If you’ve been in business any length of time, you know how important having an active social media presence is. 95% of Millennials expect brands to be on Facebook, while 87% of Gen-Xers, and 70% of those aged 45-60 say they should be there, at the very least. And businesses are listening. On Facebook alone, there are 40 million active small business pages as of 2015, up from 30 million in 2014. But, you also know how difficult it can be to manage that alongside everything else you have to do. Even if the budget is a little tight, let’s take a look at some signs it’s time for you to hire a social media manager to handle it for you.
You’re Starting to Miss Messages
Facebook added the messaging feature to business profiles in 2015, giving businesses the opportunity to connect for customer service. The people who view your page can see how responsive you are to messages, to help them determine the likelihood that they’ll get a response from you there. According to Facebook, you must respond to 90% of your messages, with a median response time of five minutes or less to get the “very responsive to messages” badge on your profile. That means you can miss a few, and take a while – but the fewer messages you receive there, the more your responsiveness rate will be affected.
If you don’t catch messages until weeks, or worse, months after the fact, you’re damaging your reputation. Customers don’t care how busy you are running your business – they want to know you’ll make time for them. A social media manager can help by answering all those messages for you.
You Don’t Understand Platforms Your Audience Uses
If you don’t have a clue what Snapchat or Periscope is, but you know your audience is hanging out there, then it’s time to hire someone to help you. If you ignore the platforms where your customers are, then you’re watching money go out the proverbial door. Sure, you can read up on the platforms and try to figure out them yourself, but when you need to invest time in the other necessary tasks required to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine… it may be better to go to an expert. You’ll save time, which allows you to build your audience and engagement while you work on things you’re good at.
You’re Ready to Invest More in Advertising
Social media advertising can bring in an entirely new group of customers to market to. If you’re not savvy enough to craft the right kind of targeted campaign though, you could just be wasting time and money. A manager has experience in using advertising to draw in more fans, so if you’re not sure where to start, give them a budget and let them run with it.
Social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide from 2014 to 2016, going from $16 billion to $31 billion. In the U.S. alone, social media spending is expected to hit $17.34 billion in 2019. 86% of social marketers regularly use Facebook ads, compared to just 18% who use Twitter ads. Though it can be difficult to measure ROI on social advertising, it can be an effective way to drive fans and followers to your profiles, and send people to your website or to download your app.
You Think About Social Media Last
You’re rocking marketing. You’re running sales and promotions, and hosting events. But, after everything’s said and done, you realize you should have been talking about all of that on social media. When this realization hits you, you feel like you missed an opportunity, and feel perpetually behind.
Let a manager come in and handle that for you – tell them about everything you have planned and when, and let them have fun with it.
You’re Working More than 40 Hours a Week Already
Running a business is hard work, and if you’re in the growing stages where you need help with everything, but can’t yet really afford to pay for the help, you’re definitely working more than 40 hours a week. And adding hours for social media on top of that can be frustrating.
With the help of social media tools for scheduling and content curation, it’s possible to plan a lot of your social media posts in advance, but it’s still necessary to maintain some kind of real-time posting habits, which can be difficult if you’re already busy.
Take some of the pressure off by adding a social media manager to your team, even if it’s only for a few hours a week. This will help you combat burn out.
You’re Neglecting Things That Make You Money to Manage Your Social Media
If you are making time for social media, it’s important to make sure you’re not neglecting the other things, especially ones that make you money, like closing new deals, or networking with other professionals. If spending time managing your social media presence is preventing you from taking care of other core business tasks and functions, then you need to outsource it to someone else.
Time is money. Let’s say your time is worth $100/hr. If you’re spending three hours a day trying to learn about how to make social media work for you, when you could be landing new clients to bring in three times that – it makes sense to hire someone at half that to free you up.
You Don’t Know Jack About Digital Marketing
If you think digital marketing is about putting up a website and getting on Facebook…maybe writing a blog post every once in a while, you’re sadly mistaken. If it were that easy, we’d all be doing well with our online businesses. There’s a great deal that goes into digital marketing – from competitor analysis, to search engine optimization, to advertising, and strategy. If you don’t understand it, it’s going to take a while to learn it and learn how to do it well.
