Social Media Manager: to Outsource or to Hire?

It’s obvious now that every company needs to implement a solid social media campaign.

The big question is: should you outsource your social media needs or hire someone to do it? Maybe it’s easiest if we set a few ground rules first and then decide.

First, you have to have someone who knows what they’re doing.

Sounds pretty obvious right? Well you’d be surprised at the number of companies who are trying to get their secretaries to do it. Or worse yet, hiring a college kid because he/she says they know their way around Facebook.

Having someone who has experience in marketing and communications (especially online communications) for companies is a requisite. Sure Facebook is new, but company branding isn’t.

Second, you have to have someone who is a real professional.

What does this mean? It means that due to the online and conversational nature of social media, it’s easy to spend hours on Twitter without accomplishing anything!

You want someone who is going to be focused and get you the information you want, grow the relationships you need, and share the content that will bring in new business. Bottom line, you want someone who is going to get you results.

Third, you have to have someone who is a good communicator.

Again, this seems like another obvious one but there’s more to it than you think. Communicating via social media on behalf of your company requires a special finesse. It’s not just another place to pitch your business. It’s a place to develop relationships through engaging conversation not selling.

Keep in mind also that it is conversation! It’s not a place to spew out industry jargon that nobody uses in real life. Contrary to what your English literature professor would have you believe, people think and read in spurts.

They like information fast.

Nouns, verbs, and the little things in between to put it all together.

That’s it.

To outsource or to hire?

With the ground rules established, let’s get on to the question at hand. To answer the question you need to ask yourself a few more questions.

If you were to hire an employee, do you have someone that knows enough about social media to supervise them?

If not, how will they be accountable?

How will you track their progress?

Will you put them on some sort of incentive program?

If not, how will you ensure that the hours you’re paying them won’t be whittled away Facebooking all day?

These are all things to seriously consider because when hiring any employee (especially these days) is a big investment and you want to make sure it’s the right thing to do.

Maybe it’s helpful to analyze some of the advantages of a contracted social media marketing agency (SMMA) over an employee.

  • First, an employee often requires, or at least hopes for, benefits. At a minimum they require a place to work including equipment like computer, desk, phone and all the other overhead you’re bound to supply as an employer. This is a big advantage of an SMMA as they are their own business already and have the equipment and do not expect benefits from you.
  • Closely related to overhead and the actual cost of an employee (not just their salary), and this is a big one in this economy, is unemployment. Should things go bad, an employee can collect unemployment costing your organization more money. An SMMA can’t collect unemployment as a result of being contracted by you. A contract is a contract and once it’s over that’s it.
  • Another advantage of an SMMA over an employee is that their business depends on the quality of their work and the results you pay them to get. Why? Because nothing builds a business better than quality results. If an SMMA does well, you’re more likely to tell your fellow business owners about them. Employees may have some initiative but generally speaking, they lack the drive a consultant does. An employee gets paid to work. An SMMA gets paid to get results.
  • Another advantage of an SMMA over an employee is in the numbers. Often an SMMA is made up of numerous social media gurus with varying backgrounds. This means more people putting their heads together on how to make the most of your social media efforts. That’s just not something you get with a single employee.
  • How about some more numbers? What’s the cost difference? Across the nation, the average salary for a social media manager ranges from $32K to $58K (according to Payscale.com). That breaks down to $2,666 to $4,833 a month. That’s just salary. That’s not including the additional costs of benefits, taxes, overhead, etc.

Contrast that to a quality SMMA whose prices range from $500 to $2,500 a month. Even at the high end, you’re still paying substantially less for a contracted SMMA with all costs considered. Now add the fact that a quality SMMA has a professional background with expertise in marketing, communications, and branding your company online.

Hopefully this helps you to see the benefits of a social media firm and how it could help your business. The cost comparison alone should be reason enough to persuade you! Why pay more and get less?

When you’re ready to hire a social media marketing agency, we know just the right people!

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