August 14, 2011

Rachel Strella

Do What You Do Best and Delegate the Rest

 By Matt Hannaford, Business Development Manager

 Is social media worth the time? What does a social media manager even do? These are two of the questions that I get when I tell people that I am a social media manager. Here are my answers: More than you can even imagine and it depends on the social media manager.

Ok before you tune out from my ambiguity, let me explain…

For me, when I’ve been hired to manage business social media efforts, I act as though I work for that company – and not in a “they signed a contract so I have to give them what it says” sort of way. I look at it as they hired me to work for them as part of THEIR team. When it comes to their social media efforts, I want to give them 100% of my ability to reach their established goals and not just to produce something they think sounds good.  It’s about producing content that’s consistent, timely, and quality.

You can look into an elementary school classroom and realize that it’s human nature to socialize. What’s great is that the web has allowed us multiple platforms and channels with which to converse. Even if Facebook runs its cycle and eventually fazes out, there will be another platform to take its place. There is no “waiting this out” when it comes to social media marketing.

Is social media worth the time? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the answer is yes.  Every business should find a way to engage in a two-way conversation with their customers on the web.  Whether you handle your own social media efforts or you outsource it, I really believe that if you want to continue to grow your business, social media is a key component of any solid marketing plan.

Old Spice® is great example of combining traditional and social media marketing efforts.  Do you remember the buzz about the Old Spice® guy in a towel responding to tweets via YouTube? Here is a video to jog your memory. Old Spice® implemented a comprehensive marketing campaign that coincided with the TV commercial as well as other media. Social media isn’t a silver bullet, but it definitely should be part of the mix.

As for what a social media manager does…. it depends on the social media manager, so I’ll just speak for myself. I work with the client to establish an editorial calendar and then do the research to ensure that both the client and I are always up-to-date on new and changing topics in their field. I write the content that will be posted and send it to the client for final review. Once it’s approved, it will be posted to the client’s social media channels. I also monitor those channels to ensure communication between the audience and the brand. If an immediate need is expressed in the interaction, I will contact the client immediately to ensure they have the information and can address the situation directly.

With over 750 million people on Facebook, and over 200 million users on Twitter it seems like a given that you want to tap into that resource but how can a social media manager help?

For many companies, social media is a marketing effort that many look at and know they should be “doing” but aren’t really sure how to get started. With it being a free service, many will often start a business page which will lie dormant.  Business owners simply get too busy. This is often even worse than having no page at all.

Time is a major factor for businesses. Time is money. You probably don’t have a ton of extra time for social media because you are very good at what you do and that is why you spend your time doing it. I am very good at what I do, but I’m probably not the best accountant or manufacturer. Focusing on my strength is what allows me to be a social media manager.

Here’s the math…if you hire that full time employee with a $30,000/year salary, your actual cost for that employee is in the neighborhood of $37,500 when you add in taxes, unemployment insurance, etc. However, if you hire a social media manager for $1,000/month ($12,000/year) you end up saving around $25,500 in additional payroll costs plus the cost of equipment and space. More time and less money spent? Sounds like a good deal to me.

Who’s on your team?

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