With new social media networks sprouting like weeds, it can be tough to tend your own garden.
In a 2012 survey of 500 small businesses, Vertical Response Marketing found that a third of owners, proprietors, and CEOs want to spend less time on social media. Yet two thirds are spending more time online than they did the previous year, even though they struggle with the added workload.
As a result, many small-businesses owners are outsourcing the work to a marketing firm or consultant. Think you should do the same? Here are three questions to ask before handing over your social media efforts to a third party.
1. Does your staff have the time and expertise to effectively handle social media tasks?
It can take up to 32 hours a month for a midsize company to effectively manage just one social media platform, Forbes.com reports. Although small businesses are a bit more efficient, creating effective social media campaigns definitely requires a significant time investment.
Additionally, someone (you or your social media manager) needs to invest time in staying on top of the ever-changing social media world. If you aren’t posting regularly to your accounts, you may want to consider outsourcing the task, because your lackluster participation is most likely costing you potential customers and weakening your brand.
2. Will you recoup the costs of outsourcing in increased revenue?
If you’re handling social media marketing in-house, evaluate whether this is the best use of company resources. For example, if you’re relieved of your social media duties, what would you spend that time doing instead? Would you bring in new clients or increase customer retention by providing a higher level of service?
Calculate how much increased revenue your company could bring in by devoting social media time to other tasks, and compare the costs of keeping social media management in house with outsourcing the job.
3. Can you find the right person to manage your social media efforts?
Outsourcing your social media campaign isn’t the same as hiring a consultant to handle your IT needs or a landscape company to mow the grass. Because social media communicates your brand message in your voice directly to potential customers, it’s essential that your social media manager understands your mission and feels passionately about your company.
Keep in mind that the most effective social media campaigns are closely tied to a company’s larger marketing efforts, so outsourcing the entire thing often bears more fruit than handing off just the social media piece. Before hiring a firm or consultant to manage your social media accounts, make sure that they understand your industry, your customers, and your long- and short-term goals.