I just spent the weekend planning, creating and scheduling content for one of my social media management clients and it got me thinking about the expectations of small businesses and/or start-ups when it comes to social media management.
Because I’m surrounded by many other social media experts, I have a strong idea about the state of the industry and what clients might get when they hire a freelance Social Media Manager. And this is despite offerings varying tremendously depending on whether you hire a VA with social media skills, a specialised Social Media Manager or you go with someone more well-rounded like a marketing strategist with social media speciality.
This blog post is designed to give you an idea of what to expect when considering outsourcing Social Media Management, including what to pay attention to and how much you should be prepared to spend.
Social Media Management
Okay, let’s start with a quick explanation of what Social Media Management actually is. This is useful as it’ll give you an idea of what to expect.
Now, from my experience, a decent Social Media Management offering should include both social media content planning and community management. But you’ll likely find professionals providing one or the other under the same label.
Ideally, you want a Social Media Manager someone who:
- Can help you create/update your Social Media Strategy
- Understands your prospects’ customer journeys to create relevant content for different stages on this journey
- And can help you with content planning as well as execution
But that’s not all!
You also want someone who will regularly keep an eye on your channels, respond to any comments or DMs in a timely manner and who will proactively start conversations with people who might be your clients one day.
Plus, you want to make sure that all of your efforts are aligned with your overall marketing strategy and understand their relation to your wider business goals. This is important because even though social media is easily measurable, understanding what these results mean and how they translate into business growth isn’t always straightforward (especially if you’re providing a service and/or work in B2B).
How much does Social Media Management cost? Really?
So, now you know roughly what goes into ongoing social media management, perhaps the burning question on your lips is: “What’s it going to cost me?”
Well, it’s my experience that an experienced Social Media Manager can plan, create, schedule and optimise content for one client on one channel for one month in around 10 hours.
However, the time needed to complete one month’s content calendar depends on many factors. One of them is how much content they have available to work with and how suitable for social media that content is.
And that’s only the first part – scheduling, we haven’t counted the time required for monitoring and engaging yet! As a minimum, you’ll want someone to check your channels for 15-30mins each day, which equates to an extra 5 hours every month.
So think, if someone is charging £200/month to post 2-3 times per week on your social media, how much they can make per hour if they’re putting a similar number of hours into each of their projects? Or are they putting a lot less time and effort into each of their clients’ social media content?
Please take these numbers with a pinch of salt. They’re simply to give you an idea. Ultimately, the resources required to manage one client can vary depending on their specific goals, the content available and their support.
You ‘have to do’ social media
Social media is everywhere and many small businesses believe that they ‘have to’ be on the various platforms because that’s what everyone does and that’s what everyone is telling them.
But if you don’t like social media, if you don’t believe in it, you’ll never really put the effort in to make it work. It might look like social media is ‘free’, but it still requires a lot of time and effort to really make it work for your business and deliver meaningful results.
What I would want small business owners to avoid is hiring a Social Media Manager to ‘do their social media’ just because they think they have to ‘do social media’, because everyone else is doing it and everyone is telling them they have to.
If you don’t understand social media marketing and you don’t believe in it, it’s a waste of your money to pay someone to do an average job (because without your interest and occasional input, they won’t be able to do a really great job).
During my years in business, I’ve met many clients (mainly freelancers, small businesses and start-ups) who often wanted to hire an external social media manager so they don’t need to worry about it at all. They wanted 100% hands-off services. And they wanted them cheap!
Sadly, that’s NOT how quality social media management works.
What goes into creating a well-performing Social Media presence?
A successful Social Media Marketing Campaign goes beyond sharing regular, but pretty random, posts on your social media channels.
You want to start with a strategy!
- You want to make sure you’re clear on your WHY, that you understand WHO your ideal clients are and WHAT content they want to see from you to help them solve their problems.
- This will inform WHERE on social media you should be spending the majority of your time reaching your target audience.
- Lastly, you want to understand what GOALS your social media marketing efforts need to be delivering on a monthly/quarterly basis to meaningfully support your business. This will then inform HOW OFTEN you need to be posting and HOW MUCH results each post needs to deliver.
When you know your GOALS, you can quite easily reverse engineer your quarterly and monthly goals and have a much clearer understanding of what needs to happen on a daily and weekly basis to hit those goals.
That’s step one, Strategy.
Step two is creating a Social Media Content plan for the next 12 months.
You want to have a clear overview of the themes, events, milestones and specific campaigns that you’ll want to run over the course of the next 12 months. This will help you inform your quarterly content plan and assure a balanced mixture of different types of content to support your prospects on their buyer journey.
This can sometimes be done in one sitting with a client during the initial consultation, but from my experience it takes a good month or so to get all the bits and pieces necessary to have all the answers.
And that’s your groundwork done.
From now on, it’s much easier to outsource social media to a freelancer and get them to take care of the actual doing. They’ll have a clear framework to follow, you’ll know what results they should deliver and what resources they might need from you (new content mainly).
It might also inspire you to get your hands a bit dirty too and get involved a bit more with your social media marketing. After all, if you’re not really that interested in your social media endeavours, how likely are they to succeed and are they really going to be in your business’s best interests?
If you want to have a chat about getting started with creating a Social Media Strategy for your business, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org