Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Should My Small Business Outsource Social Media?

When is the right time to hire a social media agency?

As a business consultant I have been asked a few times what is the best approach for small business to get started on social media. Using an existing employee seems like a logical approach to them. They see an advantage in keeping it in-house, rather than outsource social media. 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 have been rather fruitless, time has passed, and they are still not making an impact online. And an agency can jump-start the process to make up for lost time.

The science around online engagement has deepened.  Ask yourself this question, and be truthful: Do the specific skill sets and resources to create success with social media exist within your organization? An employee not formally trained in digital marketing and social media will struggle to make a rapid impact. Plus, social media is very time consuming and requires tools and resources. You will lose more time while your competition will continue to outpace you. The platforms are maturing, competition is intense, and so the longer you wait the more difficult it will be.

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

We’re not. Read on….

We encourage a social media partnership

Your current employee 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 into the strategy development. He or she can ensure that the content plan dovetails with the company’s internal promotional calendar. And that person can also spot opportunities to demonstrate via social  the company’s values and commitment to community building.

When you hire an agency to manage your social media, it is smart management practice to provide an in-house resource that has the time and interest to be the company key contact. Find someone who is motivated and available to work with the agency and they can grow professionally through the process. Together we can create a stronger impact. As a leading social media agency with years of consulting experience, we know how to help groom your team to become more knowledgable in digital marketing.

As a top social media marketing agency we encourage a collaborative approach. It enables the client’s current team to level up their marketing skills by working with a social media consultant.  And this makes your employee, in a social media manager role, more valuable to your company, and more engaged to your mission.

To be successful with social media you must have a clear strategy and the time to dedicate to it. Small businesses typically don’t have this time to devote because daily operational challenges take a higher priority. So if you’re looking to take your social media marketing to the next level, here are some of the main reasons to consider hiring 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.  Consider some very important questions that must be addressed:

  • How will social media help achieve your business goals?
  • What are the ways you will measure ROI?
  • Where will the best content to stand out from your competition come from?
  • How do we execute on multiple platforms, and should we use the same content be used?
  • What are the best tools to schedule and deliver across multiple platforms?
  • Keyword targeting to align SEO and social media strategies
  • How will we drive traffic from social to our website?

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

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.  Have you got time for that? It is what it takes to succeed on social, and is one of the reasons to hire a social media marketing agency.

Project a positive brand image by staying relevant

Your social media agency will research competition and relevant trends in your industry. They develop both a strategy and content plan. The content and strategy will showcase your company as an industry leader.

In 2017 there were almost 23 million social network users in Canada. An incredible 84% of them were accessing Facebook, and half of those were accessing it daily. A lot is happening on the social platforms and you need to be in the conversations to not get 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.

There are other tasks for your social media agency, in addition to creating the social media strategy. Here is a list of them:

  • 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. And 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. Here is a more specific job description of the work this involves. 

Community management is about driving growth and online engagement.  Once you have an established social media presence, attention then turns to creative and sophisticated ways to continue to drive growth. At this stage we begin to identify and seek engagement with brand advocates, and to develop brand evangelists. Here is a link to a 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

We discuss this in detail on our  Community Management Services page of our website.   A business is in the early stages of developing a social media presence is focused is on building a follower base. Once there is a follower base, new strategies around engagement must be employed. Community engagement provides these new tools and strategies. The business challenges are different, and more complex to navigate. And so the strategy must evolve.

One of these areas 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. So the strategy is not just for the big guys.

Let’s take a closer look.  We live in an era where some of the biggest most valuable brands erode loyalty and brand equity with poor customer care. There are increasing examples of brands mis-steps.  These  highly publicized stumbles serve as a learning ground for the implications of our vertically integrated and socially connected business processes.

Crisis management in a social media era

Do you recall how in 2017 Uber drivers participated in the JFK protest? It was meant to criticize the Trump travel ban.  The taxi cabs created a lock-jam at the airport, which triggered the Uber system to activate surge pricing. 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 #DeleteUber movement. 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 dragging a passenger forcibly off one of its planes went viral. United Airlines was dealing with this social media crisis for months!

And Pepsi got called out for racism over social media in their 2017 commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. They were heartily  criticised for trivialising demonstrations suggesting that protestors and police would get along better if they drank Pepsi.

Thanks to the pervasiveness of social media in our lives, these scenarios are in part becoming more common. Customers do not hesitate to share their frustrations online and for businesses, there is no hiding from it. And 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 agency. And they can rapidly get to work in  containing a social media crisis.

And having an agency partner on board can work proactively to prevent a small issue from becoming a big issue.  We now have the ability to listen, monitor, and analyze audience behaviour, gain consumer feedback, and work to improve existing relationships.

Companies who establish a lead 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. Here is an example! Ask yourself how many fake accounts, inactive accounts, bots, spam, and propaganda have connected with your online accounts?

Here’s a brand new tool that enables you to stay ahead of a crisis.  Sparktoro’s Fake Followers Audit is a new tool  that’s free. It that can help you analyze the health of your Twitter account. Check it out!

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 with your finger on the pulse of this fast moving, dynamic industry. 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 valued 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 hopefully see the deep value and expertise of working with a social media agency. Let’s get you on your way to ground-breaking wins on social media.