Everywhere a business turns there are articles about how social media is the marketing meal ticket. They tell you which social media sites to be on, how to build your following, what to post, when to post, how to act, how to handle complaints, how to convert leads, how to monitor changes, and how much time you need to spend interacting. Have you seen articles like that? Do they make your head spin? I’ll tell you a few things those articles don’t tell you.
First of all, all of those articles are written by “tech nerds” who regularly visit all of the mentioned platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest, etc.) as part of their job. Instead of reading the local paper, the New York Times, and USA Today like “normal folks”…the first thing they do is read 20 tech blogs with their morning coffee. This is all to say, the average business owner will not be nearly as efficient implementing the suggestions these articles give as the authors.
Our next nuance is that the authors of these blogs and articles don’t understand that you as a small business owner don’t know social media, and you don’t have time for social media, so your natural second step is to assign that duty to an employee you think “gets it.” In come all of the agencies selling “social media workshops,” “social media training,” “social media certificates,” and so on. Do some of these have value? Absolutely! So, let’s say you really want to nail it. You buy in to social media and its power. You decide you are going to train three employees to create, implement, monitor, and manage your businesses social media. If those three employees spend half their work day on social media, their combined time equals 60 hours of social media coverage. Now let me ask you this, what happens to your social media the 108 hours per week when no one is monitoring it? What happens if one of those three employees gets sick, takes a vacation, or finds a new job? These are important factors when you are looking at investing in social media.
The third often overlooked and almost never mentioned piece of social media for small business is this; social media is continuously evolving. Every day there are new rules implemented for nearly every social media platform. Ranking algorithms get tweaked, third party tool compatibility changes, and new platforms emerge. Social media changes so consistently and so often that 90% of the training out there is outdated by the time you send your employees to attend. To stay on track with what is changing requires that they read the aforementioned “20 tech blogs with their morning coffee.” Are your employees going to do that? Better yet are you going to PAY your employees to do that? We all know the answer to that.
I know what you’re thinking right now. You are wondering why in the world I, as a social media consultant, am doing everything I can to scare you away from using social media. The answer is… I’m not. What I am doing is showing you the true value in outsourcing your small businesses social media creation, implementation, and management. I am showing you that social media is NOT free. It requires money to be invested whether it is in the form of time, hourly wages, management and monitoring tools, or continuing education. You can spend your money on those things, and assume all of the risk, or you can split the cost with numerous other businesses by hiring an outside agency, like Decklan Group.
By hiring an outside firm, you get 24/7/365 coverage. You get people managing your profiles who have top notch training, who live, work, and breath social media. You get to reap the rewards of all of the agency level tools and tracking. You get continuous monitoring of industry changes and instant adaptability to those changes. If one of your employees is on vacation, quits suddenly, or gets fired your social media presence stays the same and consistent…never missing a beat. The best part about hiring a firm like ours to manage your social media; it ends up costing you a FRACTION of what it would truly cost you to replicate the results in house. You are sharing the cost of your social media with numerous other companies, allowing you to get higher quality goods and services at a cost much lower than even a substandard in house product, and who wants anything substandard anyway?
Another final word of advice on this topic; choose your social media firm carefully. Look at other pages they manage. Make sure they understand your location, your demographic, and your personality. You want a management company that feels like your business. Is a big firm based in L.A. or New York really going to be able to interact with fans of a southern Iowa steakhouse? None of your fans, or followers should be able to tell it is an outside agency they are interacting with. Your page shouldn’t have the same recycled Google images and stock photos that every other page in the agency’s portfolio does. There should be original content that relates to your business and locale, and genuine interaction. You don’t want the cheapest company, because it is no longer enough to just “be on” social media. You need to be genuine and original on social media. No one can do that for $199 a month. You pay for what you get, and being as the company you hire is going to be in charge of showing the world what your business is all about, you may not want to scrape the bottom of the barrel.