Frequently Asked Social Media Questions from Businesses Like YOU
What are the benefits linked to social media?
Social media has changed the way businesses market to consumers. Potential
clients can now find all the information they need with just the click of a mouse.
Creating a social media presence for your business allows you to connect with consumers in a more personal way than traditional media allowed for. It also allows you to meet them on their terms and in the location they feel most comfortable spending time.
How much does it cost to outsource social media?
Whether your organization is made up of you and your cat, or you have 100 employees, you may not have the ability to hire a marketing team, and yet you know you need someone dedicated to getting your brand known on the social web. When you start a business, you may have more time than money and you will wear many hats. When you get to a point where you need to hire help, many times marketing is an area that you can get great expertise and return for your investment. How much you spend on marketing depends on what you want someone to help you with. Here are some of the things that will determine your costs:
- Who will be providing the content? You might be looking to outsource or hire
someone to help you because you just don’t have the time to write content each day. If you are hiring
someone to write original content, such as blog posts and social media posts, you will pay more than if
you write all of the content and have someone else schedule it into a social marketing dashboard.
- How many social media platforms do you need to be present on? If you feel that you
just want to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter that will cost less than if you want campaigns and
content to run on Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Vine. The more platforms you want
to have content created for, the more money it will most likely cost you.
- What type of advertising should I do? There’s a big difference between promoting a
post on Facebook and running targeted ads to drop into the newsfeed of everyone in your exact target
market, or to have an unpublished post ad show in the newsfeed of anyone who has ever visited your
website before. Just like running Google Ads, the more targeted approach is going to take a level of
expertise that the “fresh-out-of-college-student” or “throw-this-to-my-receptionist” may not have.
- Why is there a huge price difference in social media outsourcing packages? When you
see pricing in the range of $300-$500 a month for social media help, you are likely getting a “presence
package.” This is where you have a few posts, usually featuring content from your website or other pre-
written content that you have provided, on one or two social platforms. This is a good level for someone
who doesn’t need a lot of brand monitoring or engagement, but just wants to make sure if someone
searches for them on, say, Facebook, they will find you and see that you have content that is recently
posted. If you want a full-service agency approach, you could be paying $1,000 a month or higher, but
you will be getting someone (or a team of people) who will get to know you, your brand, your voice and
the market you are trying to reach. They should be writing content and crafting social media posts with
very little assistance from you. At this level, you should be getting a marketing partner who is able to
assess the platforms you should be present on, help you design campaigns to reach your target market,
and write content that attracts the traffic you desire.
Once you have identified your marketing needs, and have looked at how much you are allotting for your marketing budget, you will be able to start assessing different options, including whether you would outsource some of your marketing or do it yourself.
Should you outsource content marketing or do it yourself?
- This is the million dollar question. It’s like asking if you should change your own oil in your
car, or do your own bookkeeping. If you ask my father, he would say of course you should do these things
yourself and you’d be a fool to let anyone else touch your car or your books! When running a successful
business, you will hit a point when you can’t, nor should you, do everything yourself. You will need to
either hire someone to help you, or outsource pieces to experts who can bring you more expertise and
results than you could ever do on your own. Marketing companies, and social media marketing companies,
spend all of their time in this arena, learning daily about new tools, best practices and consumer
behavioral changes. Even hiring a single person limits you because this person will look to you, many
times, for guidance in the ever-changing social marketing environment.
- Your level of involvement with the social media team you hire depends on the amount of time you
are able to allot. It is best to look at your marketing team or individual as a partner in your
business’s success, and not a vendor, hired to make something happen apart from you. When you involve
your marketing team in event plans, new product or service releases, conferences you are attending,
challenges you are experiencing, and more, you will have someone to brainstorm ideas with, someone to
offer suggestions and best practices that will bring about the success you are looking for. Just because
you outsource your social media marketing, doesn’t mean you cannot work closely with them to ensure your
business goals are met.
What pieces of my social marketing and content creation can I outsource?
When looking to hire help with your marketing there are many areas to consider. Have someone just help you write great web copy to freshen up your website so it is attracting more targeted traffic or write blog posts that are loaded onto your site each week to ensure you have lots of relevant content coming from your website to attract that inbound sale. You might just want someone who can help with monitoring your brand and keeping on top of responding to comments and questions that come in on all of the social networks like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and more. You can outsource it all or just pieces. It’s really a matter of knowing what do you enjoy doing, or where your time is best spent, and then outsourcing the other pieces. If you love writing and want to produce a blog post each day or each week so your customers and prospective customers are hearing from you, perhaps you hire someone who can take your post, tag it, add a photo and meta-description, load it to your website, and then magnify it across all of the social channels to drive more readers to it. If you are comfortable in front of a camera, why not create a video message or audio podcast and then hire someone to help you edit the video, transcribe that piece of content into written words and break it into pieces to drive more traffic to your site through those social media channels. Video content goes a long way, since it is more “findable” on Google searches, and if you load the transcription into the video file, you are doubling the SEO power for that video. Perhaps hiring someone who can simply help you produce a weekly “show” to use in answering customer and potential customer questions is your best bet. The possibilities are endless. Ask lots of questions when hiring someone.
What does a social media management company do?
