I think we all can agree that social media is now one of the most essential tools for growing a business.
Between the rise in digital networking and the effects of a global pandemic – we spend more time online now than ever. Social media is the most direct way to connect with existing and new customers, nurture connections, provide education, and create brand loyalty.
Although every business owner knows they need social media, not every business owner has the time to dedicate to it. To leverage social media and all that it has to offer, you have to stay up to date on the latest trends, creatively in-tune, and most importantly, consistent. Phew, that sounds like a BIG time commitment.
We don’t doubt your capabilities, but we know that most business owners have a different zone of genius….which is what they do in their business.
This is why you need a social media marketer!
Outsourcing your social media marketing to a qualified agency or freelancer will allow you to focus on your business while knowing that your social media channels are being updated consistently with quality, intentional content.
But the social media industry is ever-evolving and not all creatives are the same. So how do you know what to look for and who to hire?
Here is what we recommend being on the lookout for when it comes to hiring a social media marketer:
Identify Your Social Media Needs
The type of service provider you seek out will depend on the type of support you and your business need.
Some social media freelancers and agencies are full-service, offering everything from strategy, planning, content creation, scheduling and posting.
While some specialize in one or a few of the above, such as content creation but no scheduling, or strategy but no creation. There are also social media consultants who can work with you to develop the strategy and ideas, and then you are responsible for implementation.
Deciding what service you need will heavily depend on what you can bring to the table and how much time you have available to invest.
For example, if you are NOT a creative person or if you are somewhat creative but just don’t have the time, seek out a full-service agency that can take it all off of your plate. Or let’s say the nature of your business inherently has a lot of imagery and content, like photographers, wedding planners or similar businesses – you may benefit from a service that strictly focuses on copywriting for captions and scheduling.
Our, slightly biased, opinion is to seek out a full-service agency from the get-go. Whether you’re determined to dedicate time towards your social media presence or you’re a Type-A entrepreneur who struggles to hand off control, you know that your time is better spent in your business while leaving a professional to spend time on your social media.
2. Know Your Industry Well
Although you’re planning on outsourcing your social media marketing, you are still the expert in your field. Social media marketers are experts in social media – but they will never know your field as well as you do. It’s imperative that you educate your potential SMM on your industry – whether this is having a discovery session to share all of the information they need or providing them with qualified resources where they can source from.
You cannot expect a SMM to know your industry as well as you do. But they will need to know the ins and outs of your business well enough to properly represent it on social media.
Here are two ways to find the right SMM for your business:
Option 1: Find one who specializes in your industry. There are many SMM who specifically cater to restaurants, medical, hospitality, products, etc. If you are in a highly specialized field, it may be worth seeking out an agency that knows it already.
Option 2: Vet your SMM and their process before hiring them. When you have a consultation with your potential SMM, ask how they intend on learning your business and industry. Do they wing it? Do they rely on Google? They spend a day shadowing you? It’s crucial that they have a plan to learn your business before beginning your services.
For example, we cater to a range of businesses from various industries including medical, food and lifestyle. We are not experts in every single one of these fields. But our onboarding process includes a thorough discovery call to ensure that we learn your values, philosophy, processes, client avatar, service offerings, specials, etc. This ensures that before we start marketing your business, we have a clear and knowledgeable understanding of your business and industry.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
We are begging you, please do not hire a SMM with the expectation of increasing your followers by thousands in a set amount of time. We just might run in the other direction…
It’s important to have measurable and realistic goals for your social media presence.
The most common KPIs that we track are:
-Link Clicks and Traffic
Of course, every SMM wants to increase your sales, book more clients and grow your following. But in order to have a healthy strategy with a realistic starting point, you must have realistic goals based on your starting point.
If you have 100 Instagram followers and have been inconsistently posting once a month for the past year, it would be unrealistic to want to gain 10,000 followers in 3 months. However, you may see an initial spike in all metrics in the first month to 3 months as you maintain consistency with your new SMM. But it’s important to understand that these will level out after the newfound consistency becomes the new baseline.
Keep in mind that follower count isn’t everything, but that’s another topic for another day. Experienced social media marketers will know which metrics matter based on your goals. And most SMM will provide you with monthly analytics reports to keep you in the loop with these metrics.
But remember, no growth is linear. One of the most common patterns we see when starting with a new client is growth in engagement but a loss in followers. We actually consider this a good pattern. This is typically a result of followers dropping off as you increase consistency. This means that those followers are likely not your target market, so it’s not really a loss for them to unfollow you. We want to increase the ratio of followers to engagement. If this means less followers who engage more, we’ll take it!
4. Ask for Work Samples and Processes
Now that you know your needs, industry standards and goals – it’s time to find the right fit for you and your business!
When shopping for SMM’s, it’s okay to ask for work samples. Most SMM’s, especially ones who offer content creation, will have client profiles or case studies to show as an example of their work. They may not be specific to your industry or aesthetic, but this will give you a good measure of the quality of their work.
In addition to seeing their work, ask about their processes. It’s important to know how they onboard new clients, what the content approval process looks like, how revisions will work, communication rate, and check-ins.
There isn’t a right or wrong process to SMM services. But there will be a right or wrong fit for you depending on your work style and needs. Stay true to your values and vision and you’ll find the perfect fit for you!