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Does My Business Need a Social Media Manager?

Simply because there's no cost to establish a social media profile on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn does not mean that your social presence is free. An effective social media strategy requires time and expertise. Even if you're comfortable using social media for your personal profiles, there's still a lot to learn when it comes to optimizing your business presence. If social media management is becoming a distraction from your main focus at work, you may be wondering, "Does my business need a social media manager?"

A manager holding up the social media in their hand.

When to Hire a Social Media Manager or Outsource to an Agency

It's hard to make social media a priority over customer needs, sales calls, team management and the day-to-day demands of your job. If you find social media is constantly being pushed to the back burner, it may make sense to consider alternative options. Should you hire someone internally or outsource your needs to an agency or consultant? Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind for both options:

Outsourcing Social Media to an Agency or Freelancer

Pros: Agencies and freelancers can have significant expertise in small business social management. They've worked with other small businesses and can draw on real-world best practices, passing this knowledge on to your business. Ideally, they will be up to speed on the latest strategies and management platforms. Some agencies may also use an enterprise-level social media management solution that's folded into their management cost and shared across clients, minimizing your overhead expenses. You will not have to worry about onboarding an employee, managing payroll taxes or dealing with the loss of institutional knowledge should your employee leave.

Cons: Agencies can be expensive and may require a monthly retainer in addition to charging for the work itself. An agency or freelancer may also require a contract guaranteeing work for a fixed time period, so shop around to ensure the right fit before signing on the dotted line. Just like hiring an employee, you should fully vet the agency or freelancer to be sure they have a track record of satisfied clients and successful projects. For example, ask if they offer a custom solution for your specific needs and will establish metrics for assessing performance and measuring success upfront.

Hiring a Social Media Manager In-House

Pros: An in-house employee will be in tune with the day-to-day operations of your company and be able to identify and post relevant content in real time, driving engagement. This employee can sit in on relevant marketing meetings and quickly adjust posting strategy accordingly, offering a more agile approach than an agency. Finally, depending on the person you hire, this employee may be able to manage multiple tasks beyond social media, such as keeping your company blog up to date or authoring an email newsletter. This employee can wear multiple hats, potentially offering greater value than a dedicated social media agency.

Cons: Even if your new employee is an expert in social media for businesses, he or she won't be an expert in your business. You'll need to dedicate time to onboarding your employee, providing necessary training documents and offering ongoing performance guidance. If your employee is junior, he or she may also not be as experienced with project management or team collaboration. Finally, if you hire an employee, you will still need to provide the tools to get the job done, including a social media management platform. Apps like Buffer and HootSuite can help keep costs low, but you may have limited access to more advanced management tools.

In-house employees, agencies and freelancers can all be a cost-effective solution to your social media management needs. Before contacting an agency or interviewing prospective hires, take time to outline the roles and responsibilities you'll need the agency or employee to meet. Finally, consider your social media goals: Do you want to do a better job communicating with current customers, or do you want to bring in sales leads? Outlining goals upfront will make it easier to find the right hire for your business' needs.

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