One of the biggest mistakes you as a small business owner can make is trying to run all aspects of your operation without help. While some aspects of business can be done easily by one person (it’s easy to be in charge of all of your own invoices if you have some nice software that generates invoices for you automatically), the sooner you can get out of the “do it yourself” trap, the better. While you learn to balance keeping an eye on your bottom line with forking out the money necessary to outsource, I’m here to help.
Social media marketing is a great opportunity to contract out an aspect of your business to the pros. There are a range of costs and service options that can help you build your brand and community voice. Social media has become such an integral part of our daily lives that most brands, no matter how small, simply can’t afford to neglect it.
When considering outsourcing your social media strategy, there are two things to focus on:
- The monitoring and spread of organic content through your social media channels
- The paid advertising aspect of your social media marketing (e.g. sponsored posts on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter, etc.)
Here’s a breakdown and how to approach outsourcing:
Social Media Monitoring
Why do you need to know about social media strategy if you’re just planning to outsource? It’s important to understand the basics so that you can comprehend the strategy and results behind your monitoring. If you don’t have any clue what’s going on, it’s easy to waste money or get dragged into an unproductive campaign.
Social media is organic and based on word-of-mouth awareness and engagement. Its very nature depends on shareable content, which can add tremendous value to your business; nevertheless, it can go awry quickly if you aren’t paying attention. You need someone keeping watch of your industry trends and what’s being said about you, because even if you aren’t talking, other people are going to talk about you.
Of course, it’s not feasible for most small business owners to be on Yelp all day checking for reviews or constantly patrolling Facebook and Twitter for mentions. This is a great outsourcing opportunity, as there are countless agencies that will monitor and aggregate your social reputation for you, saving you invaluable time.
Additionally, these same social media monitoring services usually provide commenting and content creation, which is helpful on the days when you don’t have the time to post, comment and keep tabs on the social scene. And make no mistake, keeping up on interactions is very important for your brand engagement.
Two companies that deliver comprehensive social media monitoring on a small business budget:
This service monitors your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts for a fixed, flat rate of $99/month, which requires no set-up or hidden fees. If you’re just getting started, this is a great way to ease into the digital marketing world. The company offers solid insights and helps structure your planning. Each client is assigned an account representative so you can ask questions and get the personalized service you need at a reasonable price. Get more info at 99dollarsocial.com.
Another great choice, DigitalSherpa offers marketing assessments and services from social media management to blog and website content creation and even a platform to manage your online reputation, so you can start small and evolve over time. It offers customizable packages designed to meet your specific needs and price points with packages ranging from $59/month to $549/month. Visit digitalsherpa.com for details.
Social Media Marketing
Now that you’ve got monitoring mastered, the next step is figuring out the paid aspect of social media marketing. Just like television or print marketing, paid advertising on social media is vital for growth. It can be confusing to monitor and understand, as there are several ways to approach this.
Basic ways you can pay for advertising through social media include:
With Facebook Ads, you create ads targeted to your audience that run inside of Facebook. There are simple DIY techniques, but if you really want to achieve maximum impact, leave this to your digital or social media marketing agency. Take a look at Facebook Ads and try a company like AdRoll that designs and implement these units for you.
Sponsored Twitter Posts
Although pricey, there are options for purchasing promoted tweets that are placed front-and-center on Twitter for an allotted time. The upside is the visibility, the downside is the mark of a “Promoted” label, which might be a turnoff for certain Twitter users. See for yourself: Promoted Tweets.
The difference between a promoted tweet and an endorsed tweet is the way you go about getting the shout-out. Within the Twittersphere, there are high-profile celebrities who are paid to tweet a mention of your brand to their followers. If you’re interested in getting a celebrity to start a discussion about your brand through an endorsed tweet, check out Adly.com.
Now that you know the basics of outsourcing, you’re ready to get started and take your small business to the masses via social media.