Social media was once thought to be a fad, but it should be clear to businesses by now that it’s not only not going anywhere, but it’s an important means of communicating and engaging with customers—and even being found by them. The major sites, like Facebook, are being used almost like search engines for local businesses (stores, restaurants, etc.). Plus, there is the matter of advertising on social media platforms (and how it is both similar and vastly different from organic publishing and engagement).

Getting Help

Managing your social media for your business is (and should be) different from how you use your personal profiles. If you lack experience, time, or know-how, then you can miss opportunities or even cause harm to your business through social media mismanagement. So to maximize your effectiveness, it can be the right choice for your business to outsource social media marketing to a skilled agency when:

  • You need professionals who can consistently tell your brand story without just “selling” or offering special deals.
  • You need a strategy in place so that social media posts aren’t random, infrequent, and/or unplanned.
  • You need experts who can target your audience and prospects according to their demographics and brand relationship, and who can analyze and report on the results.
  • You need advertising specialists who can build effective paid campaigns to support organic efforts.
  • You need dedicated staff to manage your audience—even in “off” hours—but can’t afford a qualified in-house employee.

An experienced social media management agency, or full-service internet marketing company (like PrairieWeb), can help you make the most of the social media platforms out there—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and even niche or industry-oriented networks that are specific to your business type. Just as a restaurant wouldn’t hire a plumber to be head chef, you shouldn’t leave your marketing to a part-time endeavor and should make use of available professional expertise.

Getting Training

Now as a business owner, you may want to control the social media messaging for your brand yourself. Or you may not have the budget for full-time social media management at the agency level. Even if outsourcing is off the table, it doesn’t mean you have to “wing it” when it comes to your social media publishing and advertising. Your brand knowledge and emotional investment give you an advantage, but without some guidance, they can also get you into trouble. You can still get expert advice, instruction, and even ongoing training and review while still retaining full control. Those who’ve “gone before” can help you avoid ineffective strategies and outright pitfalls. You can learn to:

  • Distinguish your business style from your personal social media usage.
  • Write and share content that helps people and motivates engagement, rather than just selling—striking the proper mix between conversation and promotion.
  • Use advertising appropriately, effectively, and profitably.
  • Understand how to measure the performance of your social media activity.

When you consider your marketing—and doing it well—as an investment that is as valuable and necessary as supplies, personnel, and any other business necessity, then you’ll recognize the importance of getting training so you can reap the best results.

Your Ideal Mix

Every aspect of your marketing should have a common brand voice, align with your overall business goals, and be measurable. It doesn’t mean that your approach to all marketing channels has to be identical, or that the same people do all the work. But it does mean that anyone who handles any part of your marketing is aware and informed about what’s going on elsewhere—and that’s true whether they’re in the next office or at another company.

So your ideal mix of marketing efforts may be in-house social media and content writing (blog posts, etc.) with periodic consultation and training, plus outsourced SEO, PPC, and reporting. You might even bring in another 3rd party production team for video ads, promos, or live streaming.

Examine your business goals, assets on hand, and don’t be afraid to bring in some pros at least for a consultation. A solid strategy combined with the right people in the right roles (whether internal or outsourced) will be your best recipe for success.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash