Social media can be a great way to engage new business prospects and keep existing clients or customers up-to-date on business news and incentives offered by your company.

However, many small business owners are overwhelmed by the amount of effort social media takes. Posting to Facebook®, Twitter®, LinkedIn™, Plurk™ and other social media outlets takes time, and time is money when operating on razor-thin margins.

Lots of business owners turn over this task to an assistant or intern, hoping for the best. Some hire freelancers or social media companies to oversee social media marketing.

So what do you do? In-house is low-cost, but also may be low priority when a lower tier employee is assigned the task, and outsources take money away from your bottom line.

Learn the Ropes

Reams of “how-to” content may be found on the Internet. Initiate a search of “social media tips” and “benefits of social media” to conduct a couple of hours of research to learn the basics and the language used by social media experts.

This way, you can discuss your business objectives with a staff member or freelance social media professional, and measure success as you define it. It may take a couple of hours, but it would be time well spent.

In-House or Outsource

With a fundamental understanding of what social media marketing is and how it works, you’re in a good position to determine how to use social media to expand and add value to your business.

There are pros and cons to keeping social media marketing in house, and outsourcing the task to professionals. Which option you select depends on your company resources, both human and financial.

Keep Social Media Marketing In-House

Recommended for companies that maintain marketing departments. Also recommended for small businesses that have a knowledgeable member of the company team who can handle social media activity without detracting from his or her other duties.

Just because you opt to keep these marketing efforts in house, don’t think you’re getting this service for free. The time it takes to prepare social media posts is an operational expense. Even so, it’s not an additional cash outlay if you use in-house staff to oversee daily social media posts.

By keeping social media marketing in house, you and your social media staff members can maintain control over what information gets posted, where it’s posted, and when it’s posted.

Because social media efforts are conducted in house, you can publish the latest on Twitter, LinkedIn and other high-profile social sites.  You’re there faster when social media marketing is conducted in house.  Post what happened that morning if your followers would find it interesting.

Outsource Social Media Marketing

It’s important to learn the basics of social media marketing so you can clearly define your company objectives to an outsourced, Internet marketing agency or a freelancer who takes over the duties.

The advantages of outsourcing are straightforward. Most importantly, when you hire an agency, you may hire professionals whose only business is online marketing, with a strong emphasis on social media sites.

Using an outsource, you pay only for services rendered. You don’t pay for sick days, two weeks vacation, health care and other benefits that add to the cost of maintaining a staff member to manage social media campaigns.

These outsources should be up-to-date on the latest tactics, terms of service for each social media outlet, and how to integrate online marketing channels to create synergies that lead to increased business growth.

Outsourcing provides an individual or team dedicated to social media and to your company’s expanding success. It’s not a part-time activity of an in-house staff member, who may be overwhelmed with other work activity.

As the business owner, you can monitor costs and results to determine if your outsource is worth what you pay them. It may take 60 or 90 days, so avoid signing any long-term contracts until you’re sure you see value added through the efforts of your social media outsource.

Weigh the pros and cons of both in-house and outsourcing for social media activity. Then, get social with prospects, leads and existing clients.  

 

The information contained herein may not represent the views and opinions of Nevada State Bank or its affiliates.  It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.