Maybe you are a small business owner, or maybe you run a big company, whatever your situation, it is likely you will need someone overseeing your social media marketing in the coming year. We are far beyond a time when the question is “should I be using social media for my business” (The short answer is yes). We are now at a point in history when you need to be wondering if it is time to hire someone to manage your social media for you. Today I am going to share with you 5 signs that you may need to trust in a professional to take over your social media and some tips for finding the right person for the job.
5 Signs it’s time to hire a pro
Are you managing your own social media? Or are you letting it slip through the cracks? Well, today I am going to share with you a couple of reasons why hiring a social media pro might be your best bet and ways you can find the right one for the job. I have been in the social media game for over 10 years working both in house for larger companies as well as running my own Business Stellar Media Marketing and helping companies of all sizes find success with their social media efforts. I am excited to share my expertise with you and help you get the resources you need to find social media success in an ever-changing digital world. Let’s dig in.
You are doing the bare minimum
If you are posting every once in a while or just pushing out links from an RSS then you may need to consider hiring a social media manager. Long gone are the days when you could do the bare minimum. Today’s savvy social media professional can manage all your social networks by creating fresh custom content, finding the perfect articles and media to curate from complementary sources, and they may also be able to help you take your marketing to the next level with Facebook Pixels, custom audience ads, and chatbots, just to name a few examples.
Staying on the cutting edge of what is new and working in social media is something we social media pros do to stay competitive. We live and breathe this stuff so you can be sure when you hire a pro, you won’t be getting the bare minimum…Well, unless your budget is too low…But we will get to that in a bit.
You are over promoting
Go look at your social media efforts. Are you seeing a focus on promotion without much else substance? If you are a Network Marketer and all you do is promote your latest sale or a REALTOR who only posts about your listings or a restaurant that can only talk about what’s on special tonight, you are missing out on a huge opportunity.
Think about it. Do you like being sold to? Would you follow you? Probably not if all you do is promote. Most people love buying things but they hate to be sold to. Most people will not follow or friend someone online if all that person or company does is promote non-stop. You need to have a marketing mix. You need to create valuable content that is useful, helpful, entertaining or educational. Yes, that kind of strategy takes time, time that you may not have. So if this sounds like you, it may be time to look for a social media manager to help you out.
You are using social media like it’s 2012
You know how I mentioned before that a good social media manager stays up on all the latest in social media trends, tools, and strategies? Well if you are still marketing like it’s 2012, you, my friend, are WAY behind. And if you are still marketing like it is 2017, you are still WAY behind. Today’s social media managers can help you look at strategies you may not be able to implement yourself without taking classes and going to conferences.
Do you know the best strategies for Facebook Live videos and why they can REALLY help your Facebook page gain more reach and engagement? Well, a social media manager does and they can help you put together a plan that works within your time constraints and comfort levels. Do you know how to set up a chatbot to increase engagement on a Facebook post and increasing the likelihood that fans become future customers? Guess who can help you with that? Do you know how to increase likes on your Instagram posts, or run retargeting ads to increase conversions on your website? A social media manager can do that! I think you are getting my point here. It takes a lot of time to stay up in this fast-moving industry, but when you hire someone that does it for a living, that is exactly how they stay relevant. I personally go to conferences, attend e-courses and have memberships with organizations that help me stay in the know and on the cutting edge. I can tell you first hand how time-consuming it is (read: very time consuming). However, it makes sense for me because this is what I do for a living and I LOVE it.
You are not seeing any results
Are just throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping something sticks? Are you throwing money into ads that are not converting or meeting your goals? Is your content stale and your reach and engagement leveled out or worse shrinking by the day? You are not alone! Most businesses I know have been playing with social media and tinkering around hoping something works. They try a couple of things, give it a try for a couple of months then, when their efforts are not fruitful, they give up and think social media just won’t work for them.
It’s tough love time people…It is not that social media does not work for you, it’s that you don’t know how to work social media. Plenty of businesses in all kinds of industries, both for business to business and business to consumer, are killing it because of their efforts online. If you are crossing your fingers and hoping that something is going to work or you are ready to throw in the towel because social media is “not for you” then it is time to hire a professional.
You are getting into trouble
There are so many stories of businesses who have gotten into hot water because they do social media all wrong. Maybe they use a photo they had no rights to and now the owner has come a knocking, wanting to be paid. Or maybe they lashed out at some less than stellar online reviewers. Social media is not a game. It can really eff up your business if you do it wrong. You need to make sure you deal with customers properly, know when to block a troll or appease an unhappy customer. You need to know the legalities around copyrighted materials so you don’t cause more trouble than it is worth.
