This is a guest post by Open Colleges’ Elizabeth Harmon.
Social media has become an increasingly important part of our lives. We regularly find ourselves posting on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and uploading photos to Instagram. We also find social media creeping into our work lives, with businesses setting up accounts to help drive brand awareness, develop customer relationships and ultimately generate sales.
Unfortunately though, a common misconception by many businesses is that if someone can update their own personal Facebook account on what they got up to at the weekend, they can easily run social media marketing for a company. Businesses therefore see an opportunity to cut costs, by getting interns to manage their social accounts, or expect existing employees, with already tight schedules and no relevant skills, to fit social media in when they have “spare” time. But is this going to give you a good Return on Investment (ROI) in the long term?
American author, Erik Qualman, once said, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
A day in the life of a social media manager can be hectic, and to ensure you are using the channel in the most effective way businesses need to hire experts. Something that we don’t have to do when using social media on a personal basis is decide what our goals and objectives are. Creating a strategy is one of the first things a business should do when using social media and it requires a lot of time and expertise. Here’s six reasons why your business’ social media needs to be managed by an expert:
1. You need someone who can create effective content
When we update our own personal Instagram account for example, we tend to write the first thing that comes into our heads. However, when it comes to businesses, it’s important that content fits the target audience, uses the correct tone of voice, attracts people’s attention, encourages the required response and there is a mixture of promotional and non-promotional posts. Creating effective content therefore takes a lot more time, thought and effort. Understanding what works well and what doesn’t comes from experience over time and can’t just be learnt overnight.
2. You need someone you can trust
As a business, your social accounts have the potential to be seen by hundreds, thousands and even millions of people. Managing social media is therefore a big responsibility and needs someone who will pay strict attention to detail, will avoid mistakes and won’t post anything inappropriate or offensive. Social media is both instant and public and so it’s not good enough to just “give it a go”. One wrong move and you could easily damage your brand’s reputation.
3. You need someone who can dedicate time towards social media
Another misconception of social media is that it just requires a few minutes of your time every now and then. However, it’s surprising how much time is needed when you want to do it right. Social media can’t just be dipped in and out of when you have the time. It needs to be updated on a regular basis and constantly monitored, to check for any customer responses. Do you have someone in place within your business who can dedicate time to social media throughout their day?
4. You need someone who can go beyond the basics
To get the most out of social media, you need to go beyond just posting. This involves running adverts, offers, polls, competitions, prize draws and more. It’s therefore important you have someone in place who has experience with these activities and understands best practices.
5. You need someone who can stay up-to-date
Social media is constantly developing and so you need someone who is interested in social media and willing to stay up-to-date with the latest changes. This can help your business reach its customers more effectively in the future and stay ahead of your competitors.
We hope this article has given you something to think about when managing your social media activities. There are certainly things your interns can help with, or you could look at training existing employees. However, to get the best results straight away, you may want to consider employing a Social Media Manager, or outsourcing work to an expert.
Do you delegate social media to an intern, existing employee or external contractor? We’d love to know your experiences. Tweet us @indago_digital.
Elizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She is a Freelance Social Media Consultant with a number of years’ experience in the field. She has worked with a growing list of clients around the world, helping to build successful social media strategies, create effective content and much more. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Harmon.