Sourcing your social media is not something to take lightly. Social media is an essential extension of your brand, it represents you, and it helps you interact with your audience. Think of social media as a way to have someone digitally answer the phone for you. With it, you can answer people's questions and have a complete conversation both ways. And, people are looking for you and expect you to be on social media. If you have a business, you have to be on social media, and you need to be actively engaging your audience to compete in today's market.
The real question you need to think about is, do you want to keep your social media in-house, or do you want to source it out?
Regardless, you need to source you social media content to someone who is reliable. They need to not only know how to use different platforms but can actively use them, knowing the best practices for each. If you’re looking at using someone in-house, will a current team member be able to spend the time to post frequently (every day) and engage with your fans, answering questions as people ask them? Will they have the time to learn social media best practices and keep up with new trends and rules?
What does it mean to outsource social media?
If you decide to outsource your social media to an agency, it’s still going to take an ongoing collaborative approach. They need to know what’s happening at your business, and they have to be directly communicating with someone. This allows them to get real-time updates from you so they can post to your pages. These can be birthdays, anniversaries, what’s new, even something as simple as sharing local weather conditions. Outsourcing social media won’t work if there is a disconnect. So if you outsource it, make sure someone in your company holds that role on ongoing communication.
So before you begin, you need to lay the groundwork and understand each other. Figure out who is holding what roles. What will your team members provide, what needs to be done on social, what’s included in your social media management package, and who will do what? How will you measure success? Make sure both parties are working towards the same goal and have the tools to measure how you are meeting those goals.
As far as ongoing communication, decide who needs to be looped in and how often you need to be in direct contact. Do you prefer emails or weekly phone calls, or would you like to reach people through text message? These are the types of questions you need to be asking. While we know it’s exciting to hire an agency, make sure you ask each other a lot of questions to ensure it will be a good long-term relationship between you both.
There are three mistakes people make when hiring an agency:
- Hiring too fast
- Not asking good questions
- Hiring for low cost
Just because someone knows how to post to social media doesn't mean they can do it well, it’s in a style that you like, or that they’re keeping up with the trends. That’s not going to serve you well.
Instead, look for an agency that can actively support you and who is familiar with your audience. When you’re outsourcing social media you’re paying for the time you’ll gain back, the growth your business will see, and for the agencies knowledge. They should be keeping you in the know of things happening in the marketing industry, and actively learning themselves so they can keep your brand up to date.
This is a trusted relationship, and it should be a smooth fit for the both of you. You will work together to refine your social media, collaboratively coming up with ideas to engage your audience. A good agency should feel natural. That way your social media will be authentic as it can be.