Social Media: Should Small Businesses Train or Hire?

Jun 09 2010

I recently answered this LinkedIn question and wanted to share my response with you:

As a small business, do you want to be trained on how to use social media or hire a social media strategist to implement it for you?

Great question, Cynthia. I manage an online marketing firm that specializes in social media and we recommend to our small businesses that they use us very strategically.

For example, we typically work with the executive(s) to establish goals and objectives of a social media program and then we work to set up the infrastructure for the internal team to manage on a daily basis.

That might include:

  • Setting up SoMe channels such as Facebook, Twitter and a blog
  • Building a social media editorial calendar that corresponds with events, PR and other marketing activities so that the company is well aligned and leverages all efforts to achieve their goals
  • Setting up a listening system with appropriate keywords (brand terms, competitors, industry phrases)
  • Establishing a Social Media SWAT team and training the internal staff to listen, digest, and respond accordingly to conversations that are relevant
  • Developing a crisis communications plan based on industry best practices and customized to your vertical and market idiosyncrasies
  • Establishing KPI (key performance indicators) and assigning someone in-house to consistently update  them
  • Periodic check-in with the agency to make sure you’re on track and moving the dial in the right direction

Agencies and consultants are specialists and there are times when you will need a specialist to ensure that your investment in both time and dollars is being well spent.

Lastly, if your dollars are limited, give the consultant a total budget and ask him/her what can be done for that amount. That way, you and the consultant go into the relationship understanding the parameters and there are no hidden costs or scope creep issues.

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Siouxsie Jennett
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