Outsourcing Social Media (What are the pros and cons?)
320,059,368 North Americans use the internet. 263,081,200 of these internet users use Facebook. I think it is safe to say that your ideal customer is online.
It is also safe to say that your business should be using the internet and social media to promote your business. The problem for many businesses, just like you, is managing and updating social media is not your strength. You can continue to try and get the results the marketing gurus promised, or you can outsource your social media marketing. But, is outsourcing social media a good idea?
Social Media Marketing Statistics
Before we take a look at the pros and cons of outsourcing social media, let’s get on the same page. Let’s make sure that we know just how important social media is to your business. Here are a couple of social media marketing statistics that illustrate the importance of social media for your business, marketing agency, or personal brand.
- Instagram earns $595 million in mobile ad revenue per year, a rapidly increasing number.
- Despite news of layoffs and executives leaving the company, Twitter’s revenue is up 8% YOY
- 59% of Americans with social media accounts think that customer service through social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved.
- Over 50 million businesses use Facebook Business Pages.
- 2 million business use to Facebook for advertising.
- Facebook’s total revenue grew 56% in 2016, and advertising revenue grew 59%.
- 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases.
- 39% of LinkedIn users pay for monthly premium accounts.
- Pinterest drives 25% of all retail website referral traffic.
- More than 56% of online adults use more than one social media platform.
- 75% of male internet users are on Facebook as well as 83% of female internet users.
- 32% of teenagers consider Instagram to be the most important social network.
- Female internet users are more likely to use Instagram than men, at 38% vs. 26%.
- 29% of internet users with college degrees use Twitter, compared to 20% with high school degrees or less.
- 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day.
- Most Instagram users are between 18-29 years old, about six-in-ten online adults.
- 22% of the world’s total population uses Facebook.
- LinkedIn boasts more than 450 million user profiles.
- On any given day, Snapchat reaches 41% of 18 to 34-year-olds in the US.
- YouTube overall and even YouTube on mobile alone reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
- Facebook continues to be the most widely used social media platform, with 79% of American internet users. Based on total population, (not just internet users) 68% of U.S. adults (you know, your customers) use it. What are you waiting for? Start advertising on Facebook already!
- Instagram receives the silver medal with 32% of users, Pinterest coming in a close third with 31%, and LinkedIn and Twitter at 29% and 24% respectively.
- 76% of Facebook users visited the site daily during 2016, with over 1.6 billion daily visitors, compared to 70% of daily usage in 2015.
- The average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes on the site per month.
- 51% of Instagram users access the platform daily, and 35% say they look at the platform several times per day.
- Almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile.
- Katy Perry has the most worldwide Twitter followers, at 94.65 million.
- Over 400 million snaps are shared on Snapchat per day, and almost 9,000 photos are shared every second.
- Just 10 thousand YouTube videos have generated more than 1 billion views.
- More than half of all YouTube views are on mobile devices.
So, I guess you can say things are getting pretty serious.
If your business has tried social media or failed at social media your social media marketing can make a comeback. Your business can still get on the social media bandwagon and start seeing results.
Reasons You Should Outsource Social Media
Outsourcing sometimes gets a bad wrap. We think of sending production of our services and goods overseas to the lowest bidder. Well, I guess you could do that with your social media marketing. However, I would tend to outsource your social media marketing to an expert, not the lowest bidder.
Let’s look at 10 reasons why you should consider outsourcing your social media marketing to a quality marketing agency or freelancer.
Your Brand Message Is Important
The way you post on social media says a lot about your brand. Your social media posts are only going to get a second or two to grab the attention of your reader. Just make sure not to sweat the small things, just ensure that your brand message is in place.
Social Media Is Part Of A Bigger Picture
Social media marketing should be part of a bigger campaign or marketing strategy. If your business is just posting cool cat videos and cute baby pictures, you might get some engagement, but you will not be supporting your marketing efforts. Social media should be part of a holistic marketing plan that drives results.
Focus Your Resources
I know as a business owner you don’t sleep, I know I don’t. Well, that is a lie. As a business owner resources are usually scarce. Putting Gertrude from the front desk in charge of social media is probably not a good idea. Not only is she not computer savvy, but her opinion on being social was heading to the speakeasy for an adult beverage. Focus your resources on the important tasks at hand.
