An effective social media strategy can take your business to new heights.
But with so many things to consider – posting valuable content, responding to queries and comments, engaging with influencers and brands, keeping tabs on competitors, staying up-to-date with the trends, and creating and reviewing strategies – social media tasks can be exhausting and time-consuming. This is why many brands choose to outsource social media.
Doing so allows you to learn and work with individuals who are experts in the field. It gives you access to highly-skilled people who knows the ins and outs of the social space. More importantly, it frees up so much of your time, so you’ll be able to focus on growing your brand and working on your bottom line.
However, getting started on outsourcing social media can be confusing. So, to help you out, here are some tips on what to do, what to look for, and what to avoid.
How to Outsource Social Media
1. Set your goals and parameters.
First, determine why you want to outsource your social media efforts.
Are the demands of your social channels increasing so significantly that you need expert help? Do you want to grow your social presence but have limited knowledge and skills? Or perhaps you want to spend more time scaling your business?
Once you’ve identified your goals, decide how much of the workload to assign and what the set-up process will be. For instance, will the person/people you’re outsourcing to focus on social media posting or should they engage with customers as well? Will they handle both the copy and graphics of the posts? Will they manage all your social accounts or only certain ones?
Since outsourcing social media can be overwhelming, try to pick one task at a time and add the workload as you go along. And be sure to define your working terms, guidelines, and strategies before hiring a new freelancer, contractor, or agency to minimize the chances of errors and conflict.
2. Do your research.
Whether it’s an agency or a freelancer, your social media pro is more than just someone who handles your social accounts – they’re your company’s “voice” online. And while it’s tempting to go with who can quickly craft posts or has the lowest cost, it’s vital to outsource social media to people you can trust. That’s why you need to do extensive research before hiring someone.
To do this, look them up on Google to see local reviews from their own clients. Visit their website for testimonials from previous and current brands they’ve worked with. Their LinkedIn and other social channels are also great places to check for comments and feedback. Lastly, consider reaching out to your industry peers for any referrals of people they’ve worked with.
Bonus tip: Apart from reviews, you can gauge their social media management capabilities by how they handle their own social accounts. If they don’t walk the walk, can they really implement the best practices on your channels?
3. Give clear instructions.
Once you’ve selected your social media person and identified which tasks to outsource, it’s time to make sure that they know and understand their scope of work.
Consider having an on-boarding session with them to discuss your company’s social media strategies. Be sure to give them the essential files about your brand – customer avatar, style guide, competitors study, visual calendar, and so on. If you have some legal regulations, such as certain things they can’t disclose, it’s best to make these very clear to them before they start any work.
Similarly, though they’re knowledgeable and skilled in the industry, you can offer tools and resources that will help ensure they fully grasp your social media processes. But, at the same time, be open to their suggestions and ideas – you might be surprised at how much these could improve your business.
4. Use a social media management tool.
Reputable agencies should already be using the right social media management tools. Or if you’re hiring a freelancer, your company should already own a tool so you can invite them as a user.
With the help of SMM tools, you can have a more collaborative approach to your outsourced social media efforts. You can keep an eye on what your team members are doing and closely monitor their work. More importantly, you can set up an approval process where you’ll get to check, review, give feedback, and make revisions before publishing the posts.
Using such tools increases your social engagements and leads, improves your online presence, and ensures everyone works efficiently and stays supported from end-to-end.
5. Have weekly phone calls.
Once you’ve started outsourcing social media tasks to an agency or freelancer, you need to work closely with them to ensure that everyone’s always on the same page.
Even if you’ve already shared guidelines, provided training tools, and offered onboarding resources, a lot of different things can come up along the way. For instance, some customer complaints might lead your social media person to reach out to you for guidance on what can and can’t be said. Don’t leave them hanging and be ready to assist, so they’ll know how to respond accurately and appropriately.
Remember, working closely doesn’t mean having brief monthly check-ins. While email is a good way to communicate, calls are better for this one because they’re a little more personal and require more accountability. Even if they’re quick, a five-minute call every week is a great way to touch base and make sure all of your efforts are still aligned.
6. Work off of a social media calendar.
As we’ve mentioned, a social media calendar (or visual calendar) is one of the things you should share with whoever you outsource social media to, in order to get them acquainted with your brand. But, it’s also important that you consistently use this with them as work moves along.
A calendar helps you strategically plan your content in advance, particularly what to post, when, and where. It minimizes chances of duplicate posts and ensures a cohesive posting across all channels. It helps everyone to work more efficiently and collaborate effortlessly, and you to monitor all tasks easily. Above all, it enables your consultant to see the bigger picture. They’ll know what tasks to prioritize or what’s due soon.
Remember, social media shouldn’t be done spur of the moment, so be sure to give feasible and practical timelines.
7. Encourage collaboration between teams.
Social media management is not a one-person show. If you want to succeed, you need to learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate with everyone. But this doesn’t mean that it’s only a relationship between you and them.
If you have an existing in-house marketing team, encourage them to work together with your outsourced staff. If you outsource social media from different individuals, make sure they’re able to work closely together. From bouncing off ideas to sharing insights among themselves, empowering them to operate as one can boost your company’s growth and improvement.
8. Define crystal clear KPIs.
We touched on this a little bit with the first tip, where we talked about goals. But we need to take it one step further. Your social media person should have concrete numbers to work toward. This is where KPIs really come in handy.
For instance, are you expecting a certain percentage of growth with your Instagram page? Are you trying to sell a specific amount of product via Facebook? Do you have a goal to get a certain number of newsletter sign-ups using your YouTube channels?
What are these numbers? Define them and make them clear when you outsource social media.
Abstract goals like “Grow our Facebook page” or “Increase views on YouTube” are a good place to start, but they’re not enough. Assign numbers for these goals, so that they know what the expectations are.
As an added bonus, KPIs help you determine if these social media efforts are paying off.
(To be clear, none of this is to say that if they don’t hit these numbers exactly, they’re not qualified or they’re doing a poor job.)
9. Create processes for everything.
- Do you want your social media person to run weekly or monthly reports? How? What information should these include? When do you want to see them?
- Would you like them to write tweets in a certain way? How? Should they include an image? Hashtags? Links?
- Do you have a process for selecting which hashtags you want to use on Instagram? What’s the process?
Ideally, you want to build steps that your social media person can follow one by one. Maybe you provide this for them, or maybe you work together to create such processes. The point is this: You need processes.
This one and the previous tip kind of go hand in hand. It won’t be enough to tell them, “Post on Facebook once a day.” This doesn’t provide enough guidance. We’re not telling you to micromanage. You can still give this person room to be creative and flexible and test new things (which is great!). Rather, you need to be specific with your wants, needs, and goals.
The Key Takeaway
Outsourcing your social media management tasks brings a lot of benefits to your business. It can provide you the expertise, skills, and experience needed to succeed in the social space. Plus, it gives you more time to work on other aspects of the business. And with these simple and actionable tips, you can ensure that doing so will work well for your brand.
However, remember that, as with everything online, things can evolve rapidly. That’s why having open and consistent communication with your outsourced members (and possibly with your in-house staff) is vital in making sure all efforts are aligned and in their best shape at all times.
Likewise, keep in mind that consistently tracking and measuring your progress is key in making sure your efforts are really working as planned. And with e-clincher, you can have the robust data and insights you need to help identify what’s performing well and what needs to be revised.
Whether you’re still deciding on outsourcing your social media efforts or have recently selected a professional to help, e-clincher is here for you. We’re your one-stop-shop for everything digital marketing and social media management. Try it out for yourself and see why everyone is falling in love. Sign up for your free trial today.