I have a lot of experience managing other people’s social media accounts. A lot- definitely more than I ever imagined I would. I’ve managed social media accounts in-house for employers and as a contracted social media manager. In the ten years I’ve been managing social media accounts, I’ve learned a few things. Like how burnout is inevitable if you don’t batch work your content (please, just trust me on this one) and why scheduling tools can be worth their weight in gold. But the two most important things I’ve learned about small businesses and social media?
It IS worth it and YOU are the best person to manage it.
The second part of that statement will get me in some trouble with my Social Media Manager friends but… hear me out.
Social media can be a tricky beast for a small business, especially if you’re a locally focused brick and mortar store. If your small business isn’t on social media yet or you have an account but never get around to managing it, there are compelling reasons as to why you should.
Social media can connect you with new customers, build loyalty among past and present customers, keep your brand and products in their minds, and drive sales. But that takes time, strategy, and consistency or it takes the money to hire a social media manager.
Ask anyone running a small business what their two most limited resources are and most will answer: time and money. When you spend either, it needs to be for something of measurable value. Knowing this, social media can be a hard sell, especially for business owners who are not themselves on social media.
Social media, when done well, takes time OR money. Sometimes, it takes both. Never can social media be done well without either.
This is the point at which many business owners start looking for someone to manage their social media for them.
‘I have some young people on staff, I bet they’d be good at managing our Facebook and/or Instagram!’
STOP! Just stop right there. While you may have an employee(s) who are themselves on social media, social media done on the fly, without a thought out strategy, is a waste of your employees time and your money. If you have more than one person managing your social media and they aren’t on the same page, same thing- it’s a waste of your money and their time.
‘I’ll pay someone to manage my accounts!’
As odd as it may sound to some, there are people out there who make a living managing social media accounts! If you have a lot of money to devote to social media, this could be a great option.
A competent Social Media Manager or Virtual Assistant will free up a huge amount of your time and take a great deal of stress off your plate. Your content will be posted consistently, on the right platform, and at the right time for your target audience. Your Social Media Manager will research your niche, engage with your audience, respond to DMs, research the best hashtags, stay up to date with and adapt to current social media trends.
But, a quick google search on how to outsource the management of your accounts may leave your head spinning when you see how much many Social Media Managers or Virtual Assistants charge. So, we’re back to the same question, do you spend time or money?
We have had more than one client come to us in this exact situation. I’ve managed my fair share of social media accounts over the years (at one point, I had a client with 8!) and the BIGGEST lesson I learned was this-
No one will ever know your business, or your customers, like you do.
YOU, or a trusted member of your team, are the best person to interact with your clients or customers. This is especially important for small businesses. Social media can help even the playing field between you and your larger competitors with heftier marketing budgets. How? It gives you a direct line to your customers or rather (and better yet), it gives your customers a direct line to the owner of the business! It’s an opportunity for your customers to understand your brand as a group of hardworking people, rather than simply a product or service.
You are an expert in your field. Show it off!
Learn social media strategy. Talk to your customers about your product or service. Establish a relationship with them and show they why they should trust you. You are an expert in your field- let your followers know! As a small business owner, you already have a lot of what you need for a successful social media presence- an in-depth knowledge of your product/service, drive, creativity, and persistence.
If you’re a small business owner and you’re not using social media, what are your biggest concerns?