While even a casual user of Facebook or Twitter can set up an account and post, what about designing a strategy that actually drives traffic and leads? What about managing the customer service aspect? What about maintaining a consistent voice across all channels and using social media to build your brand?
These are areas in which an experienced social media manager might excel. But how do you know if you need someone else to take the reins and guide your business to social media success?
Here are six signs it may be time to stop doing it yourself and start looking for a social media manager.
1. When you're neglecting revenue-generating activities to manage your social media accounts.
This is perhaps the No. 1 reason business owners finally bite the bullet and hire a social media manager. After setting up and managing their own accounts for some time, they realize the time they're spending is taking away from revenue-generating activities.
A social media manager hopefully has strong writing skills and a keen understanding of how their tasks fit into the marketing strategy, and how social media contributes to the goals of the business as a whole.
—John Rampton, writer, Entrepreneur Media
When you can clearly see you're forfeiting money to manage your accounts, hiring someone may become an easy decision. For instance, if you value your time at $100/hour, hiring someone for half of that, who is experienced and passionate about social media, may be a logical choice.
2. When you don't have the digital marketing knowledge.
Some people assume that if you know how to use social media, you must be good at social media management. If a teen can do it, why can't you?
But there’s often more to the job than posting pictures or tweeting links to your blog. To succeed at social media marketing, a person ideally has a strong understanding of:
- Analytics and reporting
- Monitoring for brand mentions
- Tools and software
- Competitive analysis
- Marketing and advertising (for paid campaigns)
- Customer service
In addition, a social media manager hopefully has strong writing skills and a keen understanding of how their tasks fit into the marketing strategy, and how social media contributes to the goals of the business as a whole.
3. When you no longer enjoy it.
Authenticity and transparency in social media marketing often matters. People want to know there are real, trustworthy people behind those accounts. If you just think of social media as a necessary evil, this may come through in your interactions.
If you find yourself feeling bored, annoyed or resentful at the prospect of interacting with your audience on social media, consider stepping away and letting someone else have a go. Find someone who has a real passion for it, and they may be an authentic advocate for your brand.
4. When you're too busy to manage and monitor it consistently.
You may find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks and responsibilities on your plate. In this case, it may be more difficult to accept that adding someone else to the payroll is a wise move. But consistency in social media marketing is extremely important.
5. When you're not able to keep up with trends.
Social media is constantly in flux. New platforms, tools and strategies emerge constantly, and it may be difficult for even social media specialists to keep up.
For instance, do you stay on top of industry reports and research? Do you attend social media conferences and workshops? Do you network with other professionals in the field?
This is where social media pros often shine. They often know what's changing and how your business might keep up.
6. If you don't know what social media strategy is.
If the phrase "social media strategy" is unfamiliar to you, or you just don't think a strategy is necessary, it's likely time to hire a pro.
I like Jay Baer's take on it: "Social media has too much opportunity (and too many pits of real-time quicksand) to just blindly jump into the deep end of the pool ... You need to know how and why you’re getting involved with social media so that you can rightsize your resources, relationships, and expectations."
An experienced social media manager will usually understand the importance of strategy and know how to create one that contributes to your bottom line. They'll often understand the ins and outs of marketing funnels, how to choose the right platforms and how to use social media in a way that aligns with your overall business goals. A social media manager may help ensure you're using social media intentionally, in a way that protects and builds your brand. Keep in mind that a half-baked strategy can be just as bad as no strategy at all.
John Rampton is the founder of Palo Alto, California-based Host, a free Joomla hosting company. He is also a member of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.
Read more articles on hiring and HR.
This article was originally published on April 22, 2015.