Let’s state the obvious. With all the best will in the world, it’s hard to consistently get the results and nail your social media. Unless you’ve got some internal wizard on it or you’re outsourcing it to someone who knows their stuff, it can easily slip.
Let’s recap what we know. When I say, we, I’m including you. I may be being presumptive, but if you’re reading this, I reckon we’re on a similar page.
- We know social media is important.
- We’ve bought into the concept of recognising the value of Inbound Marketing.
- We’ve read the blogs about providing value to people, ahead of trying to market to them.
- We know that customers are more likely to buy from businesses they’ve liked on Facebook or will respond quickly to messages on Twitter.
- We’re clear that an opted in email address for blog updates, is a special licence to reach people directly.
Seth Godin talked about Permission Marketing in his same-titled book, back in 1999. And it’s slowly seeped into our everyday culture, down to the extent that it’s now considered normal.
- Yes, we know it.
- But we don’t quite do it.
- It stops and starts.
- Without consistency.
- And it often doesn’t get the attention or produce the results it needs to.
In our offices, we have people answering the phones everyday, and we wouldn’t dream of letting the phones ring out for a few days. But social media activity seems a little ‘excusable’ if we were to drop the ball for a bit.
Let’s state the other obvious. It’s not excusable.
I’m not looking to throw out a dose load of guilt or blame. It’s a tough gig running a business or doing the marketing for your boss.
I find it hard too. I’ve recently launched my own Social Media Agency and for some time I’ve been so busy focusing on products and servicing my clients needs and projects, that I haven’t prioritised the same regular time to my own rhythm of blogging.
That’s been rubbish.
Well that’s all changed. As my team grows I have more space and capacity to re-introduce what I love.
Putting finger to key.
And getting social. I do it because it works. I do it because I like it. I do it because I like to practice what I implement.
And this is why I wanted to write this post. Because if I struggle on my own blog posts when I run my own Social Media Agency, please know I empathise with you in the areas you struggle.
You may not enjoy writing, but others love writing, so get rid of the guilt pangs and get others to step in and help out.
For me, I’m not a big Pinterest obsessive, but my colleague Stacey is. So she’ll be letting rip more than me. On Pinterest.
To Outsource Or Not Outsource
Some argue that you should never outsource your social media, as you’re the only one who cares as much about your business, product or service. Only you can understand what the customer really wants.
Well I think that’s tosh.
But first let me backtrack.
I do think you’ll care about your business more than anyone else. Period. People won’t be going to bed thinking of your business like you will. They won’t be listening to conversations and then relaying what they have heard back into your business. They won’t be constantly chewing on the next idea or direction you need to take. They won’t be obsessive, slightly demented and at times a little boring talking to others about your business.
But to be honest.
Neither will your on-location staff feel the same way. No-one will. Because they don’t have the level of risk and reward wrapped up in your work. They’re not you.
But just because you care about it, doesn’t mean that you’re best positioned to run your social campaign. Or that your internal team should run your campaign. The best people should.
Some people may not get how to use Twitter. They may hate writing, or be awkward in front of a camera. They may find it hard to reach out to people and get finger shy.
You simply want the best people for the job. Internal or External. Go find the best. You need to cut through the noise. And make sure you have a few caveats. Without these caveats, it could leave you a little embarrassed as they implement actions you don’t like.
The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, found this as his social media team followed an escort agency by mistake. Doh!
5 quick suggested caveats:
- Make sure the people you work with know their social from their media. That’s obvious.
- Double check they’ve got proven results they can back their claims up with. Not just number of retweets, engagement and reach. But how many leads or sales? What’s the ROI?
- Be confident that they understand your customers and have developed detailed customer personas. If they don’t know your customers they can’t communicate well with them.
- Look at examples of previous work they’ve done. Do you like it? Are they versatile?
- Are they keepers. Reliable. Going to be with you for a few years. You don’t want to be shifting campaigns when someone’s work doesn’t quite ‘work out.’
I’d love to hear what other caveats you think make sense. Email me at email@example.com.
So what should you outsource?
1. Outsource The Most Time Consuming Projects
You may argue that this is a bad financial move. Lots of time = lots of money. But do the maths. It’s highly likely that your time is worth far more than what you’d be paying an outsourcer. Lots of time = save lots of money. So the lesser time spent briefing and the greater time spent creating, means that you’ll benefit from the work and it will cost you less overall.
These big chunks of work, frees up large chunks of your time, and you can focus on strategy, apply spit and polish where needed, and assess the results each time. It also gives you more time to focus on income generating areas of your work. Although we all like to say Content is King, Cash looks down on Content. No cash, no time to create the content. (As an aside, are you also bored with who’s King, Queen, a Duke!).
2. Outsource The Tasks You Don’t Have The Skills To Complete
Tom Rath, in his book Strengthfinders, points to the necessity of knowing what your strengths are. Know them and play to them. It may be a false economy to work out the intricate details of your social and digital media campaign, if you could be getting someone else to do this.
Due to the fact that most people have their own Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts, and own tablets, phones and laptops there’s an expectation that we should all be experts in social media.
As a social media agency, we spend time training businesses and individuals in social media, so we fully believe that social media is something that everyone should master. But we’re also realistic to know that the luxury of spending the time learning this, makes more sense, when you’ve got the finances to have the tools, training and necessary time. For startups, entrepreneurs, or marketing staff who have specific roles, you have to focus your activity around your core skills. For some, ‘learning’ social in depth, ends up being more of a luxury than a necessity. And as it’s now so easy to ‘hire in’ the help for any number of mini taks, people don’t feel the need to learn all that’s needed.
Therefore where possible and the resource is in place, I’d suggest giving tasks to the people who have the right skill set and who offer a service that’s cost effective. They’ll do it a lot better, a lot quicker, be less likely to make costly mistakes and if asked can train you, so you can do it yourself next time.
This frees your time to nail that part of the business where you excel, and can make that exceptional difference. Everyone’s a winner.
3. Be Clear On What You Outsource
There’s lots of activities you could outsource. You can break down your tasks to establish where the bottlenecks are, and then outsource those bits. You could pick the areas you don’t like working on and bring others to deliver those. Additionally you could outsource a full cycle of work, so that others are able to generate the results for you, week in and week out, regardless of how busy you get. Your social media continues on and on. Even if you get bogged down in another project.
So to outsource or not to? Clearly, we’re biased and in favour of outsourcing.
If you’re not sure what to outsource, here’s a list of potential areas:
- Social Media Management
- Content Writing
- Content Management
- Social Media Strategy
- Inbound Strategy
Which of these could you bring others in to do?
I recognise that business is hard graft. There’s often so many balls up in the air, that it can be a challenge to be an expert juggler. Sometimes it can take a while to crank up the energy to get the momentum you need to give you more space.
But that needn’t be the end of the story. Make a choice to outsource the right bits of work with the business or freelancer that can ‘pass your caveats’, and start initiating work with them. Get them to put a tick in your to do item.
We often get people contacting us saying:
‘Help. We need to work out how to do social media well and to get more clients through it. Can you do that for us.’ And we do just that. It’s pretty easy when you know how.
Your challenge today. Find someone you can outsource essential work to, today. And if you don’t know anyone you trust yet, drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll come and fix your problem. However big or small.
What social media work do you outsource? How has this worked out for you? I’d love to hear in the comments below.