Before you’ve tried it, it sounds easy. You just sit down, maybe even with a service like Hootsuite, configure your company Facebook page and schedule a couple posts. No sweat, right?
But then you notice, the posts kind of look alike and, a week later, they’re getting no attention.
So you up the game a little bit, do some googling, see what’s trending in cat pictures, and before you know it you spent an hour writing one post.
Out of a new sense of panic you find a Youtube video and a meme to fill out your schedule. Still, little or no interest generated in your audience.
But you are a professional: You have customers to keep happy. So Facebook takes a back seat while you do what puts food on the table. A month later you’re talking to another professional and Facebook comes up in the conversation. With the mental image of the whopping 3 likes on your company page (two being you and your spouse) you say, “Yeah I tried that, but it didn’t really work.”
From that moment on, if you see a local business with 3,000 likes or even a major company with over half a million likes, you feel a twinge of resentment. How can they do it? You think. It has to be their big budget. You console yourself. But then you read an article in a trade magazine and, oh great, there is a sole-proprietor in your industry that has 30,000 likes and booming business. HOW?!?!?
If you want to be on a success trajectory in your social media. you have two perfectly legitimate choices:
1, you could take the time to educate yourself more on how to do your own successful social media, and carve out some time to organize yourself and establish a production rhythm.
Or 2, you could hire it out.
You may have just read number 1 and said ‘that’s time I don’t have.’ then read number 2 and said ‘…and that’s money I don’t have.’ I’m here to tell you you’re wrong on both points.
I can tell you you’re wrong because I’m not making a bent penny from this blog post.
First of all, you can do it yourself if it is really a priority. That means doing some reading, organizing some content sources, and preparing set time to write and schedule content and to reply to interaction. Also a must is a small budget for promotion. You would be amazed how far even $50 per month can take you.
Regarding contracting out to an agency, it will still require some of your time and attention. There is no getting away from the fact that your business is the topic of the content and that you will have to provide some information and maybe photos to an agency. However an agency is well trained and methodical, they have content curation, they have brand monitoring, they have fancy software, they have content specialists who are pretty fast at delivering quality content, and they know social media really well and usually have the numbers to prove it.
Hiring out doesn’t eliminate the need for you to make some of your own posts, or respond to interaction, but it takes the heavy lifting off your shoulders and usually grows your following at an optimal rate.
How much it costs depends on your budget. There are definitely recommended budgets, and you will get more when you spend more, but often a service plan can be tailored to your budget. Think about $500 per month as a starting place. If you can commit $500-1000 additional for campaigns, it would be money well spent.*
*Obviously I can’t speak for any agency. Prices and quality may vary substantially. I know at least one agency that recommends $9,000 per month. Again it is money well spent but not many small businesses can afford that. Don’t be ashamed of a small budget. Agencies balance their time over several clients.
As a side note, if you are tempted to try an agency for just one month. They have heard that a hundred times, and they will tell you what they have told everyone else 100 times. You can do that, but social media is relationship building. A short run is more like 3-6 months. Social scales exponentially, so by using them for one month or two you are actually robbing yourself of the highest value months.
So now like any smart businessman you’re thinking, $500 per month for three months, plus one big campaign… $2,500. If you’re starting to think you could hire someone part time for minimum wage for the same money, abort thought! Remember that in hiring an agency they are trained, researched, practiced, have professional accountability and development, and are tooled up.
The time lost in finding your unqualified worker, setting them up on a computer, and them getting up to speed to the extent that your social media is on a positive trajectory (if that ever happens) will be to the tune of weeks if not months.
Agencies want to retain your business just as you want to retain your customers. They will do their level best to return value for your investment because they want to keep you as a customer.
It doesn’t matter which route you take, so long as your actions are substantial enough to yield real returns. Anything short of that is indeed “not working for you.”