I get it. Sometimes it is hard to have someone talk bad about your baby, aka your business which you work so hard to create. But that might be the very reason you need to take a step back. Hiring a pro will keep you out of trouble.
Time to Hire – Next Steps
Now that we have covered the various signs that it is time to hire someone to do the job for you, let’s discuss where you can find a social media manager, what you should be looking for and what you need to consider when hiring a pro.
Where to look
Referrals are best
I personally get most of my clients from referral. I like to hire my contractors via referral as well. This is the best way to find a social media manager because you can get a bit more insider information about the SMM from the referral source. Plus they tend to be a bit more trustworthy off the bat because they have been vetted by your friend or a trusted referral source.
This might seem like an obvious one but many miss out on it. A lot of social media pros are pretty active online. Whether they are teaching a webinar (a great place to get an idea of the knowledge and style of a social media professional), or you find them answering questions in a Facebook group, social media is a great place to discover talent. Follow them for a bit. Get a feel for what they are all about. Do you like the way they post? Do you think they know their shit? Social Media can be pretty helpful when you are looking for the people who deal with social media as a profession. Not sure where to start? Use the search on any social network. Look for “Social Media Manager” or “Social Media Consultant” and chances are you will find all you ever wanted and more. Great networks to start your search include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Still having trouble? Why not Google it?! Just keep in mind that when you Google social media services or social media managers you are likely to find that larger social media and marketing firms are going to be listed first. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you want that kind of service. But I have found that the larger the firm the more expensive the prices or in complete contrast the cheaper the prices but to the detriment of the quality of the services. I personally do not think Google is the best place to look for your next social media manager, but it may be a good place to start the research.
Upwork or similar
If budget is an issue and you don’t mind hiring a more novice social media manager, you might check out Upwork. There is a slew of social media managers and VA’s who use Upwork to find new assignments. The prices are generally below market value but don’t expect to find the world’s best social media manager on there. Sure there are some gems waiting to be discovered, but keep in mind you may need to go through a couple of social media freelancers before you find the right one for you.
Hiring in House?
If you are hiring in-house you will need to put up a listing that lays out all of the things you are looking for in a social media manager. Be realistic in what you want. Don’t ask for someone who can do social media, social ads, SEO, web design, graphic design (and the list goes on) but you are only willing to pay them 30k per year. Sorry but that is not going to do it. You will also want to check out LinkedIn for great candidates. Perhaps this is more a personal opinion but you may want to avoid anyone who calls themselves a “guru” or “ninja”. These self-proclaimed titles are cringe-worthy among my industry and often times a guru is just a novice in disguise.
Also if you are hiring in-house be sure you do your homework and find out what the going rate is for an in-house social media managers in your area. According to Glassdoor the national average in the USA for a social media manager is $57,802 base salary, just to give you a starting point.
What to consider
Now that I have gone through the signs that it is time to hire a social media manager, and places to find one, let’s talk about the things you need to consider when looking for the right social media provider for you.
Let’s not lie to each other here, the budget is going to be a big deciding factor in your search for the perfect social media manager. I know this because I have had TONS of people pass on working with me because my prices are higher than they are willing to pay. But that is okay because I run more of a boutique social media company that provides a different level of services than say a newer social media manager who is looking to land their first couple clients might offer. But you do need to be reasonable when it comes to the budget. I would say that if you want more than one social media network managed and you need quality work (not the bare minimum) you need to budget a minimum $1000 per month. You may or may not find lower-priced services that meet your need, or you may find you need to pay more because you need more, but $1000 is a good starting point. And by the way, this does not include an ad budget.
Also as a final note on the budget, don’t be afraid to let potential social media managers know what your budget is and discuss with them how you can work out a plan to compromise so you can both get what you want, if possible. I have had several great clients come to me with a budget in mind and I was able to build a package that worked for their needs in their budget. You just never know until you have that conversation.
Which leads me to setting expectations. YOURS. Just like when I said the company looking to hire an in-house social media manager who can do it all won’t be cheap, neither is hiring a social media freelancers to do it all. You pay for what you get in this business. You need to have an idea of what you need and what you want to get out of your social media actions. You also need to go into a conversation with a social media manager open-minded, because what you think you need may not be what is best or might not be attainable under certain circumstances. Have a chat with your social media manager and be open about your business goals and how you see social media fitting into that.
