Who Can You Find to Help You With Social Media

If you own a small business—or any sized business—by now you know that social media is no joke. It is as essential a marketing channel as television, radio and print. If you don’t have at least some type of presence on social media, you really are losing out to your competition.

But with this in mind, many business-owners and marketing directors are confused about who should be doing their social media marketing.

It really comes down to two choices, hiring an outside company, or hiring or training someone to direct it from within. Here I’ll go through considerations for both choices (and in the interest of full-disclosure my company performs social media marketing for other businesses).

There are hundreds of companies that specialize in social media marketing. Some are huge, publicly traded companies that run the online presences of other huge corporations. But there are also a few in the local market, each offering to aid area businesses.

Using an outside company is not a bad idea. Some of the most memorable social media campaigns were conducted by outside organizations, like the “Old Spice Guy” campaign of 2011 that used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube so effectively. It was created for Proctor & Gamble by the online marketing agency, Widen & Kennedy and has been billed as one of the most successful social marketing campaigns yet created.

The drawback for using these agencies is that they are expensive for long-term sustainability, and they don’t have the insider’s knowledge of your business. The first point is easy enough to understand, but the second takes a bit of thinking.

Consider this. Who knows your customers, products and services better: you and your employees or an outside company? The answer is, of course, you. No outside company will have the knowledge and understanding that you and your employees do.

And this is why creating a position within your organization that is specifically for online and social marketing is the ideal approach. An employee that can spend time with customers offline, and then can engage with them online, plus who is at your location every day, will do a much better job than any number of offsite consultants.

The problem for hiring either an in-house employee or an offsite company is that many business owners don’t know what to look for. And no wonder: the profession is so new that academia really hasn’t had time to catch up to it. I assure you nobody will be graduating this December with the title of “Bachelor’s of Social Media Marketing.”

When looking at hiring either an outside company or an employee, you should make sure they have a lengthy track-record of success. It takes more than simply knowing how to create a Facebook page or Twitter profile to be “good” at social media marketing.

They must have an understanding of the difference between advertising and social media marketing. These are two very different disciplines that do not interchange. Knowing how to do one well does not necessarily translate into knowing how to do the other.

The one mistake you should never make—and a point made in a Forbes article that prompted this column—is not to assume that any college-age person “knows how to do social media.”

Sure, they probably know now to entertain their friends on Facebook, and they have a lot of personal followers on Twitter, but that does not at all mean they are professionals on these channels.

Put in some due diligence to find either a good organization to support you, or a good employee to carry out your social media marketing in-house, and you’ll see the results in no time.

Word One Consulting
clint @ wordoneconsulting.com
2263 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM 88005