hiring professionals who are committed to learning about your company so that we can engage your customers the right way.
We recognize that we’re an extension of your brand and staff, and you can count on us to communicate your message effectively and help you achieve your business goals.
Otherwise, we hope this post was effective in helping you determine the type of support you do want.