Establishing & Keeping Your Social Media Presence

The U.S. author and entrepreneur Amy Jo Martin said about social media:

It’s a dialogue, not a monologue, and some people don’t understand that. Social media is more like a telephone than a television.

The importance of having an organic, growing social media presence in the correct marketplace is becoming more and more vital to the success of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Without such a presence, in our technology-driven society, very few people can actually see you. And the majority, unless they drive or walk past your premises, won’t even know you exist, let alone stop and talk to you.

Marketing is a totally different landscape to what it used to be – social media is now the best way for SMBs to build business relationships, advertise, keep in touch with existing customers, and acquire new ones. It is why the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not only the places to connect, they are the places to sell, whether that’s your service or product, or just yourself as a brand.

Now, as an SMB owner, your marketing budget isn’t going to be up there with the likes of Nike. Fact. How you apply the limited budget you do have needs careful consideration, and there are plenty of questions you need to answer before you lay the first dollar down.

Firstly, here’s another acronym for you – SMM, which stands for social media marketing. So, the all-important question is this: By doing the SMM myself, or at least in-house, will it be as effective as hiring a professional social media company to do it for you?

As with all sizeable decisions in life, there are the advantages and the disadvantages, the pros and the cons, and, as my uncle used to say, even the smooth and the crunchy (but he was probably just talking about peanut butter).

The aim of this article is to provide you with some expert, down-to-earth guidance as to this decision, weighing up all the factors involved. The main factors which will decide your choice are these:

  • Time
  • Skill-set
  • Hardware and software
  • Knowledge of the business
  • Control
  • Budget

Time

Time, as they say, is money. Producing a viable effort in your social media marketing, when it is conducted in-house, is going to take time to plan and time to deliver. Obviously, you have your ”day job” and running your business. So if you decide that SMM is just another item on the list of duties that that involves, then you need to be prepared to put in extra hours to get the job done.

Employing a social media company to work on your SMM is clearly not going to impact upon your time compared with the in-house approach. There will be an initial time element in terms of setting everything up, but, if everything goes to plan, you can (figuratively speaking) sit back and enjoy the extra custom and kudos generated by the SMM, as you go about your normal work activities.

Skill-Set

SMM is not simply knowing how to hit the share button on Facebook, posting a cool product photo on Instagram, or joining the latest hot topic debate on Twitter. It takes serious planning, goal-setting, scheduling, and the important issue of brand portrayal. You may well have the skill-set to envisage and decide upon all of these things, but do you have the skill-set to put it all into practice?

If extra training is required to improve your current skill-set to what is needed for DIY SMM, you need to include this your “time factor” calculations. Social media is constantly growing, of that, there is little doubt. However, it is also evolving, changing and adapting to meet the demands of its users. By taking on your own SMM, you will need to keep as up-to-date with its evolution as you possibly can.

If you hire a social media company, the skill-set is assured.

Hardware & Software

Social media is basically an extension of our daily lives now. It’s easy to access – PC, tablet, phone – and it’s easy to participate. However, having an ongoing SMM campaign is more than simple participation.

Once you have decided on your SMM plan, and all that it entails, you need to work out if you have everything you need, in terms of hardware and software, to be able to run the campaign and cope with any significant increase in your business that’s generated.

Knowledge of the Business

As the owner of your SMB, you know all you need to know how to run your business. If there’s something you don’t know, you find out. And quick. Regardless of the nature of your business, if you decide that hiring a social media company is the better option for your SMM, how much awareness of your business’s marketplace do these people need to run the campaign effectively? This is an important question when it comes to the due diligence involved in deciding which social media company would be a good fit for your business.

Control

By doing all your social media marketing yourself, you remain in control. However, if things don’t go to plan, you only have yourself to blame. By hiring a social media company to carry out your SMM, you relinquish that control (although, you will have clearly defined parameters and targets within the contract).

Social Media Marketing Budget

Ah, the all-important last factor – how to spend your hard-earned dollars. SMM needs to be looked upon as an investment in the future productivity for your SMB. Sow the right seeds, and you’ll be harvesting the benefits continually, in terms of heightened brand awareness, increased sales, better customer relations, and better customer retention.

Your Hard-Earned Dollars…

As with all major business decisions, it’s usually decided by money, those hard-earned dollars. If you have enough of a budget to begin a coherent social media effort by yourself – do it. That’s the simple part. However, the effectiveness of DIY SMM can be difficult to measure. How does the increase in your business’s productivity stack up against your outlay? If you are in a financial position to hire a social media company, you will easily be able to measure the given results and to analyze the impact and effectiveness of the SMM campaign.

Conclusion

The factors described above – time, skill-set, hardware and software, knowledge of the business, control, and budget – all need to be taken into consideration when making your decision. Are there any other factors which you consider worthy of mention? Tell us at blog@invoicebus.com.

Andrew Macia
Hi, my name is Andy! I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but raised in Los Angeles, California. I’m an active entrepreneur and marketing specialist, with my own successful digital marketing agency for a global client list based in Medellín, Colombia.
Andrew Macia

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