Few people deny the benefits social media can bring to a business these days. As more and more business owners have been coming around to the idea, community managers (that’s the industry term for social media managers), have been in high demand.
While it’s not unreasonable to seek outside help in an area as fast-changing as social media, there is a limit to what is reasonable.
Why You Probably Don’t Need a Community Manager
In most cases, it doesn’t make sense for small business owners to hire a community here. Here’s why:
1. Nobody Knows Your Business as Well as You Do.
This is an undeniable reality. Not only do you specialize in your industry or niche, but you also specialize in the things that make your business unique.
Most professional community managers are generalists who manage communities for a variety of businesses. It can be hard to find someone as knowledgable about your topic area as you are. On top of that, it can be a lot of work to get a new community manager up to speed on what your company is all about.
No matter how smart and prepared they are, an outsourced community manager will not be able to replace you.
2. You are Already Integrated With Your Business
A lot of great social content comes from the day-to-day operations of your business. Did you get a big shipment of a new product? Does your restaurant offer different specials daily? An outsourced community manager will not be on-site to snap photos and share them with your community. What if you own a salon and you want to drive business during slower periods? The only way to take advantage of that opportunity is if your community manager there.
3. People Expect You to Be Accessible Through Social Media
A lot of people don’t realize that when customers reach out to businesses online—especially businesses where they may have met the owner in the past—they expect to be communicating with the owner. Marketers know that’s often not the case, but your friends, family, and regular clients believe you’re the person on the other end of their smartphone. If your community manager is not aware of existing relationships, online interactions can slip into awkward territory very quickly.
4. You Can Learn a Lot About Your Business From Your Online Community
If you’re looking to directly influence your customers or get solid feedback and new business ideas, look no further. This is one of the most valuable parts of social media and this opportunity is too good to hand off to an outsider! Your customers will tell you what they love, and they will especially tell you what they hate. Social media is a simple way to be notified of serious issues (including problematic staff), address common questions or concerns, and of course, learn why customers choose you over the competition.
Still Think You Need a Community Manager?
Despite the clear value of doing your own social media, many people still believe they need to hire someone else. Unless you’re running a web-based business, or you are large enough to hire someone full-time, I don’t recommend it.
There are really only two reasons why business owners say they need social media help.
- They don’t have time.
- They don’t know what to do.
I’m here to tell you that both of these objections can be overcome.
All you need to do is simplify. And this is where you might want a little bit of help.
A social strategist will help you develop a process to simplify your social media marketing. They can:
- provide customized training
- determine where you should spend your time
- check-in regularly to make sure things are actually working
- build a content calendar so you have a plan of action
- keep you up-to-date on the constantly changing landscape
I’m going to be launching a new consulting service specifically for entrepreneurs who want to do their own marketing. If this is something you’re interested in, let me know in the comments.