Thinking of Outsourcing Social Media? 5 Questions to Help Make Up Your Mind
When it comes to social media presence, there’s a telling divide between businesses with over 1,000 employees and those with between 50-500. Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that 90% of larger businesses actively promote themselves on social media, whilst just 49% of smaller companies provide a link to social media pages from their website.
It’s easy to diagnose the problem here. Larger businesses are able to hand over their social media activity to specialist agencies who’ll keep them looking lively and engaging. Smaller companies are more likely to ask a member of the marketing team to keep the social media flag flying, without necessarily giving them adequate time to do a good job.
How Much Time Does a Business Need to Spend on Social Media?
There’s a range of answers to this, dependent on the return on investment you’re looking for from your social media. If you’re looking for brand awareness via just one social media platform, the minimum investment is around 6 hours per week. If you’re looking for more active engagement on a range of platforms you could expect to be spending 4-6 hours per day.
It’s unlikely that a small business would be able to invest that sort of time each day, however important social media might be to their marketing plan. So what are the option? Doing a half-hearted job isn’t going to bring you the returns you need. So would outsourcing social media work for your business?
Here are 5 questions that might help you make up your mind:
1. What Can I Ask Social Media Management To Do?
If it was just about putting up the odd message, you could probably manage that in house. But successful social media is about so much more. Here’s a checklist of what you can ask your social media management to take on for you:
- Social Media Strategy. Why are you doing it? What do you expect in return? How do you achieve it?
- Social Media Branding. Setting up profiles. Finding tone and voice. Consistent branding.
- Sharing and Commenting. Networking is critical to building a dynamic network.
- Engaging in Conversations. Finding relevant forums/groups and participating.
- Sharing/Tagging. Engaging with posts from company members and getting them noticed.
- Customer Engagement. Responding to customer posts, queries, comments, complaints.
2. Which Social Media Platforms You Should Be Using?
If you’re confused as to whether you should be posting on Pinterest or sharing on Instagram, social media outsourcing can help. Their teams will know all the platforms well, and once they get to know your business they’ll be able to advise you on which ones to engage with. Many businesses try to cover everything in the hope they’ll get a return on one of them. This approach leaves you frazzled and overstretched. Take advice from the experts instead.
3. Have You Got Any Content Marketing Materials to Share on Social Media?
Offering valuable resources to your followers, peers and customers is a great way to get into online conversations with people. If you already have white papers, e-books, checklists or blogs, your social media service will make sure they’re promoted across the appropriate platforms. If you don’t have anything like this, your outsourcing agency will offer to write material for you.
4. Do you Know What Your Social Media Targets Are?
When social media’s something you try to squeeze into moments you’ve got nothing else to do, there’s no time for strategy. In order to make the most of your investment, however, you need to set some targets at the very least. How many ‘shares’ of your content do you want each week? How many new followers? How many new conversations? Once the targets are set, your social media outsourcing agency will know how to go about making it happen.
5. What Do You Want to Get Out of Your Social Media Investment?
This question underpins the previous 4 questions really. If you don’t know how to answer it, it’s a conversation you should have with a social media outsourcing agency before you do anything else. They’ll be able to advise you on the kinds of social media models that would work well for your business. It could be that you use Facebook for customer queries, or LinkedIn to position your business using thought leadership pieces. Getting clarity keeps your input focused and productive.