Focus on Running Your Business
Okay, Gertrude is not your answer. “I can handle social media and I will rock.” Mister Business Owner, I like the enthusiasm, but you need to run the business, make payroll, develop new business partnerships, network, and manage employees. Social media is not even number 12 on your priority list. Focus on your business your employees will appreciate it.
Create A Content Calendar
I know what you are thinking, “what the h-e double hockey sticks are a content calendar.” Glad you asked, sailor. A content calendar is a shareable document that will help organize and plan all your marketing activities, including social media. Your outsourced partner should create a content calendar for your social media calendar that aligns with other campaigns.
It’s All About Analytics
“You had me at data.” said no one ever. However, data and analytics might be one of the most important parts of your social media marketing. Only through killer data will you know what types of posts work and what time of the day to post your social media updates.
A/B Test Your Way to Better Results
Do you have the time to create multiple posts, test the posts, and figure out what worked? I figured the answer was no. Outsourcing your social media should allow your business to test different sets of social media ads, posts, and platforms to see what drives results.
Do You Get How Social Media Can Grow Your Business?
“Well, my nephew told me we should be Tweeting on the SnapBook.” If this sounds like you, you might not understand how social media work or more importantly, how social media can build your business. If you do not get how social media can help your business, you should leave it to the pros.
I have found that most business owners that do social media for themselves do not hold themselves accountable for getting the results desired. When you outsource your social media marketing, you can hold someone else accountable for posting to your social accounts.
Posting, Posting, and more Posting
Did you know that the internet and social media never sleep or take vacations? That’s right, the internet works more than you Mister Business Owner. A whopping 89% of social media requests go unanswered by brands. The point here is that in order to get the most out of your social media marketing, you need to be on top of it 24/7/365. I say, let someone else handle it.
Reasons You Should Not Outsource Social Media
Wow, there are 10 great reasons why you should be outsourcing social media. Well, before you jump into the deep end, there are some cons that you should consider.
Use For Customer Service
More and more customers are using social media as a way to get questions answered. Customers expect to be able to reach a real person in your company, be it via a website, social media or the phone. Being responsive to those requests is critical! Only your business can deliver customer service the way you do. I would encourage you as a business owner to monitor social media for customer service issues and keep this internal.
Now, a social media marketing agency is going to cost an arm and a leg. Outsourcing social media just does not align with the budget. I get it, budgets are tight. However, if you look around there are plenty of affordable social media programs out there for your business. Make sure that you get the service and results needed to grow your business.
Connecting With Your Business
As a business owner, you want to be able to connect with your customers and leads. Outsourcing your social media marketing could take this direct connection away from your business. Connecting with your prospects and customers is important.
Lack of Control
As a business owner, it is hard to let go of control of anything. I have worked with clients that needed approvals from the CEO before a blog post or social media update could get out the door. I am also going to say that not letting go of control and trusting your agency, employees, and partners is the fastest way to ruin your business. If you want to grow, you have to give something up.
Being Held Hostage
I have heard stories about agencies and freelancers that would not give up control of social media accounts. This is a concern and could cause problems down the road. Make sure that someone internally has the admin control of your accounts. This is just best practice.
Posting At The Wrong Time
Outsourcing social media sounds like you are sending it to India and they will be posting at midnight. Right? Well, I hope this is not the case but it could happen. Again, make sure that your social media partner knows when your customers are on social media.
Don’t have The Passion For Your Business
You are the head honcho and you have the passion for your business. I get it. You get up early and build your business on networking and direct mail. How can your social media marketing agency have the same passion for your business as you?
Well, the good news is they don’t have to get up at 4 am, live, and breathe your business. Your social media marketing agency should be able to replicate and show your passion. They should be able to listen to you speak and create content that shows your passion.
Furthermore, social media should educate, encourage, empower, and entertain your end user, not necessarily show your passion for the business. Your passion might even be scaring clients away on social, who knows.