The words “social media” are evolving. Eight years ago when social media was in its infancy, everyone hung a shingle out calling themselves social media “experts.” This usually meant they were on Facebook before you and they knew what the word “hashtag” meant. Creating a Facebook page and loading pretty pictures (while important to know how to do) does not make one a social media management company or expert. Most businesses understand the concept of social today, but they need help on the many facets that are involved in creating a more social business that is attracting more customers. A blog is one of your most important inbound marketing pieces you can invest in. Not only is it a place where people can read and interact with your content, making it social, but it should be providing the answers to the questions that people are typing into Google (or other search engines…if there are still people using those other search platforms). Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, are platforms where you can share content and people can choose to engage with that content and ask questions or share opinions. It is important to make sure you don’t just open an account on these sites and then ignore them. You will need someone who can post regular content, monitor comments and questions that come in and of course to work to grow the communities on the network. A social media management company will typically manage all or part of these areas within your company to help you attract more customers, or members, help spread awareness of your brand, and assist in telling the story of your brand through photos, examples, and even the stories of others interacting with your brand. A social media management company might simply write and post content on platforms of your choice. Some will help you grow your community by proactively finding and connecting you with individuals and organizations that are best suited for your brand. Some will help you identify key words and phrases that people are searching for and incorporate those into all of your content. Some will help you write web copy and blog posts to attract inbound sales traffic. And then some will do it all.
How can an outside company blog for someone else?
When a woman carries a baby for nine months and finally gives birth, she is not so willing to
let just anyone hold that baby, let alone take the baby home with them. (Unless it’s your third or
fourth child, then you might be a bit more willing—HA!) Owning and running your own business is a lot
like having a child; you nurture the business, you put your heart and soul into the business and no one
will know the business better than you do. It is hard to bring someone in from the outside and allow
them to have input on raising your baby. Asking someone to help you blog or write copy for your
marketing can seem like an impossible task, but if you make sure you have a strategy, and you take the
time to educate the writer on your personality, the personality of the company, and the type of people
you are trying to attract to your site, it will help build a wonderful partnership that will prevent
your baby from shriveling up and dying. Because of the way consumers search for, and find solutions to
their problems online today, your goal should be putting out helpful and interesting content to reach
new customers as often as you can. You have to start writing and pumping out content and don’t stop.
Perhaps you can write one post a month and have someone else provide three or four additional posts to
help you beef up the content that your site has going out. Waiting until you have the time to write
posts will cause a bottle neck and you will never get new content out. Old websites are static and
stale. They smell like my grandmother’s house. You need your site to be a resource. A living, breathing,
fresh source of helpful information and answers to questions your target market is asking. One of the
things a blog should do, is answer the most common questions you get from your prospective customers. If
you aren’t sure what those questions are, start asking people you currently serve and those you would
like to serve. “What questions do you have about our industry?” “What would you say are the top two or
three questions people are wanting to know about this industry?” You also want to ensure you are
providing content that humans actually search for (not just keyword stuffed content for Google bots).
Many blogs are filled with useless content that contain so many keywords that the content no longer
makes sense to human brains. Write content that is helpful and relevant for the audience you are trying
to attract. So if you are hiring someone to blog for you, take the time to share these things with them.
Make sure they understand and then, like hiring a nanny to help you with your new baby, be willing to
coach, offer suggestions and participate along the way.
What is the difference between a marketing agency and a social media agency?
It can be confusing today with all the different terms out there: Social media, social media
marketing, social media management, internet marketing and more. If someone only handles social media,
it may mean they only post short pieces of content on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. They
may ask you to provide the content and they will simply post it or schedule it for you. Some will
monitor questions or comments that come in on those posts and some do not. A marketing agency, (and some
think of the old advertising agency model, like Mad Men) might be focused on print or television media
as well as coming up with campaign ideas. If you are like most organizations, you might need a bit of
each. You want someone to help you come up with creative ways to reach your ideal customers, write or
produce the content that appeals to these customers and follow this all the way through from content to
results. It’s important to ask lots of questions when looking to hire someone to help you with your
marketing. Some think if they hire a marketing or social media company, customers will walk in the door
to make a purchase the next day. While this certainly can happen, it’s like saying you heard a
commercial or saw an article in a magazine today and immediately went out to buy the item advertised.
Unless you are really hungry and just watched a commercial for a big juicy burger or VooDoo donuts, the
reality is, making a sale takes time. Marketing is about making a connection with people; a connection
via content that can be written, recorded on video or audio, or even through a simple photo that
disappears in 10 seconds (SnapChat). After this initial connection is made, a relationship is hopefully
started and through more exposure to your content, this relationship is nurtured and you continue to
provide value and information until the person feels that you are the answer they have been searching
for. This could take hours, days or years, depending, typically, on your sales cycle, the price point of
your product or service and when each person actually has a need. The more targeted your content is
(meaning, you shouldn’t be posting your content on LinkedIn if you are trying to reach teens, and
running ads for a high end luxury car during Judge Judy may not be the best use of your marketing
dollars), the quicker the return will be on your investment. Many marketing agencies have had to adapt
and begin using the new tools of the day with social media, and many early social media management
companies have to step back and make sure they are incorporating a more holistic marketing approach that
goes beyond a few posts on Facebook. Take time to decide what you need to grow your business and make
sure you are hiring a person or company that will partner with you to make that happen.
How will an agency make my social media successful?
Social Media Marketing teams specialize in the art of sharing content, being passionate about
your business and letting your message shine through across your social sites. Unlike the individual
business owner, social media specialists know how to connect with influencers consistently, driver
conversations, engage with those most demographically likely to purchase your product or services.
Agencies are able to see your services not just through your eyes, but that of your consumers. They know
how to keep the tone light, positive and uplifting. Most importantly, they know which content to share
and how to leverage other businesses’ content for your best interest.