I get it. As a small business owner, it's not like you have much free time. And it's so important that with the time you do have, you're spending it wisely, and on the stuff that matters. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs I have worked with have come to me and said "Ash, I just don't want to do the social media for my business, I'd rather hire someone to do it."
The truth is, there are many pitfalls in hiring someone outside of your company to manage your social media presence. Read these seven downfalls of outsourcing your social media marketing and what you can do instead.
1. A freelancer May not know your business, or your industry, like you do.
It would be like asking a college student who studied abroad in Germany for one semester to get up on stage and talk about how how Munich's economy has impacted the middle class. Sure, he could do it, but he probably isn't as knowledgeable as someone who grew up there. My point is, the chances that a freelancer has expertise in your particular vertical market is slim, and if she doesn't really know your customers, how can she effectively market to them?
2. They come with a Difference in Voice.
Your business forms a social identity and with that, a unique tone of voice, as you build its online presence, and consumers increasingly crave that - they want to see the face behind the logo. An outsider brings his own voice when communicating your message. Essentially, you're hiring someone else to tell your story. It may get the job done, but a disjointed, inauthentic message could result in a lack of customer engagement or loyalty.
3. Timing is everything.
There's a ton of data that show consumers want to see more of the unedited, "real you" and less of the "corporate you." For this reason alone, live broadcasting, real-time tools like Periscope have hit it big. If you've hired someone to post for you, I'd imagine you'd like to see the content before it's published. That process of creating and approving content can take hours or even days. Sharing photos live from inside your hair salon on a busy Saturday will resonate well with your Instagram audience who want to share in those every-day moments with you. Waiting to sign off on an edited post can lose its freshness - its "real-ness."
5. Consider their access to exclusive content.
Sure, the consultant you hire to post to your law firm's LinkedIn Page can find online publications like Law.com and the American Bar Association for relevant content within the legal market, but will they know about more exclusive communities? Your monthly subscription to National Jurist Magazine or your involvement in The Boston Lawyers Group can provide valuable information that will boost your social media presence - content your freelancer may not have access to.
6. You could end up paying a pretty penny.
Hiring an agency, freelancer or consultant means you're paying for their expertise, but without conducting some research first, you could pay a higher fee.
7. Social media skills are necessary today.
Having social media knowledge as part of your professional skill set is a huge advantage. Not only is it one of the top most in-demand skills amongst employers today, but it can help you be better at what you do. Why? Your familiarity with social allows you to access important information relevant to your business that isn't available on other, more traditional, media channels. Too, your ability to engage with your current and existing customer base is invaluable to your business growth. Further, being active on social shows you embrace, not hide from, technology and innovation.
What you should do instead...
If you are going to look outside of your organization, consider these options:
- A freelancer from Upwork, Guru or Freelancer who has a background in your field of work. Shop around by posting your project on one or more of these sites to compare costs.
- Search the local universities for a college intern pursuing a communications/marketing degree and spend time teaching them the intricacies of your business, your industry, and the personality you want to portray online.
- If you have to hire an outsider, consider a shorter-term contract and reassess after six months.
A better option is to tap someone who already works for you and knows your business and gauge their interest in taking over some of the social media initiatives a few hours a week. If this option is a fit, encourage them to get good at social media by using online resources by HubSpot and attending a conference or two.
Once you identify that person, sit down with them to discuss the primary marketing goals and exactly how you want your business' message to be conveyed.
are you Thinking about outsourcing your social media strategy? Why or Why not?
(Please leave your comments below).