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Outsourcing Social Media

social-media-waste-of-timeBusy business owners should consider delegating marketing – including marketing via social networking.

Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and similar sites can absorb an astonishing amount of time. The results of such marketing efforts may not be immediate. Designating someone else to handle social media makes sense for many entrepreneurs.

“At first I was doing it all myself – Twitter, Facebook, everything,” says Njogu Abasi, a software engineer from Kenya. “It was using up a lot of my time. Both my business and family life began to suffer. I hardly ever saw my wife, and when I did, I was back on Facebook.” Still, Abasi knew an online presence was a key for success in his industry. Eventually, he delegated that part of the firm’s operation to a young assistant.

Before delegating social media networking, however, any entrepreneur should consider several questions.

How Much Time Will You Save?
Many small business owners are astounded when they track the number of hours each week spent on social media. It is easy to allow such activities to take over an incredible amount of time. “Eventually I found that I was spending as much time on social media as on all my other business activities put together,” says Abasi.

By delegating these activities, he cut his workload in half.

Should You Outsource or Keep It In-house?
There are pros and cons to keeping networking duties in house. One advantage is greater control over content and productivity. It may also facilitate better communication between the marketing person and the rest of the company.

The downside is that sometimes an in-house employee is not as familiar with social media as a professional. It may take longer to train the employee in the conventions of the format. Even an employee who regularly uses a personal profile on Facebook may not understand how it can be used successfully to brand your product.

However, in-house employees tend to be more knowledgeable about your product and services, including the strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors.

Ultimately it may come down to the question of how complex your product or service is. Will it be more time-consuming to teach someone about your industry, or to teach someone in your industry about using social networking for marketing?

What Are the Costs?
Social Media Assistants normally charge anywhere from $30 to $45 US per hour, and can command rates up to $70 US per hour. However, they are paid only for the time they work on your sites, according to experts at the Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

An in-house employee may be paid much less per hour – but he or she may spend many hours simply adding a widget to a blog or searching for relevant industry links. In addition, you will probably pay the in-house worker for unproductive hours and may have to offer benefits as well.

No matter which option you choose, adroit use of social media can increase business revenue.

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