First post of the year! Woot! This one was seriously difficult to write.
Over the past four years, small businesses have hired me to manage social media on their behalf, and I’ve gladly jumped at the opportunity. Now, I’m telling small businesses that they should absolutely 100% find a way to manage social media in-house and never hire someone like me for that reason again.
I can just hear my colleagues now:
“Aaagh, Stacy! What are you doing?! You’re going to put us all out of business!”
Not exactly. Social media professionals worth their salt will still thrive, even if small business owners are handling their own day-to-day social media activities. They can now focus on offering strategic solutions for growth and results, rather than being bogged down by the nitty gritty details. That advice is worth a lot more and takes a lot less energy (but more brain power).
Those who will go out of business: the social media ‘gurus’ charging businesses an exorbitant amount of money just to post the same status 3 times a day to multiple accounts without providing any proof of growth or helping the business to cultivate meaningful relationships with its fans. They won’t have any place in this new regime. And I’m not exactly crying about that.
So here’s why small businesses, solopreneurs and freelancers should manage their own online presence…
No one knows your business like you do. No one knows your customers like you do. No one knows your voice like you do.
Your fans who interact with you online want to get the same experience they get in store (or wherever they are buying from you) and when it’s just you and a couple employees, that experience is often directly tied to the person offering the service. GoDaddy’s Community Manager, Jennifer Dunn, summarizes it perfectly in the below quote.
As a small business, your greatest edge over the big guys is that your customers can put a face and a name to your business. They’re not doing business with “Big Box Plus;” they’re doing business with Don’s Donuts. And if they call you up or pop in to your store, they’ll most likely see Don…that human touch makes a difference. Source
So that pretty much sums it all up, but there’s still a problem…
Small businesses are completely sucking at managing their own social media.
According to this Forbes article based on a 2013 Manta study, small businesses are showing up to social media in droves, but they are doing a terrible job. You don’t have to look very far to know that’s true either. How many small businesses are you following on social media and how many of their posts do you actually look forward to? Exactly.
The reason for the influx is all this drivel social media experts are feeding to their unsuspecting clients. Everyone is online so you need to be too. You can make a killing off social media. If you aren’t on Facebook, your business is going to die!
All sensationalism. All commercialism. All bullsh*t.
There definitely are benefits to small businesses being on social media, but theyare not going to get any results by just being there, or by flooding the channels with useless promotional content, without a solid strategy.
Strategizing for social media includes an in-depth analysis into the business, its target audience and its goals and using those to determine the best platforms to use, the optimal posting frequency and the content that will attain the most desirable results. They also need to be tracking their performance and assessing the numbers to determine what’s working and what needs to be adjusted.
This is where social media professionals come in.
Small business can hire consultants and advisors when necessary to help them assess their current performance, create a strategy and tactical plan they can adhere to, recommend tools to help with daily social media management and tracking results. The person handling customer service and/or marketing in the business (typically the owner) should be the one handling the posting and engagement.
Over the next few months, I’ll be showing just how easy it is for a small business owner to manage their online presence in a few minutes a day, and save the fee they pay to a social media manager while getting the same, or better results. And for the social media managers out there, I’ll be taking you through my own journey of transitioning from a day-to-day manager to a full-time social media consultant, showing you all the tools I use, my business model and all that good stuff.
Until then, I want to hear from the small business owners out there! Are you managing your own social media or do you hire someone? Have you considered doing it on your own? Would you consider using a consultant to guide you along the right path, rather than chunking out cash every month for a manager? Sound off in the comments below!