Nothing says you can’t learn later. You can wait until you’ve got a manager in place to handle things for you, and reach a point in your growth where you can bring on additional staff to free yourself up a bit first. If you don’t, you’ll waste resources with a lot of trial and error, and no guarantee of success.
To be successful in social media marketing, you should understand how to look at analytics and reporting, marketing and advertising for paid campaigns, tools and software to improve workflow efficiency, monitoring the internet for brand mentions, competitive analysis, and customer service. If any of these are Greek to you, get help.
You’re Not Enjoying It Anymore
If it’s not fun – then you need to shift your focus to something else. Social media managers not only know what they’re doing – they enjoy doing it. They love building an audience and engaging with them to promote your brand. They don’t mind running reports and brainstorming campaigns.
The key to success in social media is authenticity and transparency. People want to know you’re a real person and they can trust you. When you start to feel annoyed and bored with your social media, your audience will feel it.
You Can’t Keep Up with the Trends
The reality is social media trends, and digital marketing in general, changes frequently…sometimes daily. If you don’t know anything about what’s going on, and can’t make the time to learn, and keep yourself up to date with industry news and blogs, then you should focus your efforts on things you know better.
You’re Not Getting Engagement
If you’re not getting likes, shares, and comments on your posts, that’s one thing. But, if you can’t figure out why that’s the case, you definitely need help. It’s possible you’re posting several times a week, or day, but if you’re not giving users quality information, people won’t pay attention. When it comes to social media, people want value – it’s not about how many times a day you post, it’s about providing what users want. A professional can help you crack the code and deliver.
You’re Not Reaching Your Goals
Social media is a way to reach your customers and add value to their lives, and your business. If what you’re doing isn’t’ working to help you reach those goals, you need a professional to help you assess and adjust your strategy.
You’re Not Updating in Real-Time Anymore
It’s easy to take an hour or two each week to schedule your future posts, but it’s also critical to have time in your schedule to post in real time. You need to show your followers you’re not just running everything on auto-pilot, and you’re actually there and listening. Plus, it may be necessary to share urgent news or react in the moment. If you don’t have the time and flexibility for that, a social media manager may be the answer.
What to Look For in a Social Media Manager
The truth is that not everyone can speak for your brand the way you want them to, and just because someone says they can do social media marketing doesn’t mean they can do it right, or well.
Your ideal social media manager is:
- Able to prioritize
- Able to plan for jumping in spontaneous conversation. By this, I mean they stay on top of current events and news, and can jump in the conversation, relevantly and appropriately as needed.
- A researcher
- Driven by metrics
When and if you decide to bring a social media manager on board, ask these questions:
- Which platforms are best for my business and why? Make sure they describe your company’s personality in three words. The candidates worth your time should have done research on your company and who your customers are. And if they have, they should know which ones will work best for you – since each channel has their own marketing tactics.
- What two metrics should we monitor regularly? The answer should be engagement and leads. Engagement is about the measurable conversation around your brand and company, regardless of the channel. The content is what makes you successful and if it sucks, people won’t engage. Your manager should be a great writer, and know how to curate the content that’s best for your audience. Leads are also important, because these are people who could become paying customers. Find out if they’ve run social lead generation campaigns before and what their track record is. Organic leads are different from the ones you get from advertising. Listening and responding is important in social media. People want to know you hear them, and expect you to respond to them.
- What’s the difference between a social marketing and customer service environment? If the candidate doesn’t tell you that social marketing is more about conversation, and not about sales. Customer service requires the ability to resolve conflicts, along with empathy and patience. Your manager isn’t responding to just a single customer, but an audience of future customers.
- What’s the most important thing a social media manager should be doing? Listening! With that, they can engage and really connect with the audience, and when you’re listening you can help the customer along their journey.
- What marketing strategies do you intend to use to generate leads?
- Do you have a blog? See if they’re posting regularly. If they don’t, ask them if they’ve got samples of things they’ve written elsewhere on the web so you can gauge their content quality.
- Ask what their first goals would be.
- Ask them to tell you a story – storytelling is how we connect.
Is This You?
If you can identify with one or more of these signs – it’s time for you to hire a social media manager. Whether you choose to go with a freelance contractor or an agency is up to you, since you’re the one who knows your needs and budget.
What’s holding you back from hiring a social media manager? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo credit:Adobe Stock
Read More: Why You Need Social Media