I just came across a blog written by @shelleypringle for Polaris that provided cases for and against outsourcing social media marketing.
Like all great blog posts, this one got me thinking. How do you really know whether you need someone to manage your social media marketing? It’s a fair question, so, in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy, I thought I’d offer up some clues.
It might be time for you to hire a social media strategist if…
- You have a twitter profile but rarely tweet, and when you do tweet it’s to tout your product or service, brag about an award or share a photo of your building or the office dog.
- You have a Facebook page but don’t see much engagement from fans (other than your mom, God love her).
- You’ve heard that SEO is important but you aren’t sure how to use it other than pay for it (what does it stand for again…?).
- You’re spending marketing dollars on talking at your customers (via print, tv or radio ads) but know two-way conversations are important.
- Your competitors seem highly engaged in social media (damn them – they’re always a step ahead).
- You have a website but don’t see much traffic (how do you get to the Google stats, again?).
- You started a blog but haven’t posted since your “Happy New Year” message on January 3rd (2013) and aren’t really sure what to write about.
- You have a blog and try to post a couple of times a month, but you haven’t noticed any big increase in sales (And if you did, how would you know it’s related to the blog?).
- You know your customers are using social media (who isn’t?), but aren’t sure which platforms they’re on, and how to get started.
- Your sales are down – or flat – and you don’t have much budget for marketing, but you’ve got to build some awareness around your brand.
If any of these sounds like you, it’s time to seriously consider putting some budget behind social media efforts.
So whether you decide to outsource or hire someone full-time, it’s helpful to know what to look for in a candidate. As a freelance social media strategist, I can tell you that my clients prefer to pay me for the hours I work, rather than increasing their overhead expenses. Either way, here are some tips for hiring the right person to represent your brand. Your Social Strategist should have the following
1. A Marketing Background
Look, social media is a tool for reaching your consumers. Just like TV, radio, print ads, your website, online ads, promotions, etc. Someone with a strong marketing background will ask questions and learn about your audience and your objectives, set up measurements for success (or failure), and keep your brand consistent across all channels. He’ll also have a good understanding of the three pillars of online marketing (SEO, Content and SMO).
2. Strong Writing Skills. A very well-known social media “thought leader” posted a quote just this morning on LinkedIn. He took this famous author’s quote out of context. Ernest Hemingway said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” The post on Linked in said “Mr. Hemingway on Content Marketing:” followed by the quote. Proof positive that these days, everyone is in the publishing business. But that doesn’t mean everyone’s a (good) writer. Find yourself someone who can string together a good sentence and weave a compelling story for your brand.
3. Social Media Knowledge. As Polaris suggested in the post, outsourcing your social manager will ensure that your brand is up to speed. But this depends on whom you hire. It can be easy to get started in social by simply knowing the rules (tweets are 140 characters or less) but having a deeper understanding of how each platform works (tweets that use all 140 characters are a mistake!) and the audiences they serve is vital to your success on each channel.
4. Business Acumen. Sure, today’s college students were raised on the internet and social media, but that doesn’t mean they know how to represent a brand via social channels (My generation was raised on tv, but we weren’t put in charge of advertising back in the 80s). Your social manager should know how to handle herself in all business situations, be comfortable speaking for your brand, be professional but engaging and keep you in the loop about any customer complaints or an influx of negative social press.
5. Analytics Experience. There’s more to all those charts and numbers than meets the eye. Your SM Manager should not only track analytics but determine what they mean, and how to make changes to continue building your brand based on those findings.
What it comes down to is this: If your brand isn’t actively engaged on the right social media channels, you’re missing a huge opportunity to reach core consumers, engage with brand advocates, and move the needle on your bottom line.
Once you’ve found the perfect Social Strategist, you’re not done! Stay in touch with these 8 steps to ensure you help him help you!
Navigating and managing your brand’s social media presence can be overwhelming. Cohesive branding across all channels is terribly important. And the right words – well, they mean everything. The right mix of these three can have a great impact on your brand. Would you like to chat? Let’s connect and create something fantastic! firstname.lastname@example.org