By entrusting social networking activities to someone who has the expertise to consistently engage customers, small business owners can save time while also making the most of social networking. Here are a few things every business owner should ask before hiring a social media manager.
Can I Maintain It?
The only thing worse than no social media presence is an outdated social media presence. You may have the best intentions when you create your social media accounts, but you’ll soon find that it’s easy to put off updates until days have passed. You can use tech tools to make cross-posting easier and to remain active when you don’t have time to post an update, but this can take time, as well. If you are honest with yourself and you know you won’t maintain it long-term, a social media manager may be the best option.
Can I Afford to Hire Out?
One of the biggest deciding factors will likely be cost. A small business likely won’t have money set aside in the budget for salary and benefits for a full-time social media manager. Interns or students are an option, but many businesses are reluctant to entrust accounts to someone who has never worked in a professional environment. Outsourcing to contractors or a social media firm is another option, but it’s important to make sure you understand the costs before you make that decision.
Do I Know the Market?
An expert in any field puts the time and effort into learning everything possible about that field. Talented social media managers employ the latest content strategies to make sure each post gets the best results possible. What works today may not work tomorrow and it’s the job of a social media manager to know what the latest techniques are. Social media managers also grow to understand each social media audience and cater to that in their work each day.
Do I Have a Plan?
Social media managers often act as strategists, devising a plan and ensuring it’s followed. If a business wants to promote a specific event or product release, for instance, a strategist will come up with a calendar that ensures posts are consistent in the weeks leading up to the event. Posting often enough to keep the information fresh on customers’ minds without making content seem spammy is essential to a social media campaign. A social media manager will outline when posts need to go live and which social media networks should be included to help ensure your campaign is a success.
Do I Have Objectivity?
As your business’s owner, the truth is that you may be too close to your brand to accurately reach out to your audience. A social media manager can create a voice for your brand and use that voice consistently with each post. Even if you work in conjunction with the professional, a social media strategist can help you create a plan for posts and make sure you always use the right wording to represent your brand accurately.
Can I Find the Right Person?
When it comes down to it, nobody will have the passion and knowledge of your business that you have. If you hire a staff member, that employee will be able to gain firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of your business, but you’ll have the long-term commitment of a salary. If you hire a contractor or firm, you’ll have access to social media expertise but it will take time to get the outside party up to speed on what your business does. You may find that your social media manager must work in conjunction with a team member to achieve the combination of expertise you need.
A social media manager can bring the benefit of professional expertise to your social media campaign, but is it the best option for you? By exploring your own time constraints and being honest with your level of knowledge, you can determine whether a social media manager is the best option for your small business.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.