Learn how and when to outsource your social media networking for your business.
Facebook has over one billion users, and despite gloomy predictions as to its demise when other popular social networks came online to try to compete, it is still the second most popular website in the world, and one that marketers ignore at their peril.
Social media is one of the fastest growing and most important marketing tools on the internet today. Unfortunately, it is still an area of marketing that many business owners don’t understand, and therefore still have not succeeded in. They make silly mistakes, and even worse, they do not know what metrics to look for.
It’s simple to see that if you spend $1,000 on AdWords ads and get $2,000 back, you have done well and are in the black. But what if you spend $1,000 on social media and get 2,000 likes? Does that represent that a win, or a loss?
Is two hours a day spent on social media time well spent? Or is it just eating up time with little results to show for it?
Is two hours even enough? And what should you be doing during those two hours?
If you don’t have confidence in your own social media capabilities, or if you find that it just seems to be eating up too much of your time, you might want to consider outsourcing it.
+What Companies Should Outsource Social Media?
You should outsource social media if you lack either the expertise or the time to run your social media campaigns. You need to be at a stage of your business at which it actually makes sense to hire an outside company to do this for you. If you can’t afford to spend a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars a month on social media, it might not be the right solution for you.
However, if you are willing to outsource the work inexpensively on the top outsourcing sites, this may be an economical solution in the long run, since it will allow you to focus on profit creation, not a dozen different social media sites.
+Strategy & Setup vs. Running the Show
There are two different kinds of outsourcing you can do with social media. First, you can outsource only the strategy development and the setup. For example, they might help you setup a Facebook page, a Twitter page, design your Facebook backgrounds and so on.
Then they’ll help walk you through the various strategies and tactics you can employ to build your brand and get traffic and hopefully sales from your social media participation. Once you’ve come up with the strategies and tactics together, the consultant steps out of the picture. You will be doing the actual implementation.
The benefit to this approach to outsourcing is that there will be no ongoing fee. The downside of course is that you don’t have someone taking care of your social media for you. You will still have to find the time to be able to do it yourself.
The second kind of outsourcing is to hand over the reins to someone else completely. This can cost more, depending on who you hire, but it can relieve you of the pressure of having to participate on the social networks every day. An overseas outsourcer will work very cheaply and you can find them at elance and odesk.
But if you feel as we do that you want to hire people in your own country to provide economic stimulus, check out the local community colleges and offer them minimum wage for taking care of your social media. You might even be able to find some cool retirees who use Facebook a lot who might be interested in some extra money, or stay at home parents.
Make sure that you discuss what success metrics are before you start an outsourcing relationship. Is a successful campaign one that generates followers? Or is it one that results in actual leads and sales being generated? Decide for each campaign you run and be sure all of your tracking and testing is set up correctly.
Is there a “failure point” at which you decide the Return on Investment (ROI) isn’t strong enough? For example, if you’re spending $1,000 a month for 6 months and can’t top 10,000 followers, you will need to make a decision either to hire a new outsourcer or try a different approach.
Outsourcing social media can help free up time and bring in the right expertise and level of interest in social networking into your business, but you do need to make sure that you know when you are winning and when you are losing. Make sure that you have goals and metrics set up from the beginning, and pick the model of outsourcing that makes the most sense to your business.
About the Author
Joan Mullally has been selling successfully on the Internet since 1996. She is the author of over 50 how to guides on marketing and small business topics.