Small business owners juggle many different duties as they navigate the challenging waters of running their own company. And no matter how proficient they are at a single or several different responsibilities, there are still many tasks that require the expertise of outside sources. However, budgetary constraints often times force owners to perform these duties without the full understanding of what an expert brings to the table to improve their company, as well as the detriment of not doing it properly. Social media marketing is one solution that can drive customer and revenue growth of a small business, but it has to be implemented and managed the right way in order to take advantage of all the benefits it offers.
What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
The goal of SMM is to use social networking websites as a marketing tool by producing content users can share in their network so a business can increase its brand exposure while expanding customer reach. But, the process has to be natural so as not to alienate the audience that is being targeted, or be shunned from a social community a company is trying to gain access to.
When properly implemented, SMM connects customers and businesses in a reciprocal relationship that benefits both parties.
On the surface SMM looks very easy, because most people think it only involves sending some Tweets, posting a picture, video and an occasional article here and there. If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it successfully, but the fact that there are many companies offering SMM highlights the complexities of the job and the need to outsource the service. With so many providers in the marketplace, small businesses have to do their due diligence in order to find the right company for their organization.
It is therefore essential to thoroughly check the track record of the company you are considering to hire by asking specific questions as it relates to your business. If they are not able to respond with clear, timely and intelligent responses move on to another candidate.
At a minimum, the company should have a social media strategy that answers which outlets should be used, what type of content will be posted, who will provide the content, when and how the updates will be posted, and how will insight and metric analysis be evaluated. With these answers in hand, the only thing left to do is weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing SMM for your company.
It frees up your time so you can really focus on the core competency of your business.
You gain valuable insights that allows you to make changes in real time to adjust to market conditions.
If you are considering an in-house employee to perform the SMM, outsourcing provides more resources for less money with support that far exceeds the 9 to 5 performance of a single person.
You might lose the voice of your brand if you are not delivering the content. This is especially true for small companies that want to foster personal relationships with their customers.
Customer interaction can be slower because of the wall a service provider creates.
It can create conflict between in-house marketing campaigns requiring the adjustment of strategies, which can have different objectives.
Because every business has its own set of dynamics, owners have to make informed decisions after thoroughly evaluating their needs and determining whether any particular solution can add value to the organization. Social media marketing is a time-consuming endeavor requiring a lot of resources and many different expertise, but it is increasingly becoming a key tool in today?s digitally driven business environment. If the social presence of your company is important to you, finding the right balance with an internal and external social media marketing strategy can address the concerns both options fail to meet.