Tweets, Stories, DMs, oh my! If you’re spending all your waking moments (or if you’ve given up completely) on your social media, you’re going to want to read this. I’m going to give you the crash course on effectively outsourcing your social media.
In my years as a former owner of an award-winning social media agency, there is one thing I can tell you – social media is a beast, and she’s hungry. She wants a steady diet of fun, relevant, valuable, and engaging content for your audience. Some influencers have managed to figure out feeding the beast themselves, but they’ll tell you that it has become a full-time job.
Many business owners start by managing their profiles themselves. However, when things get busy, generating highly engaging content goes right out the window. Skipping a day becomes skipping a week, then a month – you know how it goes.
To prevent this from happening, I’d recommend learning about outsourcing your social media to a team of pros. You don’t have to hire an expensive ad agency, there are boutique agencies like I owned, and some fabulous freelancers out there that can get the job done at a great price. By coordinating and delegating these activities, you can rest easy knowing that your online presence is consistent, on-brand, and generating a steady flow of leads to your business.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the simplest way to pull together a capable social media team.
When to Bring on a Social Media Team
Social media is no longer a luxury for business. In a study by Hubspot, consumers reported that they expected brands to be active on at least three to four social channels. Sprout Social also found that 70% of consumers feel more connected to a brand when the CEO has an active social media presence.
If you have more time than money, it might be best to tackle social media yourself at first. This can be a great way to get a feel for different platforms and understand which ones can best promote your business. However, I wouldn’t recommend this for the long-term. As a leader, it’s important for you to delegate so you can focus on the larger strategic vision for your business.
If hiring a dedicated team sounds expensive, you can always split up the responsibilities you delegate. For example, you could write the content of social media posts yourself, then invest in a social media manager for strategy and handling customer service. Or, if you don’t have the skills in-house to generate great content, hire a copywriter, and have an employee or VA schedule your posts and manage comments for you.
Starting at a couple of thousand dollars each month, you can typically have one or two social media profiles fully managed, including creating original content and a social media manager answering comments and direct messages for you. With the right strategy, social media can have a positive effect on brand awareness, web traffic, and generating more sales.
Assembling a Social Media Team
To keep your team small but effective, there are three main specialists you should bring on board.
• Social Media Managers specialize in content strategy, social media optimization, and the ins-and-outs of each platform. They can provide helpful advice on what to post, when to post it, and how to best reach your target audience. Some also offer engagement services, such as responding to comments, providing customer service, and handling correspondence in private messages.
• Copywriters work with you or your social media manager to ensure that the content you publish reflects your brand message and engagingly promotes your products or services. They may also assist you in developing your funnel to include newsletters and blog posts that increase opt-ins and purchases or need copy for your website.
• Graphic Designers create branded, eye-catching images. They’re familiar with following brand guidelines (or developing them if you don’t already have them) and can advise on how to ensure your business is visually consistent across different platforms. Your designer may occasionally work with your copywriter and social media manager when you need a registration page, to promote events, and on other occasions.
Critical Tips for Hiring Freelancers
Where do you find these talented individuals? I’d recommend checking out Instagram for creative roles like copywriters, web designers, and graphic designers. They often use Instagram as a sort of ‘portfolio,’ posting their work – so you can have fun looking around and choosing the right person.
You can also browse Upwork.com, a freelance job site for all kinds of freelancers, from accountants to social media managers. Freelancers who are successful on Upwork often have positive reviews and ratings you can read before hiring. Using Upwork also has the benefit of easy price-shopping for someone in your budget.
I recommended asking freelancers to perform a paid trial. By doing a trial, you can get a feel for their professionalism, communication, and work style. Although it might seem appealing to get a freelancer who can ‘do it all’ – you’re more likely to get higher-quality work through a specialist. I also highly recommend that you try out two or three freelancers on trial jobs, so you don’t waste any time finding the perfect contractor.
When at all possible, it’s best to go through referrals. Ask your network if they know freelancers who are creative, dependable, and responsive. Doing this is usually the fastest and most reliable way to find freelancers who are true professionals at what they do.
Setting up a Social Media Team Workflow
Although having a social media team saves time in the long run, you’ll want to stay involved in the beginning to get things going on the right track.
First, make sure your freelancers have access to key information. You should have a central shared folder, for example, in Dropbox, which includes notes and materials they need to perform their jobs. Think content calendar with milestones and deadlines, brand guidelines, and anything else you think they’ll need to work with minimal oversight.
If you’re not sure how to put these documents together, ask your freelancers how they like to work and for assistance putting together the first set of instructions to get started. The right freelancer is going to know how they like to work and will be able to make suggestions.
Next, your freelancers begin work, you should closely monitor their projects. By doing this early and often, you can provide helpful insights, set expectations, and course-correct so that they understand the desired goal. You should also schedule a bi-weekly or monthly call to give feedback and answer questions. Your social media manager should provide reporting and tell you how she’s improving campaigns. She may have opinions on what your designer and copywriter might try doing differently for better results. Your job is to relay that information supportively.
One downside of using freelancers instead of team members is that they sometimes become unavailable or delayed. If you can, try to get ahead of your content calendar by one month so that you have breathing room for changes, delays, and revisions.
Finally, work progresses, make sure that you’re tweaking processes and standardizing your systems so that you have a repeatable process. Smoothing out these bumps make scaling your online presence easier in the long run.
Social media can build meaningful connections, which can cultivate brand awareness and move prospects into your marketing funnel. By having a social media team, you can ensure that your online presence is polished and consistent, generating steady new sales.