Social Media Engagment
Today’s post is by Samantha Gluck, Owner and Executive Dream Weaver, All Media Freelance, LLC and Editor in Chief, Freelance Writing Dreams and Medtopicwriter .
In response to the proliferation of social media platforms and profile management tools, small business owners jumped at the chance to utilize these sites to market and promote their goods as well as build brand awareness.
Between Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and the many free blogging platforms, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to create an authoritative Internet presence without spending any money up front. But nothing in this life truly comes to us free of charge; the time people must spend to gain a material benefit from these powerful tools has increased, creating a hidden cost.
Social Media Engagement by Proxy
With increasing frequency, overburdened business owners choose to hire outside help to engage with their followers on their blogs and various social media profiles. By outsourcing the social media engagement duties to another person, these bootstrapping entrepreneurs hope to gain more time for tending to tasks that they cannot delegate to others.
Typically, those hired for this purpose handle the social media engagement and profile maintenance of several companies simultaneously. As business owners themselves, they have a true stake in managing client social media engagement and the associated ancillary tasks with professionalism and excellence.
Prepare – Like a Boy Scout
Anyone thinking about outsourcing his company’s social media engagement duties shouldn’t do so without careful preparation and properly vetting the candidates. Hiring an inexperienced social media assistant can result in devastating consequences for a business; just one errant tweet or off-color status update could ruin the entire career of certain business owners, such as physicians and attorneys.
Interview a number of independent social media assistants before settling on one. Ask for client references and follow through on checking them out. Take a look at the tweet streams, Google Plus and Facebook posts they run for clients to see how they handle direct engagement and if their posts stay within the scope of that particular industry. It’s ok if you see a few posts and tweets about topics outside of the topical range of the business. In fact, it’s preferred to add variety and humanize the engagement.
Once you’ve narrowed down to two equally qualified candidates, pick the one whose personality and style best matches your own. Don’t just choose the guy or gal with the lowest rate. The person with the personality that compliments your style the best will end up costing you less in the long run even if he or she charges a slightly higher rate.
Cliff notes:take the time to check references and social media posts for clients; personality matters; industry specific experience matters; rates matter, but far less than the other factors. Do these things – like a Boy Scout – and you’ll likely feel great about your choice.
The Thin Green Line – Rates
Most social media assistants charge by the hour. Rates can range from $25 per hour all the way up to $75 per hour depending on experience, references, and certain certifications. This may seem steep at first to a bootstrapping entrepreneur who’s frontin’ (temporarily, of course) while he wheels and deals, but keep the intangible savings in mind – time and freedom to tend to executive duties.
You’ll still need to check out your social media profiles on a regular basis and it’s wise to log on yourself and do a little face-to-face engagement with fans and followers for a short time each day. But, the social media assistant takes care of all the time consuming day to day tasks: curating appropriate content from vertical and horizontal industry sources, hashtag research, loading up automated posting systems (i.e. BundlePost), thanking followers for mentions, participating in #FollowFriday and other important Twitter traditions.
Don’t even think about adding these duties to those of an existing employee. Not only will this eat into the time your employee needs to properly complete existing duties, he or she may not know how to properly brand and market a business in the realm of social media.
Bootstrapper: “But Petra has a beautifully designed Facebook page and tons of Twitter followers with lots of activity on both platforms. John Stamos even follows her! Why can’t I just get her to do the social media in addition to the other things she does for me?”
Samantha: “Having a popular and slick looking personal Facebook profile, or thousands of Twitter followers, does not translate into knowledge of marketing strategies. Bite the bullet and hire a qualified, experienced assistant, or do it yourself. John Stamos really follows her?”
Beware the Gurus, Rock Stars, and Sherpas
Don’t take the process of hiring a social media engagement assistant lightly. The proliferation of social media platforms has given rise to a proliferation of self-proclaimed ‘experts’. A good rule of thumb: if a person has to explicitly state their “expert” or “guru” status as a social media rock star, they’re probably posers. Those who truly know how to properly handle the social media engagement and associated tasks for various businesses let their success speak for itself. They have humble profiles that clearly state their expertise without pomp or fanfare – like a boss.
Only authentic engagement and a decided team effort, on the part of the business owner and the social media assistant, can harness the full benefit of this powerful and increasingly important marketing and branding tool for your social media engagement.
You may also follow Samantha over on Twitter.