I dedicated last week’s blog to addressing why SMB owners should make social media an integral part of their marketing strategy, and this week I’ll outline some reasons behind who should implement their social media.
There are several opinions on who should handle your social media, and as an owner of a marketing agency dedicated to helping SMB owners realize their marketing goals, I’d like to share with you some tips – a check list, if you will, on factors to consider to help you evaluate and make the right decision for your company.
Tip 1: Commitment
Internal: This is by far the biggest difference in internal vs. external. You need to decide how much time you can personally commitment to making your social media a success. Do you have the time to train a social media person, supervise them, manage them, and ensure that what they are doing follows your social media strategy? Can you make at least a year commitment to supporting an internal person?
External: A professional social media resource will require a minimal time commitment from you. Although you’ll need to work with them in deciding what processes, quality assurance, frequency and measurement metrics, and update meetings are required, this will be established upfront, and ought not require a daily investment of your time.
Tip 2: Skill Set
Internal: An internal social media person needs to understand your brand, and all the legal nuances involved in its marketing. They need to be able to react and provide customer feedback, and create social media processes for handling online customers. But perhaps most importantly, they need to be at the top of their game in terms of know exactly which social networking sites are right for your business, and why. It seems simple: hire a professional, and they will do a professional job. Although that can often be the case, as the owner you, yourself, need to have some knowledge of social media in order to ensure that this internal resource is recommending the right path for your business.
External: An external resource will work with you from the outset, to understand your social media goals and objectives. They will invest their time and resources to best understand your business, and as a social media resource have already established a reputation of excellence. They will provide you with their recommendations as to which social media sites they will be targeting, why/how, with examples of suggested content, quality assurance measures and measurement metrics and frequency.
Tip 3: Research and Writing
Internal: This internal resource must be able to research and write. This seems obvious, but these basic skills are hugely necessary. There is nothing worse for your brand than having a spelling mistake, or wrong information posted on your sites. Although the post can be deleted on most sites today, we can’t measure how many potential customers might have seen a particular post before it was deleted. As such, the social media person needs to be able to research and write, and be accountable for the content of their posts.
External: Check references and previous social media posts from this professional external resource. Ask them to tell you about any research or writing mistakes that have happened, and how they have dealt with them. Make sure you feel comfortable with their writing style and tone, and that they are able to research avenues relevant to your business. This social media resource will be held responsible for driving continuous and accurate content to your sites, as well as engaging in conversations and investigating new avenues within social media platforms to get your voice heard.
Tip 4: Track and Measure
Internal: You’ll need to establish with your internal person how they are going to measure and track your company’s social media activities. Simply tracking the “likes” and “followers” is not enough. Depending on your social media strategy, you may require deeper analytics to see if your Facebook page is referring new business to your site, and if so, which areas appear to be most popular. Google Analytics (GA) is a great tool for website analytics, however, make sure your internal person can provide you with the exact GA reports your need to validate the ROI on this social media venture. Your internal person will also need to be able to interpret and make recommendations and adjustments to improve results moving forward.
External: A professional resource will be able to tell you exactly what they use to track and measure social media. They should show you examples of what they have done for other clients and create an approach for you and your business. The second, and most important part of tracking and measuring, is interpreting the results. A professional external resource will have the ability to assess and decipher the results, and make suggestions as to how to make adjustments to increase your ROI moving forward.
Deciding on who will implement, track, measure, and decipher your social media is not an easy decision, as every business and business owner is unique. By outlining some key tips, I hope that I have helped you to evaluate your options, and make the right decision for your business. Remember: nothing is set in stone. You may, for example, decide to hire externally until such time when it makes better business sense to hire internally.
Who is handling your company’s social media? Are you pleased with the results? Do you have any stories you can share?