With every other Instagram star being a social media guru these days, it’s common for businesses to ask themselves whether they should look into outsourcing their social media efforts.
The day-to-day tasks of running a business are generally enough for the average CEO, causing social media marketing to fall short on the priority calendar.
Social media marketing is its own beast and requires a special attention and level of creativity. Frankly, it isn’t for everyone.
If you’re going back and forth on whether to outsource your social media marketing, ask yourself the following questions first.
1. How Much Time Do I Have to Devote to Managing Social Media?
Time is the biggest reason businesses look to outsourcing their social media.
Social media isn’t just about scheduling posts.
You actually have to invest time in:
- Tracking your brand mentions on social media.
- Monitoring the conversations that are happening.
- Trying new growth hack methods.
- Responding immediately to any inquiries.
All of this needs to happen 24/7, too.
To say social media management can be done by setting aside 1-2 hours a week is really quite hilarious.
The time you invest in managing your brand’s social pages and image can’t be categorized into a lump one or few hour time period. It is something that requires constant attention and generally in small intervals.
This is especially true for brands that have large followings and receive question after question through their social pages.
For those smaller to medium-sized businesses who argue, “Well, I don’t have tons of followers, so I just post and I’m good,” I hate to break it to you, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If anything, the brands that have smaller followings have even more work cut out for them as they try to grow their followers organically and through paid methods. Talk about overtime.
There are tons of excellent growth hacking methods to get your follower count as high as Nike, but to execute those methods it takes lots and lots of time and energy.
Social media isn’t a one and done type of strategy. You need to continually be optimizing your followers and be social online.
2. Do I Know How to Be Social Online?
Social media isn’t an excuse to hide behind a computer and not actually talk to anyone. You still need to talk to your followers.
There’s truly an art to being a social butterfly online, and not everyone has the knack. Let’s be honest with ourselves.
If you just really don’t have the energy, creativity, or will to be a virtual social butterfly, don’t be.
If you have the time, there are tons of resources to teach you how to connect with people virtually and become this type of butterfly for your brand.
Maybe you do have the time and want to learn how to connect with your demographic socially, go for it!
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you though is to know your audience.
If your audience is just as introverted as you are they’ll most likely continue that introverting in how they communicate online.
Instead of being on flashy social media pages like Instagram or Snapchat they may be hiding in forums or casually browsing Pinterest.
Wherever they may be mimic your customer, go where they are, talk like they talk, create content they’re comfortable with. Don’t be an extrovert in an introverts world.
If the idea of this is making you cringe, it would be best for you to outsource your social media to an agency who has done work for another business within your industry.
This is someone who knows how to talk to be a virtual social butterfly to your audience.
3. Have I Established My Brand Voice? If So, How Unique Is It?
Brand voice is everything on social media.
Again, know your audience but also know your brand before you even try to connect with your audience.
- Are your posts funny and sarcastic?
- Do they only have calls to action and demands?
- Are you capitalizing on every big news story?
- Or are you more of a DIY mom who has a 10-year old blog?
All of those voices are entirely different. Though most agencies will, not all agencies are great at mimicking your brand voice.
The first step here is to get your brand voice down. Once you have it, never lose it!
Then, document everything you possibly can about this voice.
- What words should this voice use?
- Which ones should it avoid at all costs and never ever ever ever use?
- Who are other companies who have a similar brand voice?
The more you document, the more you’ll see if this is something you can trust in another brands hands to help manage for you or if you should hold onto this baby yourself.
After all, you’re the one who created it.
- If you have a well-documented brand voice, a good social media agency will be able to send you example copies for your approval until you feel at ease that they get it.
- If you’re still trying to find your brand voice and are at the beginning stages of this strategy, now isn’t exactly the best time to outsource your social media management.
- If you’re going to outsource anything, hire a social media consultant to help define your brand voice for social media and then take it from there.
4. Do I Have Content or Do I Need Content?
One way to do social media is to be completely hands off and let a social media agency do all of the work for you, which can even include creating the content to share.
If you have your own content to share, I’m not saying it’s a deal breaker and you should just suck it up and manage social media yourself.
What I’m saying is that if you’re struggling to figure out which type of content to produce, or if you should reshare that ebook from three years ago, it’s worth outsourcing your content production to a professional.
This professional is going to need a good debrief about your business, how and why it operates, who it’s ideal and actual customers are, and what kind of content materials you already have.
From there, outsourcing content may be the best move for your business.
You can still manage the social media in-house, but without the worries of trying to figure out what kind of content your followers actually want to see.
5. Can I Afford to Outsource?
Social media agencies, independent contractors, and content creators all come at entirely different price ranges.
Sometimes, their price ranges are less expensive than your in-house social media manager. Other times not so much.
Outsourcing social media could cost anywhere from $500 to tens of thousands of dollars a month, all depending upon the following factors:
- What kind of outsourcing: Freelance (least expensive), agency (middle), or enterprise (highest)
- What the monthly deliverables are: More posts and content creation = higher price
- How long the contract length is: Longer contracts = price cuts
- Social media tool subscriptions: Sometimes agencies require you to have your own account
- Social media advertising: Because organic is no longer good enough
Let’s not forget about the time it takes for you to email back and forth, edit, approve and review reports.
Here’s a look at everything that comes with in-house costs of social media management:
- Employees (salary, benefits, etc.).
- Social media tool subscriptions.
- Content creation.
- Social media advertising.
- Strategy development and measurement (time and tools).
If you go the freelancer route, you’re certainly saving money on those benefit coverages, but it may not always be the right path. You’re still looking at investing:
- Your management time.
- Your communication time.
- Content creation.
- Social media advertising.
6. What Should I Do?
So, which one is right for you?
It depends on tons of different goals and factors, most which we hashed out above.
To put it simply, if you’re already head over heels with to-do lists and the idea of carving out extra time to do another task is making your other eye twitch, do yourself a favor and outsource. It will be the least time-invested resource.
Though, don’t forget, it will still require a bit of your time and movement in your budget.
- Freelance = Lots of communication, editing, approvals, and then double-checking ROI.
- Agency = A bit of time initially and then mostly hands-off.
- Enterprise = Read our monthly reports and go “Oh” and “Ah.”
If you have the time, budget, and experience to create an in-house team or become one, then do so.
Managing your brand’s social media presence in-house has far more pros than cons.
More Social Media Resources:
- 6 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Audience Research
- How to Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing Efforts
- 12 Steps for Conducting a Successful Social Media Audit