When it comes to playing the social media game, what’s the best combination of talents to create a winning strategy and team? Of course, you can beg the question and just keep punting… but that’s not really going to get you very far. Did you know we spend 22% of our internet time on social media? Of marketers today, according to a report by Social Media Examiner, 28% outsource social media management – double the 14% who did so in 2010. This is no longer child’s play. As we enter the New Year, I would suggest it’s time for the mindless punting to stop.
First, it’s time to get in the game if you’re not already. In Should Social Media Be Outsourced , a post by Neal Shaffer of Windmill Networking (now SVP of 5150), he makes the point that millions of people participate daily in social media. Social media is the most popular online activity in the world; using social media platforms to market your business is plain and simple, a smart move.
It’s important to assess your ability (or lack thereof) to commit the kind of time and personnel required to manage a full-force social media campaign for your brand. Most nonprofits cannot afford this, nor do they have the required expertise on staff.
It’s logical to recruit a good team to create some wins on your behalf and build your social presence. But… slow down! Building a team does not mean running out and buying a fully formed franchise, lock, stock and barrel. That would be buying someone else’s brand. You want to promote your brand – just with the addition of a robust, well-integrated social media component. Before you sign over your social presence to an outside provider, consider their role – and yours.
Social media outsourcing can save you time and energy. But only if you’re clear about roles and responsibilities from the outset. Who comes up with the campaign ideas? Who writes the copy and selects the visuals? Who selects/implements the technology? Who actually launches the communications? Who analyzes the results? Countless hours can be lost through lack of clarity, and you may find yourself revisiting the same issues over and over again. Worse still, you may overlook important steps because the right hand thought the left hand was taking care of that.
Hiring a great right hand can be a smart move. Just understand you’ve only hired one body part; you still must lead with your head and your heart. Only you know your core competencies. The knowledge and passion you have is what makes your brand resonate. The knowledge and passion your partner has will give your brand wings. A social media specialist will have core competencies that support your efforts and enable you to effectively execute consistent, multi-channel marketing.
Staying competitive in our digitally evolving world is challenging. Using an outside vendor for social media can help assure you stay at the top of your game. Talk with any potential hire about what they bring to the table, and what you bring as well. Suggest they set you up, train your staff and offer ongoing support as needed. The goal is to get to the point where you may still require some outside help, but less of it as your own staff begins to understand and embrace the process.