Just about every business has a place on the social sphere. Whether it's a retail business on Pinterest or a night spot on Twitter - there is something for everyone. Handling social marketing to promote those businesses on that platform is something else. Most business owners try and slack off because of lack of time. Some just have no clue where to start. That's why I get asked this a lot, "Why should I hire someone to handle my social marketing and where should I look?"
For businesses today, you need to have someone experienced handling your social marketing. Things change so fast and often without notice, it's hard for business owners to keep up. I'm going to cut right to it. Here are four reasons you should hire someone...
- This is one person who is dedicated to expanding your brand online.
- Your SMM (social marketing manager) will be the one who seeks out new followers and fans. They market you online to their network and friends. Your SMM will be your business' cheerleader.
- You will have someone to respond and engage with your customers/clients for you.
- Around 85-90% of posts on business' Facebook pages are not responded to. Your SMM will respond to each post, tweet or Google+ share. People want to be acknowledged. With a SMM, they will be and a relationship will be built. Social media is called SOCIAL media, right?
- They take the think-work over for you.
- Ahh, they work so you don't have to think! SMMs create exciting content that prompts response. With some direction from the business owner or not, they will shoulder the majority the work for you. I see it as a partnership, so do expect to participate in some manner.
and most importantly...
- They free up your time to do what you love to do - run your business!
- What business owner wouldn't want more time to help run their business? With a SMM, they do exactly that. You won't get stuck on Pinterest for 3 hours looking at home decor or recipes (oh come, you know you do!) while you're supposed to be entering yesterday's sales!
Sounds good, doesn't it? The internet is crawling with social marketing professionals, but I suggest you do your homework first. Look for someone with experience and has a good following on all the social platforms. When investing money in this, you want to make sure they are qualified and are reputable. Your business depends on it.
Okay, so where do find someone? Here are my suggested steps:
1. Start with LinkedIn.
Search various related keywords such as "social media strategist", "social media consultant" or "social media manager". It will pull a list of professionals in those fields. You can tailor it to your geographic area or it can be worldwide. LinkedIn gives you a great way to look at each person or company. You can see their work experience, their social media links and recommendations. After finding a candidate on LinkedIn, check out their other profiles - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+. You want someone who is practicing what they preach. This is key. There are a lot of fakes out there claiming to be experts. Don't fall for it.
2. Look at all of their profiles...carefully.
I just said there are fakes out there. Take a look at all of their social profiles. Are they claiming to be an expert, yet only have 25 Twitter followers? Do they say they are the leading thought-leader yet only have a single blog post to show for it? Make sure they are walking the talk. If they give you some bullcrap about how they put their clients first and don't have time for their own business, call them out on it! THEIR business is their first client. If they can't take care of themselves, how do you think they will take care of you!?!
3. Once you have someone you are interested in working with, schedule a time to talk.
You want to get to know the person you chose. They need to get to know you and your business so they can accurately represent you and your business. You want your social marketing manager to understand the tone of the business. Do you take a more humorous approach? Maybe you are quite serious. If you are a medical business, your social marketing (or media) manager needs to understand how HIPAA plays in to it.
If you do not have any social media profiles set up, you and your prospective manager can go over where you need to be and how often you need to post.
Some things to consider:
- Where are your customers - do they tweet? mainly hang out on Facebook?
- What are some peak times to post - is your market on at night? lunchtime?
- How much guidance are you going to give your social media manager? Will you give him/her a list of specials or promotions? Links to websites to pull information from?
4. Make sure everything is put on the table and be open-minded!
You will want transparency in this relationship. Tell him/her your expectations, goals and ideas. Be open to ideas they may come up with. Sometimes the most successful promotions are those that are outside of the box. Tell him/her you expect honesty from them - if something isn't working, have them tell you. Occasionally you may have to switch strategies until you find the one that works.
If I have left something out, please add it in the comment section! I'd love to get your feedback.