ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON FORBES
BY GARY VELA
As the owner of a new business, you're constantly searching for ways to increase your brand reach and ensure your company remains relevant in the market. You've got to use the resources available to you if you're going to be effective. Not using social media to improve customer engagement is like putting a doorstop in front of the door to your business. You're limiting your business to keep growing and, what's worse, you may not even realize it until it's too late.
While you can easily manage a small account on your own — at first, at least — as your enterprise grows, so will the need for multiple channels. And the more work you do, the less time you'll have to do it (or to do the rest of your work). For a business to manage its social media marketing effectively, it has to maintain engagement in a practical, sustainable manner.
This is where an in-house or outsourced expert can come in. Besides understanding how your enterprise is perceived by target audiences, experts should work to simplify logistics and harness a company's advertising potential. More importantly, they should take this work away from their managers and the rest of the company.
The end result of a dedicated social media team? When done well, better visibility, more chances of trending and associated increases in revenue. But is it time to hire a social media manager? Let's take a closer look at when you might want to consider hiring help:
You see social media as an 'on the side' job.
According to research, consumers who have had positive social media service engagements spend an average of 30% more with that business annually. Of course, this kind of result doesn't happen by mistake. You need a carefully crafted strategy, both so you can post consistently and so that you can interact with visitors in a way that benefits everybody involved.
The only thing worse than no social media strategy is an inefficient one. You might spend hours creating outreach programs, only to discover your posts aren't actually getting any halfway decent attention. And that's just time lost at that point.
Campaigns like GE's #6secondscience Vine videos or Dove's famous 2016 #mybeautymysay campaign were extensive and required a lot of planning from a full-fledged team. This is social media strategizing at its best because it knows one thing: that truly effective social media management doesn't happen on the side of your regular business operations.
Using a pervasive social media campaign with a running theme, a good social team reinforces a brand, moving from YouTube to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and, more recently, even TikTok.
The all-in retargeting approach — something I've put a lot of focus on in my years in digital marketing — puts clients front and center. In as little as a few weeks of targeted work, measurable traffic should result from social media work.
You don't have enough time to stay on top of evolving social media trends and changes.
Maintaining a competitive edge via social media marketing can be tricky, especially without going over-budget. Just last year, Facebook incorporated updates that drastically decreased the organic reach of businesses. Dozens of corporations turned to social media ads.
If you've lost more money than you actually spent on ads, or simply never found out about these opportunities to begin with, it's probably time to hire an expert. It's a social media expert's job to stay abreast of any changes that could impact your promotion efforts. Combining creative web design, content writing and video for a more captivating end product, a worthy expert capitalizes on timing by posting updates on the latest developments in your industry, as needed. This is how posts can go viral, and we all know the benefits of virality in business marketing.
You're unable to objectively pinpoint what is and isn't working.
Posting daily, with reactions, responses, comments and sharing, is a reliable way to build up your online foundation. But fledgling business owners can be too close to the business to see the smaller cracks in their marketing plans. This makes making sound judgments difficult, and social media marketing is no different.
If this sounds familiar, bringing in a dedicated expert to focus on the bigger picture and provide an outsider's perspective can prove invaluable. Find an expert who can determine things like whether your response time is lacking or if you should post more visual content. They should be able to determine what the reading level of your content should be and what type of calls to action will increase sales.
Additionally, social media experts with comprehensive digital marketing experience can harness potential emerging social media platforms outside of the standard Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It's their job to work within your industry, either implementing a far-reaching plan all at once or gradually increasing your social media presence from just a few platforms to a full range of avenues, all with specific access to your target audience.
Each step in the growth of your social media presence is also tied to the securing of your ROI within that platform, to the point where you want someone who isn't going to move onto the next before the previous is already taken care of. By the time you're fully built out, your budget will be less of a concern than a foregone conclusion. And you might never have known it without an outsider's perspective. In digital marketing, we see this kind of thing play out all the time.
The days of social media being optional for business are ancient history. What's important now is getting as much as you can from these market-rich platforms without taking too much away from your regular duties.