I am a huge advocate of instilling into people that social media DOES NOT need to be a full time job in the beginning. And I stick by that.

You can successfully build a social media presence in only a couple hours a day for the first few months.

However, if you’re doing everything right and building your audience, that audience will start to require a lot more attention.

It’s like the opposite of raising a child. The more a child grows, the less attention you need to pay to the child as they become more self-sufficient.

But with social media, you pay less attention to it in the beginning and a lot more time as it progresses into something a lot more than you had ever imagined.

Social media may not be a full time job in the beginning, but you will need to consider the possibility that it will become a full time job in the future.

What will you do then?

You have a business to run (assuming the business owner is the one attending to the social media, which is usually the case with small businesses), and you can’t be spending ALL of your time on social media and ALL of your time on your business. It’s just impossible.

If your social media presence is growing larger than you had anticipated and it becomes difficult to keep up, it might be time to hire an on-site social media management team.

This can be done in a few ways:

1. Simply go onto craigslist and put an ad out. This can be tricky as you may not know exactly what you’re looking for. Sure you’ve been doing your social media up until now, but what about the future of your social media presence? What other skill sets should you be looking for? What sort of personalities and experience should you look for?

2. Search LinkedIn for an appropriate candidate. This can really narrow down the search as you can find specific profiles of people and see all of their skill sets right there on the screen without having to sift through a bunch of resumes that come through your email. But the same problem as above arises, what skills, education and personality should you be looking for?

3. Consult with a local social media firm to hire & train appropriate people. This is by far the best option. And I’m not just saying that because that’s part of the services that I offer. =P When I was hired into my very first social media job way back in the day, our first week was spent intensely being trained by a social media specialist who didn’t so much train us about social media, but trained us about the company, the products, the services, the culture and even helped create some awesome ideas for us to implement after she left. It was a wonderful experience and helped us prepare a lot for the future of our careers at the company.

However you choose to hire a social media specialist, make sure that you know exactly what their skills are and make sure that you’re using THOSE particular skills to the fullest.

They don’t have to be full time at first, either, they can be part time and move up to full time. Just depends on how large your community is getting and how much effort and time you’d like to spend in creating campaigns, videos, podcast, blog posts, etc in order to grow your presence even more.

The Takeaway:

When social media becomes too much for you to handle alone, instead of ignoring it and letting your community and online image suffer, take the plunge and hire someone.