Social Media Marketing for Small Business

When is it Time to Outsource Social Media to an Agency?

As a business consultant, many people ask me, “What’s the best approach for small business to get started on social media?”

Using an existing employee seems like a logical approach to most. They see an advantage in keeping it in-house, rather than outsourcing their social media. As a result, the employee would take this on as an additional responsibility in their current role.

Alternatively, they wonder if the better approach is to hire an agency to manage their social media. Previous attempts with staff may have been rather fruitless, time has passed, and they are still not making an impact online. However, an agency could jump-start the process and help make up for lost time.

But the science of online engagement has deepened. As a business owner you need to ask yourself this question, and be truthful:

Do you already have the specific skill sets and resources needed to create social media success within your organization?

An employee not formally trained in digital marketing and social media will struggle to make a rapid impact. That’s because social media is very time consuming and requires special tools, resources, and knowledge. As a result, you will lose more time while your competition continues to outpace you. Social platforms are maturing, competition is intense, and the longer you wait the more difficult it will be.

It sounds like we may be saying to not use an employee in the social media management role.

But that’s not it at all. In fact…

We encourage a social media partnership

Your current employees can be groomed to take on a strategic role in overseeing social media. And this, in turn, can produce a strong partnership with your social media agency.

Think about it: A highly motivated employee can provide valuable input during the strategy development. He or she can ensure that the content plan dovetails with the company’s internal promotional calendar. That person can also spot opportunities to demonstrate the company’s values through your social media efforts.

When you hire an agency to manage your social media, it’s a smart management practice to provide a key company contact. This person should be an in-house resource that has the time and interest to fill the role, full time. It’s best to find someone who is motivated and available to work with the agency and can grow professionally through the process.

Together we can create a stronger impact. And then we can help your team become more knowledgeable digital marketers.

As a top social media marketing agency, we encourage a collaborative approach. By working with a social media consultant your current team can level up their marketing skills. This makes your in-house social media manager more valuable to your company, and more engaged in your mission.

To be successful with social media you must have a clear strategy and the time to dedicate to it. However, small businesses typically don’t have the time to devote to a proper social media marketing strategy. This is usually because daily operational challenges take a higher priority.

If you’re looking to take your social media marketing to the next level, take a look at these compelling reasons to hire a social media agency:

Access deep expertise

Managing a business social media page is not the same thing as managing a personal social media profile. Therefore there are some very important questions that must be addressed:

  • How will social media help achieve your business goals?
  • How will you measure ROI?
  • Where will your best content come from?
  • How will you be different from your competition?
  • How do you execute on multiple social networks?
  • Should you use the same content across your social media accounts?
  • What are the best tools to schedule and deliver across multiple platforms?
  • How do you use keyword targeting to align SEO and social media strategies?
  • How will you drive traffic from social to your website?

What’s more, being active in today’s online world is demanding. A recent survey revealed that 90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. Do you have time for that?

That’s what it takes to succeed on social media. And that’s why this is one of the biggest reasons to hire a social media marketing agency.

Social media marketing requires special skills and experience to make a measurable business impact. In other words, hiring an agency allows you to focus on what you do best: running your business.

Project a positive brand image by staying relevant

Your social media agency will research competition and relevant trends in your industry. From this, they develop both a strategy and content plan. Both the content and strategy are designed to showcase your company as an industry leader.

In 2018 there were over 25 million social network users in Canada. An incredible 19 million of them were accessing Facebook, and 14 million of those were accessing it daily. That means a lot is happening on social media. It also means you need to be in the conversation if you don’t want to be left behind.

Implement a professional social media strategy

An effective strategy, created by experienced experts, will set you on a path for steady online growth.

As part of creating your social media strategy, your agency does many other things. These might include:

  • Creating content across a range of topics and themes to engage your target audiences.
  • Scheduling and publishing it across the relevant social media platforms.
  • Replying to incoming social media posts & engaging with followers.
  • Industry research, industry related news.
  • Reviewing social media analytics.
  • Researching new influencers to connect with.
  • Performance tracking, monthly reporting and client follow up.

An agency will establish your brand on social media with professional content. Then they will guide strategy development and provide ongoing community engagement.

What is the  difference between social media management and community management?

Social media management involves creating and distributing content across multiple platforms and monitoring it day to day.

