In the previous article on "why you need a social media manager
" we alluded to something coming of this nature, and we’re starting off with the largest one first, which is: “Why you do even need a social media management solution at all?”
, and its relevance based on the size of your business, and who you’re hoping to attract or communicate with.
Everyone who is anyone is on social media. This isn’t even something people bother to cite anymore because it’s considered to be standard practice. Those who aren’t on social media aren’t trying – it takes very little effort to create a website and plenty can be had for free, and it takes even less to create a social media page – most are easy to set up and use.
If a company – size being irrelevant – is not on social media these days, then they can be perceived as not caring enough to be where the public expects them to be. As far back as 2013, 67% of the public expected business to have a social media presence
. If that’s not compelling enough, over 8 BILLION messages
were shared between businesses and customers last year alone. It’s not enough anymore to simply have a website – the public expects you to have a presence on social media.
This doesn’t mean just creating a social media account and leaving it, either. It is more maintenance, but to not do so is to doom the future as more and more people have increased their expectations from a company in terms of social media presence. It can even come down to which platform you choose to participate in – 71% of Twitter users in 2016 expect a response within an hour
. This is not the case with all platforms.
The entire point is to be there for your public, to have a way to communicate with them directly, without having to go through a phone tree or any other annoyance. It’s generally more cost-effective to have dedicated people handle this – whether in-house or outsourced – but there’s a caveat: when outsourcing it’s vital to ask for writing samples or proof of past work so you can review the quality yourself prior to committing. Many hire non-English speakers whose proficiency is inadequate to serve the needs of a busy social media page, and it makes the company look bad as well.
What works for a company represented by a single individual with a digital product, for example, will not work for a business with physical products and ten employees. A single person may be able to manage their own social media, but many choose not to because doing that correctly is a full-time job on its own.
Add to that the time spent doing the things needed so the business runs at all, and most small business owners opt for social media management solutions
and writing services so they aren’t having to give up too much time to what’s less important than running a business and having a family.
It can be done as easily as hiring the service out to a company, or you can use something which can schedule your posts for you, but you still have full responsibility to create the content and you must set up the times you want it to post.
A company with ten employees selling a physical product needs a bit more in terms of their website, but the social media presence is able to be spread among employees instead of being handled by one person. This lessens the time any one person must spend working on it. Usually, with more employees comes more social media activity – the larger the business, the more presence the public expects you to have, especially to respond to queries / complaints.
Choosing which platform to be on is a big decision to make, and it’s more important to figure out where your clients are first. This sort of data is easily found by looking at your largest competitor and finding out where they are and then where their customers can be found. This is the same pool you need to be part of if you hope to match or even surpass their results.
This does not mean going after another company’s clients. That’s considered a serious offence in business, and a great way to ruin oneself. Rather, it means seeing where those clients are – are they on Twitter? Pinterest? Demographics will tell you where you need to go, as will our past articles. The data is out there, it just depends where the public you’re looking for is.
Other considerations are things like whether you need to be on Instagram
without a physical product or storefront. Instagram is largely image-based, and a company with a digital product or one not easily made attractive through the use of photos (septic system cleaners?) would not generally find a home on Instagram. Sometimes it just makes sense, but it’s become nearly universal to expect a Facebook Page from a company.
Next on the list of expectations is Twitter
– and the others are hit and miss with people, and tend to lean far one way or another depending on the market. You also want to make sure you’re not signing up for more than you’re able to handle with whatever option you choose to handle your social media needs. This goes for everything from post frequency to your estimated budget.
It’s fine to shoot for the moon in the first few months, and to budget for that blastoff – but make sure there is a plan for steady advertising to be spent to see audience numbers grow.
There are generally a few tiers of services out there.
- The first and easiest is a very simple, lightweight platform which schedules posts you create yourself to post when you determine, that you can set-up in advance with various options in terms of templates and other options.
- More advanced versions of this service increase in terms of cost, but will also allow options for responses to inquiries by the customer, including replies to comments publicly on the Page while the business still supplies all images and other information needed to perform the service.
- The highest level is having a social media manager who then uses a social media solution or a team to achieve a whole social media management goal of sourcing content including images, writing original text, replying to comments & direct messages to the Page, and collaborating with the business when and where necessary to keep records up to date & active. This manager is responsible for creating social media goals for things like engagement and will utilize analytics, data from trends, and more to lift a company up to where they ought to be in 2019 and well beyond. This option is by far the most expensive, but it’s a completely hands-free approach where the company can oversee the work without having to worry over it.