The first words out of Karen's mouth, when I answered the phone were, “I just can't do it all anymore.” I felt as if I were manning the phones at a crisis hotline. Karen owns and helps run a natural foods company. they make and sell packaged granola, nuts, and other snack foods that are sold in airports and Whole Foods stores. She actually gets into work at 4am to start baking and is there until 10pm doing other business-related activities, including her social media marketing. She was going NUTS! (Pun totally intended)
Are you getting tired of juggling too many activities to keep your business growing? Are sales declining because you don't have time to follow up with hot leads and your marketing has been shelved because your creative brain cells have all been baked and fried? It might be time to bring in some help, and it might be easier than you think. Perhaps you can find a friend or intern to help with a few of the activities, or perhaps you want to outsource the entire kit and kaboodle (Here's what that phrase even means: Kit and Kaboodle).
Let's take a look at some of the specific skills that are involved in content marketing and social media management. This should help you identify the helper you need.
Great website copy is critical to help your site come up in search results. Your site is more than a boring brochure these days. It should be a resource of information and answers to your potential cusotmers most searched for questions. You need to find someone who can, obviously write well–good grammar and spelling–but finding someone who can sound like you is also very important. While your voice or tone for your website can be taught or assigned, you will want to think of things like words you tend to use and phrases that define who you are as a brand. Are you fun and witty? The copy on your website should show that. Are you conservative and professional, then the writing will need to follow that tone.
Ask for some writing samples. Check other pieces of content from your writer that matches or is close to your style. Keep in mind, you can have someone do the heavy lifting on your website copy and then you can “tweak” as needed.
Keep in mind a copywriter is typically not an SEO expert. If you are wanting this person to also go in and load the content and add meta descriptions, links, and tags, you will want to make sure this person understands how to do that. Don't assume a writer knows anything about the backend of a website.
Blogging is becoming more important as content becomes a greater driver of traffic to your site. Gone are the days of just having your site stuffed with keywords that people might search for. Blogs are different from website copy, in that they usually involve research and more specific industry topics rather than information about you and your brand. A blog post is not a promotional piece, it is more informational and educational. Finding someone who can blog for you, or even to augment your occasional blogging, is a great area to outsource. Just like hiring a website copywriter, you will need to have some input, but with guidance they should be able to write interesting and helpful content for a blog post.
You can even schedule a short interview with the blogger once a month and that can be transcribed and turned into blog content, or you can simply allow the person to get to know about your business, your competitors and your industry. With a little research and a little “letting go,” you can have a blog that is filled with wonderful and helpful content, rich keyword phrases and it will be great content to be shared on social media sites and recycled in your email marketing campaigns. Like website copywriting, if you want your blog posts loaded to your site with tags, photos and meta descriptions, be sure to ask about these skills when looking to hire.
When you are busy managing your business, you might not have the time to watch what is going on in the big world wide web. While there are tools like Google Alerts and Mentions that send you notifications when your brand or specific keywords are mentioned on the web, your brand may be larger and require a more diligent and watchful eye. You may need 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. If you are posting content, you want to make sure you are also listening and replying to those you are working hard to connect with. Hiring someone that has great customer service skills is critical. With platforms like Twitter, many disgruntled customers take their complaints to the tweets! Social media’s real-time attributes have resulted in demanding response time expectations — a 2012 study found that 32 percent of customers expect a response within 30 minutes.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
Most people think having someone manage their Facebook page or Twitter account is as easy as throwing a few pictures or status updates up. They bring in their nephew or a friend's daughter who has a Facebook and Instagram account, thinking that is more than qualified. I use a lot of electric gadgets and flip light switches all day, but that does not make me an electrician! Knowing how to load a photo on Facebook is NOT social media management.
The skills you will want to make sure your person possess include, great writing skills, since grammar and spelling are still important in today's business environment. If someone is posting, “How R U doing?” even on Twitter, that should make your skin crawl. You also need someone who understands how to target your messaging and images to attract your ideal customers and stay true to your brand. Images are key to every social media channel today, so knowing how to edit photos to fit the different platforms is a needed skill. Understanding copyright laws as they apply to images and taking someone's intellectual property, are also important in this oversharing world we live in.
There are tools available to make social media management more …manageable, like Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite. These allow you to plan your content ahead of time and schedule posts to drop throughout the week. This will free up some time and allow you to focus on the community involvement on social.
INTERNET or EMAIL MARKETING
Businesses need to combine social, blogging and email marketing to create a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, but this takes a lot of time for sure. Driving traffic from social media to your website, to landing pages, to email signups to eNewsletters, a person could go crazy trying to do it all. You can outsource it all or just pieces. If you are looking for someone to help you with email marketing, you will want them to know how to work in your email tool–Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, just to name a few. If you haven't even set up an email management service, tools like Mailchimp make it very easy with their templates and very low pricing packages.
If you can find someone who has done sales copy in the past, this is a plus. You want to create email campaigns that have strong call-to-actions and copy that converts. This is not your average blogger!
If your goal on social media is to build a community where you can engage with current and potential customers, you will need to spend time being SOCIAL. This means doing more than posting content about you and your brand. It requires you to go onto other people's profiles and other company's pages to read, LIKE and comment there to be engaged in the community. It requires someone spending time looking for others to connect with to ensure your community is growing every day.
Community managers also need customer service skills, since they are representing your brand answering questions both on and off your own pages and profiles. Community management can take the most time since the person has to use search tools to find the right places to visit online, and be sure that those who come to your pages feel as if you are listening to them and valuing their comments and questions.
So you can see, there are many pieces to your content marketing and social media management puzzle. The key is knowing which pieces you can take on yourself, and which pieces you can hire out for. Where is your time best spent? The possibilities are endless. Ask lots of questions when hiring someone. Look for those skills that you either do not have, or do not have time for.
If this post has left you with millions of questions or just in need of a nap, lay down and contact me right away…Let's chat!
Gina is the president at SocialKNX (and she has her team manage some of the pieces that involve numbers and anything requiring an attention to detail). Gina speaks around the globe on today's marketing strategies to keep business relevant and thriving.
Connect with Gina on Twitter –> @GinaSchreck