Seriously? You must be mad? (she shakes her head in amazement)
Not an option. Absolutely not. No! Never, you say!
Why would I let a stranger drive my social media?
Hum. Yes, why?
Business, like life has 50 shades of subtleties (gray?).
Here are my top 10 reasons on why you should outsource your social media management.
1) Expertise, Knowledge, and Passion
The three parts of a great community manager. Usually, in that order.
Many, many of you are great at social media (because I have seen it), but, not so many many of you are great at getting business from social media (I know because you’ve told me).
You want prospect and leads don’t you? Sales and profits?
Big difference, though, between great at social –vs– great at business, because of social.
A Community Manager has:
- Knowledge – of the tools and extracting the maximum.
- Experience – what not to do and when (often learned through testing and failing) and
- Passion – the inner drive to help and do what is right, even when you don’t feel like it.
We all use Facebook daily, and some of you hourly (oh mmyy).
Community Managers (as social media experts) use those three attributes to nurture community to achieve business goals (bottoms on seats, website visitors, email signups etc.)
Expertise, knowledge, and passion is only valued, however, if better results are achieved.
2) Better Results
Outside experts, are not saddled with sacred cows, internal politics, or ‘not my job’ syndromes.
And outside experts, must respect politics and tread lightly, but, importantly, have a laser focused determination to achieve the results you want (bottoms on seats, website visitors, email signups etc.).
Like the accountant or tax specialists with expert skill sets, a Community Managers uses his/her skills to get results from social media – which you would not get on your own.
Better results, happen in less time and often costing less money then your in-house talent.
3) Time and Money
Is social media the best use of your time? I ask because we all remember the lyric – am I ‘working for my business or working on my business?’
The question to ask, at what point should you ‘buy’ social media management services versus continue to ‘make’, and invest, in social media management and training?
Buy or make – which gives faster results, saves money and time?
I cannot answer, only guide on the benefits (revenue, profits) a social media manager specialist offers.
Part of the base talents a Community Managers brings to the table is deep understanding the rapid changing social media landscape.
The rules of Facebook marketing, like the blowing sands in the Sahara, are unpredictable and consume everything in their path. A Community Manager surfs these shifting sands, keeps engagement in your community moving and always keeps the benefits (revenue, profits) on track.
Knowing which change to ignore and which not to will save you money.
Is social media the best use of your time? Sometimes a fresh set of eyes also helps.
4) Fresh Set of Eyes
Different perspectives, fresh experiences, alternative views, and new knowledge.
A fresh perspective, often, can find answers where others sees problems. Sometimes that perspective is the push needed to get you over the line.
Or the fresh set of eyes can easily nurture your community — from bystanders to engaging supporters to a customer.
A fresh perspective and impetus will also find new and interesting content to share with your community.
5) Content Creation and Curation
Content is that ‘thing’ your community talks about. Content is what you post. Not cat videos (I hope) or mimes or food pictures (unless you are restaurant). But, real, useful content, related to your products/services (and business). Topics your community is passionate about and will talk about.
Content preferably your own is ideal. However, the interest of your community is varied. So should your content. Content curation is a solid tactic to add to your posting strategy.
Content, lest we forget, is the fuel for your social media fire. The fire is likes, comments and shares, LCS.
Poor and dull content puts water on the fire. No fire, no community, no community, and no sales (a viscous circle).
I am not, altruistic, a business needs sales. But, a) do your fans really and truly want your special offer, daily, repeatedly, ad infinitum? Probably, not, and b) Facebook is not your private advertising change (treat your fans poorly and they will ignore you).
Perhaps a bit more creativity than ‘today’s special offer’ is required.
A Community Manager (social media manager) has the process, down cold, of finding quality content, the fuel your community wants to burn.
6) Process and Procedures = Efficient Systems
Flying by the seat of your pants, ad hocisms, and fire-fighting is ok, I guess, as a start up. And, I guess it’s ok for a while after that too, but, after the honeymoon of long nights, long days, and no weekends wears off and the daily daily of social media set in then what?
Expertly crafted processes and procedures is a framework to build your community and your business upon. Content and editorial calendars, personas, posting policies, style guides, lead generation, are the procedures a Community Manager put in place.
Working, daily, in social media marketing requires structures to achieve outcomes and avoid wasting time.
Process and procedures and structures also help to overcome internal politics.
7) Overcome Internal Politics
Business inertia and sacred cows are cultures that are opposite of agile, responsive, and innovative business. You know like start-up business.
People love to protect their patch of ‘land’, each vying for their priorities. Their priorities are not always parallel with the business objectives, unfortunately.
A Community Manager, with processes and procedures, with their fresh perspectives, often, helps to overcome these internal politics and give unbiased FACTS and strategic knowledge to meet everyone’s goals in the RIGHT order.
Would you trust your accounts or your tax affairs to an intern?
No, probably not, why then, would you trust the most important relationship building tool you have to an intern? Sure, the labor is cheap, but, maybe cheap is not what your community needs.
So what happened when the angry customer roars and shouts down at your intern for all to hear? Or posts inappropriate pictures? A Community Manager, has processes and procedures and experience to dealing with these challenging situation. They expertly stay inside bounds of etiquette, will not get flustered in the heat of that battle, and will not ruin your brand and reputation.
9) Keeping up with The Shifting Sand of Facebook Marketing
Facebook ‘rules’ change weekly, it seems. Banning like gating, drop in organic reach, groups and messenger apps on mobile. Not to mention the January (2015) penalty on organic post that are overly promotional.
How can anyone keep up with it all? It is tiring and exhausting and a full time job.
Your Community Manager will weave a path through this field of land mines waiting to explode. Because he/she reads the boring reports, participate in groups and forums dedicated to social media marketing and is up to date and constantly learning.
This skills are the daily normal to a Community Manager. Think of it as his/her party piece.
The sands don’t shifting under the feet of those standing on bedrocks of knowledge (bar an earthquake!)
10) Full Time Community Management
After the ad hoc posting and the honeymoon is looog over and the daily grind begins. What do you post? Where do you find content? How often do you post? How do you foster affinity with your community? How do you generate leads? (remember the real reason of social media).
These basic, and not so simple questions of social media marketing (really) are very easy to get wrong. The, not so simple, answers is the ‘daily normal party piece’ of any community manager worth their weight in salt.
But, why do I need a community and why a community manager?
Your community, is a beacon of hope and light in the vast expanse of the internet. It offers and provides a safe place for people (prospect) and customers to get answers, meet like-minded people and learn.
Think of a your community as the corner coffee house or the local pub. A place to meet like-minded people and share experiences.
Fostering and building this on-line corner coffee house is the role of your Community Manager. Just like a real café needs a force behind the counter and in the back room, to keep it all together. Equally your online café needs a driving force.
The driving force is provided by the Community Manager. And very much worth their weight in salt.
A few Closing Thoughts
Earlier we discussed how many of you are great at social, but, not so many many of you are great at getting business from social media (I know because you’ve told me)?
Outsourcing you social media is not for every business. Most small business decide to invest in training and DIY. And that is absolutely perfect. Some business want results faster.
I believe in being great at business, because of social and not just great at social.
Distinct difference, there, between the two.
I’ve made my choice and the answer is obvious (I choose revenue and profits).