Lack of Spontaneity
Do you have epic office parties that need to be posted on social media? Maybe those photos should stay private. However, it is a good idea to post events that are happening in the office on a regular basis. This can include birthdays, anniversaries, and other business-related events. Unless your agency is in-house, not likely, they might miss these fun times.
That is okay. As the business owner or marketing manager, you should be able to jump on Facebook and do a quick post, you should be able to Tweet a quick Tweet, and post a live video to Instagram. Expecting your agency to do 100% of the posting is probably not the right call for your business anyway.
Working With Other Clients
As a business owner, I know you think your marketing partners are only working on your account 24/7. Well, this is not the case. In fact, there are social media agencies that are working with multiple clients. These other clients could, in fact, be your direct competition.
Now, if this freaks you out, you are probably better off doing social media and all your marketing yourself. I would even venture to say that your social media marketing agency might not want to work with you. Don’t be the jealous girlfriend.
They Hire The Team
Your team and culture are important to your business. Got it. How can you trust a social media marketing agency if you are not doing the interview? The good cop, bad cop interview process has never let an employee in that underperformed. Right? I thought so.
Make sure to find the agency that works for you. Most social media agencies are pretty down to earth and will get along with you. Sometimes, you need to look in the mirror if you are not able to get along. Managing an agency is no different than managing an employee, it is about the relationship you build.
How To Outsource Social Media Effectively
Before we go any further, let me say, “thank you for reading this far. I hope you find this article entertaining and informative.” I also know what you are thinking, “How can I ensure that I make outsourcing social media effective?” Glad you asked.
Hire Someone That You Can Trust
Finding the right person to manage your social media can be hard. Are they going to get the results your desire? Are they going to execute the social media strategy? These are all items that you need to address before starting an engagement with a new marketing partner.
Don’t Sweat The Small Things
The average lifetime of a Tweet is only 18 minutes. You saw that right, 18 minutes. So, if you are the business owner or CEO that needs to proof everything before it goes out, then you should probably let go a little bit. Let your marketing partners, agencies, and freelancers do their job. If the image is not 100% what you would pick, get over it. Creative and visuals are personal preference anyway.
Listen to Ideas
Here is another pet peeve of mine. You brought an agency or freelancer in to do a job. They are the expert in the industry of social media. Listen to their ideas and let them do what they do best.
Develop a Clear Plan
A clear social media strategy or plan will keep everyone on the same page. The plan is going to be the blueprint for execution and should support other marketing tactics. For example, social media is a great way to promote your business blog. Get on the same page and develop a plan that works.
Agree on Key Performance Indicators
Do you know how you are going to determine if social media is right for your business? Develop KPI’s (key performance indicators) that will help measure the success of your campaigns. Remember, these are not revenue numbers, but metrics that will lead to more revenue.
Share Your Brand Guidelines
Your brand guidelines are written brand rules that need to be followed. These include approved fonts, written tone, approved colors and other branding rules that need to be followed. Make sure to share these with your agency or freelancer. This is going to help them execute faster and more accurate.
Work With Your Social Media Agency
If you are going to leave social media 100% up to your agency or freelancer, you are going to fail. Remember, you need to post the ad hoc parties or events that are happening in the office. You need to respond to the customer service inquiries that come in. You need to do your part if you really want to see the results from social media.
Proactively Watch for Scope Creep
Get to know what your agency is responsible for in the contract and make sure you proactively watch out for scope creep. This will help you keep the relationship intact and avoid any surprise invoices that land on your desk.
Look At Your Analytics and Reports
Your agency should be sending you updates and reports with data. Make sure that you are reviewing them so you know what is going on. Looking at your data and reports will help you understand what is happening and what needs to be changed. Typically, reporting can help create new ideas.
Review The Work Being Completed
Look at the work before it goes out. This is going to help you understand social media in more detail. Just remember not to sweat the small things and let your talent do their job.
Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing Can Be a Win
Running a business is hard work. Outsourcing social media marketing is going to save you time, get you better results, and help grow your business. Just make sure to ask the right questions of your social media partner and understand what you are getting for your money. There are many different social media strategies that your business can take advantage of. Just make sure that you are taking advantage of social media so you do not end up on the wrong end of a meme. Social media marketing is a great small business marketing idea you need to be taking advantage of.