A few weeks ago I received a text message from a small business owner I had met a few times, but didn’t know all that well. She was feeling overwhelmed and under-educated about social media and wanted to know if I would take her on as a management client. She has an amazing line of natural, locally made beauty products and was in the process of scaling up her business. However, she had a backlog of products she was feeling pressured to sell and because her time was being spent on the scaling of the business, she hadn’t had anyone looking after the social media marketing for a while. Her content would be easy…she has goats! Goats are the new cats on social media.
What were the things I considered in deciding whether or not to sign this client? Did I sign this client?
She had previously hired an agency that did some work, but didn’t feel they were really helping her build her profile. When it comes to social media marketing services, you get what you pay for. If you go for one of those $99 a month deals I occasionally see, you’re going to get the same content as their 500 other clients, it won’t be customized and it won’t be branded. Content like that is filler. Step it up to a few hundred a month and you should at least get some personalization on your content–maybe even some simple branded graphic design. However if you really want someone to make you look good, espouse your brand voice, and create lots of unique content, it’s going to cost you more than a few hundred dollars.
You can save yourself a lot of money by managing your own social media marketing, but you must weigh the opportunity cost. Forbes magazine recently said it takes an average of 32 hours per month to manage a social media profile! Remember, that’s an AVERAGE, but it can take you a few hours per week, especially in the beginning, to do social media properly. If you spend four hours per week doing social media, what are you giving up in terms of sales or your hourly consulting cost? That’s the opportunity cost. Is it worth it to you to spend your time on it, or is it more cost effective to hire someone else?
This client did not live nearby. It is not a place I would be able to visit on a regular basis. That means any video or photo work would have to be done by them and sent to me. It’s not so much that your social media consultant needs to live in your city, but if you want them to take on the role of capturing photos and videos, it sure makes more sense. By the time they send me photos every week, explain what’s happening and who is in them, they probably could have posted the photos themselves, and even scheduled some social media content to come out later.
If your business is going to be based on custom photography and videos of things happening on your premises, it can be easier to simply do it yourself. You will always be there for the unexpected goat birth, or someone’s surprise engagement, or that funny thing that happened the other day in your store. A social media consultant simply cannot always be there and will naturally miss out on these very important social media opportunities.
On a Facebook Live I did recently I discussed hiring someone to manage your social media. I was asked if I’d be interested in doing social media marketing for the Seaport BeerFest. Sounds like a great gig, doesn’t it? I mean, who wouldn’t want to get paid to drink beer?
I don’t drink beer.
I hate beer.
Could I do the job? Sure! I could build them a strategy for promoting the event, sponsors, vendors, entertainment. I could even attend the event and take photos, do live hits, create stories. But I wouldn’t have any PASSION for the event. None of it would be AUTHENTIC.
Nobody will ever be as passionate about your business as you are. Passion isn’t something you can train, or teach or instill in someone. I am very passionate about teaching entrepreneurs to use social media. I could hand over a lesson plan to an associate, but that doesn’t mean they will share my passion.
Closely related to passion is knowledge. If you’re working in a highly scientific, financial or technical industry, is it reasonable to assume a social media assistant is going to be able to create content and engage with your audience? There are always unicorns out there who can do it, but not every business owner can find their unicorn.
If you have to spend hours rewriting blog posts to make them technically correct, or you have to explain the formulas behind mortgage financing on a weekly basis, you need to weigh the opportunity cost of outsourcing your social media work. Of course a smart, savvy social media assistant can learn, and may well be able to learn all the ins and outs of your highly technical service offering, but is there a way to train them in a reasonable way? Do you have the time and patience to do it? Are you willing to work through the learning curve? Or is there a different way you can work with the assistant to produce the content you want to put out there? There are always ways to do things if you’re willing and able to put in the time.
In addition to all the reasons above, I’m not currently accepting clients for daily social media management services, so I declined the opportunity with the beauty products client. What I did tell her is that I would be happy to work with her virtually to develop a social media strategy, and to train her to manage it efficiently. I even pointed her to some government funding that might assist with the cost. I never want to leave anyone high and dry with no other options. Sometimes the best person to manage social media marketing is YOU.