Staying active on social media could translate into your business’s success. It is said to lead to increased exposure, web traffic, and leads. However, there’s a catch.
Like all things in life, social media success doesn’t come easy. It takes time, effort, and commitment to truly harness the growth potential of social networks. And when you run a small-to-medium-sized enterprise, time is the scarcest of resources. In this situation, social media becomes a “side-job”.
So, to grow as a business, you have to prioritize social media. And for that, you may consider outsourcing social media. But again, there are a zillion things you have to think about before trusting someone else with your voice on the internet.
Stick around till the end as in this article, we discuss everything you must know and consider before you outsource your social media.
What is social media outsourcing?
Social media outsourcing means hiring outside support to handle your social media. It helps small business owners to delegate tasks to the experts and have more time to focus on growing their business. When social media professionals handle your social media, you have a higher chance of converting your social media followers into leads.
But is outsourcing right for you?
When should you outsource social media?
Social media outsourcing has its pros and cons, and they never weigh the same for every business.
Therefore, you have to analyze your situation independently to see if social media outsourcing would bear benefits or drawbacks for your business.
Here are a few things you should think about when deciding to outsource social media:
1- Are you getting the desired results?
Stepping into social media is the first thing many businesses do when starting their online journey. However, 25% of marketers are somewhat dissatisfied with the quality and volume of leads social media brings.
Does that mean social networks work differently for different people? No. Social media offers a level playing field for everyone. It depends on the marketers’ capability to use social networks correctly to see its growth benefits.
If you are among the people dissatisfied with your social media performance, you may have to consider outsourcing your social media.
The results which seem impossible to achieve when managing social media yourself and arrive swiftly when a professional is at work.
Here’s a case study to explain what we mean:
Egyptian Magic, a 100% natural skin balm was looking to drive brand awareness, so they outsourced their social media to a social media management agency.
The SMM agency researched Egyptian Magic’s target audience and created content that piqued their audiences’ interest. They drove giveaway campaigns and competitions to garner engagement from the targeted audience. As a result, they generated 15,000 additional social followers for the brand across four different platforms.Egyptian Magic experienced a 22% growth rate when they outsourced their social media. Therefore, outsourcing might be an excellent idea if you think your social results aren’t bringing you any closer to your goals.
2- Do you have the time?
Social media marketing and management is a full-time job. It needs to be your top priority if you want to see tangible results through it.
As a business owner, do you have the time to focus on social media? Mind you, dedicating a few hours out of your day to it might not suffice. Social media needs attention round the clock.
For example, a customer can reach out to you in the morning that you will have to reply to immediately since 79% of customers expect brands to respond within a day. A news outlet can mention your brand during lunch break, and you’ll have to see whether it is a positive or negative mention and act accordingly.
Your customers wait time on social is around four hours. But brands normally take 10+ hours to get back. This may not sit too well with your customers. So, to manage your social reputation and assist your customers effectively, you must be online at most times.
All-in-all, social media marketing is so much more than scheduling posts and letting the automated social media management tool take care of it. You have to perform research, create content that resonates with your audience, then track their metrics and whatnot.
That is why 36% of marketers admit to spending 11 hours/week. That’s over 2 hours per day of social media, spread throughout the day.
So, if you cannot take the time to give social media the attention it needs, you are better off letting someone else do it.
3- Can you be social?
Social media requires you to be social. That’s a no-brainer, right? Of course.
You need to talk to your audience in a way that resonates with them to keep them engaged. Social media content needs to be conversational with a hint of humor. And that’s not everyone’s ball game. As you can see from the example below.
While you can pick up a conversational tone with a bit of practice, humor comes naturally and does not look good when it’s forced.
So, if you cannot connect with your followers, converse with them, and simply be social in a way that your audience wants you to be, then let someone else do it for you.
4- Can you create social media content?
Social media content creation is the lifeblood of your social campaign.
Having said that, creating content just for the sake of it will get you nowhere. A whopping 90% of customers judge a brand based on the authenticity of its content. And while 92% of marketers are confident that their content is authentic, 51% of customers say less than 50% of these brands have authentic content.
Do you know what that means? Authentic content ideas do not come overnight. You have to chase after them, do your research, and invest all your creative efforts into developing authentic, valuable, original, and engaging content for your social media.
5- Can you afford to outsource?
If we lived in a perfect world, all the businesses would hire the best, top-rated social media companies to manage their accounts. But unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and “top-rated” social media management companies can cost you an arm and a leg, maybe even a kidney and lung.
The point is, outsourcing on social media costs money. With the pandemic causing severe financial damage to businesses, 71% of small business owners believe they might never be able to recover from the pandemic. In this case, you have to consider your option carefully and avoid options that can push you (further) towards bankruptcy.
Talking about options, let’s go ahead and see what options you have.
Social media outsourcing – your options
As a business, you have two options when it comes to outsourcing your social media. Let’s what these options are and discuss some of their pros and cons.
Option #1: Hiring a freelancer
Outsourcing your social media to a freelancer is, without a doubt, the least expensive of all the options. You can easily find freelance social media managers on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr and hire them after a bit of vetting.
However, these people could be located in a different continent and may not be able to grasp the norms of your culture and audience. This difference can reflect in your social posts and reduce their quality.
Even if you make sure to hire a person from your country, this person could be handling multiple social accounts simultaneously. And we all know that no one can get quality work out of an over-burdened professional.
