When entering into the world of social media, many companies find themselves asking “who’s going to manage this?” Because it’s still so new, lots of people automatically outsource to a “professional social media manager.”
And while I’m not trying to put myself out of work, I think that in most cases it make more sense for companies to manage in-house, especially when working on a limited budget. I’ll be frank with you: if you only have $300/month to outsource your entire social media presence, you aren’t going to get quality work.
When you should take it in house:
If your main content is photos from your store or office, someone within that space should be taking them daily, so they may as well be posting them. Also, if your brand has a lot of interactive conversations and your social media manager has to call your office a few times a day to get the answers to then respond on Facebook/Twitter then maybe your company should be responding directly.
“But no one on my staff is a social media expert:”
Of course not. Some of the most effective in-house social media managers that I’ve worked with started out knowing little more than updating their own Facebook page (not because I’m just sooooo awesome that my training creates social media superstars, but because they already had the recipe for success). The key is to find someone willing and interested – with good spelling and grammar skills! Because social platforms are just tools, anyone can learn how to use them easily. You want your in-house manager to first and foremost be very knowledgeable about your company and be able to engage and answer questions about it in the online space.
What kind of time will this take?
About an hour or two per day, depending on how interactive you are. Don’t appoint someone who already works overtime to take this on as well; ideally it will be someone who usually has a bit of free time during the work day.
What if you need help?
Having a relationship with a social media consultant is key – you want your in-house manager to have access to a professional who does this work full-time if they have any questions or need campaign or contest ideas.
Cover your bases:
Make sure that your company has a social media policy and that your SM manager signs something saying that under no circumstances will they delete or sabotage your accounts. (Yes, I’ve seen a disgruntled employee do this about two years ago and it was a total train wreck; Facebook was way less responsive back then and we ended up losing a 1k fan Facebook Page).
Also be honest with yourself about this employee and the potential longevity of their relationship with your company. Have them document process and submit a detailed monthly impact report of their online efforts, campaigns, conversations and stats.