In-house or freelancer
Now you need to decide if you want to hire someone who will only work on your accounts or a freelancer or agency that has several clients. Some people are afraid to hire someone who handles more than just their accounts because they feel they won’t get the attention they need, or they simply want the social media manager’s focus to only be on their company. If this is the case, you will need to adjust your expectations and your budget to meet that need. Exclusivity costs money. Keep in mind that the mass majority of agencies and freelancers who handle several clients simultaneously do so with ease and without any problems. I nearly always have 6-10 clients at any given time and I rarely feel overwhelmed. Most of us know how to delegate work to our assistants and when to stop taking clients when we hit capacity.
One last note about this subject, if you are the type of person who likes to micromanage someone or oversee and approve everything that goes out you will most likely need to hire for exclusivity or in-house. Again this will cost you more money, but most experienced social media managers will not keep a client on very long who is overbearing or micromanages the process.
Believe it or not personality and the way you and the social media manager click is going to be important. If your personalities clash or they just don’t get you or your style of doing things it may mean a bumpy road ahead. Luckily there are a great deal of qualified social media professionals out there who are as diverse as they are talented. So feel free to talk to a couple of people, follow them online, and get a sense for how they do things and who they are. Because, let me tell you, when you find someone you get along with and you just click, well that is a recipe for magic in your social media ESPECIALLY if you are doing a lot of personal branding online.
Local or does not matter
Most people think they need to hire a local person to handle their social media. Let me let you in on a little not so secret. Out of the 7 clients I have right now, only one is local to me. Everyone else is out of state or several hours away. You can hire someone in another town, another state and sometimes even another country and get great results. However, there are instances when this is not the case. If you live somewhere with unique characteristics or you need someone to be present a couple of days a month, you will probably want someone local. I will give you an example, I had a wonderful client who lived in Tampa Florida and I simply had the hardest time getting good content on her page that worked. I am a Colorado girl so I am used to fire pits being a summer friendly activity (not so in Tampa in the summer heat) and winter prep in the snowy months (it does not get cold in Tampa). In the end, the client and I decided to part ways and we agreed that local representation would be best for her needs.
Knowledge of your industry
While the social media manager does not have to be a professional in your field, it might benefit you to hire someone who is familiar with your industry or have some kind of interest in it. For example, I work mainly with Realtors and have since I started my business. My best clients have always been Real Estate Agents because I understand how their business works and I have a long marketing history in the homebuilding industry in general. That being said, I also have a client who is a midwife, and although I do not know how to be a midwife and I have never delivered a baby for someone else, I do have 2 young children of my own, and my last child was born with the assistance of a midwife. I, however, had a client for about a month once that ran an equestrian center. It did not last because I know nothing about horses nor do I have interest so we decided to part ways pretty quickly. The great thing is, a lot of social media managers have specialties they focus on. Some are especially talented working with restaurants, others have mad skills working with lawyers. Just ask around and be sure to keep an open mind.
Knowledge of Social Media
Okay, this last one is pretty important. Depending on your needs, your goals and your budget you will want someone who not only understands how the social networks work, but you will also need someone who has an understanding of marketing and strategy in general. It is also advised that you look for social media managers that are always trying to sharpen their skills and stay up with this fast-paced industry. It is perfectly okay to hire a newbie social media freelancer who is maybe not as experienced, as long as they have the willingness and drive to learn and are actively trying to improve and sharpen their skill set. But the biggest take away here is you need to hire someone who does this professionally. Social Media management is a full-time job. This is not something you want to hand off to your 16-year-old just because they get Snapchat. This is also not something I would entrust to a free intern. Social media is the face of your company. It is typically the first line in communication for your customers and the first impression you give to the world. Do you really want to trust that to a high schooler, or someone who does not do this professionally? I sure wouldn’t.
So there you have it. A great breakdown of where to start when you are starting to hire for social media. Please let me know if I missed anything. Do you have questions? Do you want to talk to me about your social media and how I can help? Or perhaps I can refer you to one of my mentees or friends to help you. I love helping people find the perfect fit for their social media needs. Whether that is with me or with someone I know and trust. Just hit me up.
These notes are from my podcast Business as Unusual. Listen and subscribe to stay in the know and get even more great info and insights on social media, entrepreneurship and online marketing.
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