Community management is about driving growth and online engagement. Once your social media presence is established, attention then turns to creative and sophisticated ways to continue to drive growth. We also begin to identify and seek engagement with brand advocates, and to develop brand evangelists. Check out this description of the work involved with community management.

Below is a list of the 5 essential elements that we use for successful social media community engagement:

  1. Follower Acquisition & Content Development
  2. Social Customer Care
  3. Crisis Management
  4. Follower Retention
  5. Advocacy

Community management as a strategy

A business in the early stages of developing a social media presence should be focused on building a follower base. Once the base has been developed, new strategies for engagement must be employed. Community engagement provides these new tools and strategies.

Every business challenge is different and can be difficult to navigate. Therefore your strategy must adapt and evolve. One of these adaptations is advocacy and influencer marketing.

When you take time to discover your super fans and brand advocates, you will uncover opportunities to develop micro-influencers. This strategy isn’t just for the big guys!

Let’s take a closer look.

We live in an era where some of the most valuable brands erode loyalty and brand equity with poor customer care. As a result, there are increasing examples of brands missteps. But these highly publicized stumbles can serve as a learning ground for the implications of our vertically integrated and socially connected business processes.

Check out our Community Management Services page for a more detailed explanation of this concept.

Crisis management in a social media era

Do you remember back in 2017, when Uber drivers participated in the JFK protest? It was meant to criticize the Trump travel ban. The taxi cabs created a logjam at the airport, which triggered the Uber system to activate surge pricing. Consequently, the whole thing went viral and spawned the #DeleteUber movement.

For the first time, their rival saw its downloads surpass Uber’s, as a direct result of the hashtag. After that, Uber had a social media crisis on its hands.

In another 2017 new story, United Airlines suffered the mother of all social media crises. A video of law enforcement officers forcibly dragging a passenger off one of its planes went viral. Similarly to Uber, United Airlines was dealing with this social media crisis for months!

And then there was the time Pepsi got called out for racism over social media in their 2017 commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. They were heartily criticized for trivializing demonstrations, suggesting that protesters and police would get along better if they drank Pepsi.

Thanks to the pervasiveness of social media in our lives, these scenarios are becoming more common. Customers do not hesitate to share their frustrations online, and for businesses there is no hiding from it. Therefore it’s easy for companies find themselves in a social media crisis that can damage profits and brand image.

Social media agency as partner in a crisis

A social media agency can provide a crisis protocol with guidelines for staff and the agency. Which means they can rapidly get to work in containing a social media crisis.

What’s more, an agency partner can work proactively to prevent a small issue from becoming big. We now have the ability to listen, monitor, and analyze audience behaviour, gain consumer feedback, and then work to improve existing relationships.

Companies who establish leads on social media platforms win. By fostering customer loyalty at every stage, we work to gain competitive advantage and to strengthen brand awareness and loyalty.

Working as a team with your social media marketing agency enables you to recognize and activate these opportunities.

Tap latest online tools from your Social Media Agency

Getting hacked online is a crisis that more companies are experiencing every day. As your agency we take proactive steps to protect your brand online by eliminating suspect connections.

Ask yourself how many fake or inactive accounts, bots, spam, and propaganda have connected with your online profiles? In other words, how many of your social connections are real?

We can use a multitude of tools to help you stay ahead of a crisis. For instance, check out Sparktoro’s Fake Followers Audit, a free tool that can help you analyze the health of your Twitter account.

As your social media agency, we hear about these new tools first. And if we are working together, that can give you a first-movers advantage. You show your industry and followers that you are a forward-moving organization. You’ve got your finger on the pulse of this fast moving, dynamic industry.

Above all, that’s good for your brand. And a challenge for your competitors.

Let’s sum up the benefits of working with a social media marketing agency:

  • Access deep expertise.
  • Groom employees for a more strategic, valuable role in your company.
  • Project a positive brand image online.
  • Implement a professional social media strategy with the help of experts.
  • Have a team in place to tackle online crisis management.
  • Tap the latest tools, trends and processes with a social media agency.

Now you can see the deep value of working with the expertise of a social media agency. Let’s get you on your way to ground-breaking wins on social media.

Still have questions about outsourcing your social media work? Then book a call for a free consultation and get the answers you need!

You can also sign up for our monthly digital marketing Round-Up to receive ongoing advice!