Managing your social media accounts
Decide whether to take on your business’s social media presence yourself or hire an expert.
There's no denying the power of social media and the opportunity it provides businesses of all types to connect and engage with current and potential customers. However, many small business owners might find themselves asking: "Who should manage my social media accounts?"
Here are two scenarios to help you think through managing your social media marketing plan.
Scenario one: DIY
Handling your social media in-house could be a good option if you like to be hands-on or don't have the budget to hire out. If you go this route:
Choose platforms wisely: Depending on your clients — other companies or individual consumers — one social media platform might work better than another. For instance, if your clients are general consumers you could do much better on Facebook. If your customers are other businesses, the professional network LinkedIn might be a better option. By understanding various platforms you'll know better which ones to focus on.
Have a plan: With any content you publish, you need a plan. Decide what type of content you want to publish on social media and create a simple posting schedule. This helps streamline the writing process and keep your posting consistent.
Use online tools: A number of online tools allow you to schedule posts across several platforms from one dashboard. HootSuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social are options. With these tools you can create a number of posts or tweets and schedule them to appear automatically on one or more platforms.
Focus on engagement: Social media creates an opportunity for you to engage. Rather than using it as a megaphone to self-promote, it actually works best as a two-way conversation. Set time aside to monitor your accounts for comments and questions. Some of the tools mentioned above will notify you when someone engages on your platforms, allowing you to respond quickly.
And to get more eyes on what you share, consider paying to boost specific tweets or posts on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter even sends you data on how your tweet advertising performed.
Scenario two: Hire out
If you see the value of having a presence on social media but don't have the time or expertise to manage it, consider hiring someone to help. You can retain a virtual assistant with proven social media experience, or hire a social media marketing company by researching options and their online reviews. You can also tap your trusted networks for recommendations.
Regardless of where you find the person or company, you'll want to make sure they're qualified and that you set clear expectations.
Discuss goals: Whether it's increasing "Likes" and "Followers" or clicks to your website, you need to communicate clear goals to whomever you hire. Based on clearly defined expectations and measurements, your hire can implement a plan of action that will allow you to succeed.
Set a budget: Someone could spend countless hours creating content, posting to platforms, and engaging with followers. It's best to determine exactly what your budget is for social media and relay that to your social media manager. This can help him or her create a plan that matches your budget and defines what you will and will not get.
Measure ROI: As with any business process, if you aren't receiving a return on your investment, you must examine what you're doing, apply best practices and improve, or stop doing it. Participating for the sheer sake of participating, or because you think you should, doesn't make much sense and may actually harm your efforts to attract new customers via social media.
Social media, if done correctly, can be an affordable ally in attracting customers and providing great customer service. These tips should give you a solid starting point to decide whether you should attempt it yourself or hire a professional.
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