Option #2: Hiring a social media agency
Hiring a social media agency is expensive. To put it into numbers, social media agencies can cost upward of a thousand dollars per month.
They do bring diverse skillsets to the table. But if you cannot loosen your purse strings to let go of thousand-plus bucks a month, you may want to avoid social media agencies.
Now that you know what options you have, let’s go ahead and discuss how to select the right resource for delegating your social tasks to.
How to outsource social media?
Outsourcing social media requires you to trust an outsider with your brand’s voice. So, it is of utmost importance that you do it after careful vetting.
Here are a few things you must do before selecting your social media resource:
1- Find someone you can trust
71% of consumers are likely to recommend a brand they have had a good experience with on social media. That means how you present yourself on social media can influence your lead generation, making your social representation a deciding factor between increased and decreased business.
So, you need to hire someone you can trust to take care of your social media in a way that offers your customers a pleasant experience and earns you more leads.
Additionally, your social media manager will be the face of your brand online. Whatever they do will reflect on your brand’s personality. Therefore, you have to be careful not to delegate the task to someone irresponsible and insensitive, so your social posts don’t end up looking like this:
With irresponsibility comes lack of research and with lack of research happens what happened with Delta airlines when they used Girraffe’s image to represent Ghana. Fun fact: there are no giraffes in Ghana.
Hiring a social media manager is not something you can do on a whim. You have to find someone you can trust your reputation with. So, before you select a social media service provider, make sure to cross-check their experience and reviews.
If it’s an agency, ask for a reference and check out their website for their previous work and testimonials.
Make sure to look for tangible results-driven out of their previous campaigns by looking at case studies and agency success stories. Only when an agency has driven results for someone else can you know they have to potential of doing it for you.
Finally, check out the agency’s own social media. If they don’t have a solid social presence themselves, how will they build it for you?
2- Find someone who can work with you
Nothing works without communication. So, you need to hire a social media resource that keeps you updated about every step they take and always keeps you in the loop.
49% of customers unfollow brands on social media due to poor customer service.
Outsourcing social media might mean you’ll have to take care of customer complaints yourself. So, you must look for an agency or an individual who can inform you as soon as a customer reaches out to them or there is a negative brand mention so that you can take quick action.
If the communication is delayed, the service is delayed, resulting in a loss in terms of reputation.
Communication doesn’t stop with brand mentions and customer complaints. It extends as far as reporting metrics. Make sure to hire someone who can frequently report the results they have driven out of their campaign so you can effectively track your ROI.
3- Find someone who can identify and drive the right KPIs
In continuation with what we said above, your social media resource should be easy to communicate with so you can share your social media goals with them and have them identify the right KPIs to drive results and bring your closer to your goals.
For example, your goal is to have more people know about your brand. So, your social media manager should be able to identify reach, impressions and number of followers as key parameters and develop a strategy to drive them.
Additionally, they must be able to report how their strategy has driven your KPIs for a better overview of your ROI.
4- Find someone who understands your brand
One of the biggest concerns when outsourcing social media is the uncertainty of whether the resource will be able to adapt to your industry culture and stay consistent with your brand’s tone.
Find a social media professional who understands your industry, its jargon, and culture and adapt their approach to your brand’s requirements.
You need someone who also understands your audience well. So that they can create content that speaks to the audience, resonates with them, and keeps them engaged.
For example, if you have a makeup brand, you will want to hire a person who understands how the makeup industry works, has experience in creating content for makeup enthusiasts or is willing to learn and adapt. Ideally, the right social media manager for your makeup brand is someone whose top skills include makeup and social media management and has a team with a diverse skillset to support their ideas.
5- Find someone who has the right skills
Last but definitely not least, hire a social media service provider with a diverse skillset.
You see, social media yields the best results when each of its tasks are managed by dedicated experts. Therefore, it requires a cocktail of skills. You need:
- An excellent social media copywriter
- A graphic designer and maybe even a photographer (no, you cannot cut it with stock photos)
- A researcher for audience analysis and research
- A front-man to reply to comments and messages
- A social media SEO expert
- Someone for content ideas and brainstorming
- And a person to represent the entire team and communicate with you.
You cannot expect a freelancer to be a writer, a designer, and everything else, all in one. Only an established social media agency can provide all of these resources cohesively and manage communication through one point of contact.
Here’s how established social media agencies drive results for their clients.
Clearon Bleach Tablets wanted to reach its target audience through social media. They hired a social media agency to drive these results for them.
Their agency developed a social media strategy to drive engagement, created compelling social content supported by stunning graphics and performed keyword research to engage their target audience.
As a result of leveraging diverse skills, the agency generated 1,000,000 impressions, drove a 430% increase in followers and a 112% increase in revenue. All of that in just 3 months with 6 contests.
See what happens when you hire an agency that can do it all?
Outsourcing social media is complicated and full of risks. Therefore, you have to tread carefully, assess your options, do independent and in-depth research, and consider key factors before deciding on a resource.
Before you hire an outside resource, make sure that you are confident that you need one. Secondly, check out the social media service provider’s testimonials, test their understanding of your business, and see if they have all the skills required for a successful campaign.
Finally, never penny-pinch when it comes to social media. Don’t go with the cheapest resource as they are most likely incapable or are overworked. Know that social media services are expensive. Consider your budget and pick your resource wisely.