After years of working with small business owners, there are two things that most of them have in common. One, they know social media is an important part of growing their business, so more people are awareness of their business and will buy from them. Two, they aren’t sure how to use social media effectively and efficiently.
Because of those two things, business owners often turn to handing their social media efforts over to a social media manager. I get it. You just want social media off your plate. You know you need a presence so you’d rather just have someone do it for you so you can check the box that it’s done.
While there’s nothing wrong with outsourcing your social media (I manage social media for several clients), I want you to stop and ask yourself a few questions before you hand things over. There is a time and place for a social media manager, and there’s a time and place to figure out how to do it yourself in a way that works for you and your business.
Here are some things to consider before hiring a social media manager:
your business type and industry
Are you a personal brand or in a highly personal industry? If so, outsourcing your social media can be hard. While you can hire someone to create content for you, they can never BE you. They can’t show up as you and build connections with your audience that are so important to success on social media as a small business. You can’t be successful on social media if you only use it as a billboard to promote your products or services. You have to balance personal, connection building content as well.
Solution: take time to create a strategy and schedule that works for you and prioritizes showing up on social media and building connections. If you don’t know how to do this from a technical or strategy perspective, invest in learning how (either through a course or 1:1 training). You could balance this with hiring a SMM to help fill in gaps with more promotional and educational content that doesn’t require your personal presence.
what are your expectations?
Do you think hiring a social media manager will transform your account and business overnight? Do you expect your SMM to be responsible for your sales? These are just two examples of unrealistic expectations often placed on social media managers.
Know this…social media isn’t magic, and social media managers aren’t magicians. Your social media manager should work with you to set realistic goals.
who you hire matters
If you decide to outsource your social media, take time to think about who you are hiring. Just hiring the first person you find or the cheapest option just to check the box is not a good use of your time or money. I can’t tell you how many clients come to me after choosing an individual or company that doesn’t have their best interest at heart or even know what they are doing.
I always say this, and I mean it….if you aren’t sure if a company or service provider is qualified or worth the money, ask me. I will tell you what I think, what questions to ask, or if you should run the other way. Some service providers look for business owners who are lost and don’t know anything about social media so they can take your money each month with no questions asked. If I can prevent you from working with those types of companies, I am happy to do so. There are a lot of qualified, experienced social media managers. Unfortunately for each quality SMM, there are even more who aren’t.
questions to ask yourself before outsourcing
- How much time do you have? Can you set aside 1-2 hours every week to focus on your social media strategy?
- Do I know what I need to know to do it? Are you equipped with the knowledge and resources to manage your own social media? Do you know the ins and outs of the platforms you want to have a presence on? What are the best practices? How do the platforms work?
- Do I WANT to do it? This is an important one. Human nature shows that if we don’t want to do something, we will find an excuse not to do it. So if you loathe social media, tackling it yourself might not be strategic. Or is there one platform that you do like? Think about focusing just on that platform and go all in there.
- Can I afford to outsource? Outsourcing to a quality social media manager is definitely an investment. And it’s not a quick fix. Think about your budget and when you can commit to investing in a social media manager for the long haul. If your expectations are to hire a SMM for just a month or two, it will be a waste of your time and money.
things to look for in a social media manager
- Experience: How much experience do they have? While time in the ind ⠀
- Focused on strategy, not tasks: are they just posting to post, or is there strategy behind their content plan? What kind of calls to action are they using? Are they aligning your content with your business goals? ⠀
- Doesn’t promise quick fixes: there is no way to guarantee outcomes, growth or going viral.
- Results-driven: Are they setting benchmarks, tracking progress, and making adjustments accordingly?
- Has social proof and referrals: Have they worked with other businesses similar to yours? Do they have referrals and happy customers from both a results perspective and customer-relations perspective?⠀
things to look OUT for
- Don’t want to show you how it works or give you access to things. These are the folks that hope you just want to check a box. They don’t have to explain every little nuance to you, but they should be willing to let you know what they are doing and tell you why they are doing it. And if you want access to your accounts and results, you should absolutely have it.
- One size fits all approach. If they do the same thing for every client or don’t create a custom strategy for you, that’s a red flag. Every business is different, every target audience is different, so every strategy needs to be customized as well.
- Spend a lot of money at once. If they expect you to invest heavily up front, take a second look. There are start up costs to building a strategy and creating content templates, but the results should be tangible. For example, if you are paying for strategy, they should deliver an actual strategy to you.
- Saying you have to spend money on ads. You do not need to spend money on ads. Can they work for your business? Possibly. But launching right into ads without first testing and tracking organic results is a band-aid approach, not a strategy. And it’s a way to burn through a lot of your money real quick.
I hope these thoughts help give you insight on how to approach your social media. Outsourcing to a social media manager can be a great approach, but I want to let you know, it’s not the only approach. I believe 100% that you CAN manage your social media efforts yourself if you want to. It might feel overwhelming, but I promise when you break it down, it will feel more manageable.