As a business owner, you probably don’t have time to login to your 17 social media accounts and post every day. You keep feeling this guilt about “I know I should be on Facebook (or Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Yelp), I just don’t have time!” We know you’re sitting there reading this saying “Yep, that’s me!”

You’re smart to think about outsourcing things that aren’t central to the bottom line of your business. You have a lot of activities competing for your time as the manager or owner of your company. There’s a lot of debate over which activities should be outsourced (Human resources? Accounting? Payroll? Social media?). But only you know what’s best for your company.

If you do decide to outsource social media or even hire someone in-house, here are some pointers that can save you from a lot of regret (and wasted cash).

It seems like every 20-something has on their resume that they’re a social media marketing expert. How can you tell if they really know what they’re talking about?

1.     EDUCATE YOURSELF

The only way to put someone to the test is to know the language yourself. There is a difference between social media management and social media marketing! That’s one of the first things you need to ask a potential individual or agency you’re looking at hiring. They need to be able to expertly and clearly explain the difference to you. Social media management has to do with posting content on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Social media marketing is a type of online campaign where you can target ads to certain users based on all kinds of demographics! If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can blow through a lot of cash quickly because you’re paying for every click on each one of those ads.

2.     GET SOMEBODY W EXPERIENCE

Don’t hire your niece, brother, or sister-in-law. Your social media is the essence of your online presence! It’s your first impression. Trust us, you want someone who can tell you about a successful campaign they ran, in detail, with all the metrics and targeting in hand. Someone who really knows social media marketing can talk to you about how they optimized a campaign and what kind of click rates and response they got (and then prove it with a detailed report). Ideally, they’re a fantastic content writer/developer (not just copy and pasting links). EVERYTHING can be tracked so there’s no excuse for a real expert not to know!

3.     KNOW THE TIME INVOLVED- HIRE SOMEONE W TIME TO COMMIT

Social media management is typically not an hour a day project. It takes constant monitoring, updating, and research. Like anything, you will get out of it what you put into it. You need to take the time to make sure the person you hire can help you craft a strategy for each social vehicle, and that all activities will be cohesive in the look, tone, and message.

Ultimately, if they can’t explain it in a way that makes sense for you, they probably don’t know what they’re talking about. Ask the right questions and know what you want to accomplish through your social media presence and marketing.

Lead generation is possible (and super affordable) on Facebook and Twitter. You can grab quality traffic for pennies and send it to your website! Don’t settle for someone who is telling you they can get you hundreds of “Likes.” If it doesn’t add up to an action or an objective, it will be a waste of your time and money. 

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