On July 1, 2012 on this very site, Matthew Bellows talked about the importance of e-mail as a tool for converting warm sales leads. He noted that while social media is important, it is ultimately e-mail that will drive sales.
It’s a good point, and thus a worthwhile read for any marketer or salesperson operating in the world of business today. It does not, however, change the fact that social media is a vitally important piece of your strategy.
For sales, e-mail may remain the most critical wrench in your business toolbox, but your specialized tools for social media can reach a different crowd entirely. Many of your customers lean heavily on their mobile devices and their electronics to keep them connected to the world, and are increasingly savvy about sales messaging. They don’t want to be sold to so much as they want to be talked to, to have someone carry on a conversation that just so happens to be about your business philosophy and products.
Because this requires a different worldview than your usual sales or marketing team member has been trained to have, your company should have a dedicated social media expert.
The Ideal Expert
It’s becoming increasingly trendy to staff your social media guru spot with someone young. That’s wise to a point — the younger generations have grown up with social media and are very comfortable navigating it — but it should not be a mortal lock.
Instead, look for a deep understanding. Your expert-to-be should know the major platforms in and out, have at least a working knowledge of writing, video and webinars/podcasts and be able to grasp how SEO works. If they’re 22 or 40, every candidate and especially every hire should exhibit an active mastery of at least the basics of social media.
They also need to have one heck of a work ethic. Social media management is relatively easy to get started with and requires little time per post or update, but that time adds up fast. I would estimate that I spend about 30 hours a week on theBizEngine blog, Twitter feed, Facebookand various other platforms in order to promote our content and have conversations around small business.
It’s critically important to do it and I thoroughly enjoy doing so, but it’s not a gig for a part-time employee.
Above all, though, you need someone who knows their stuff. The only question is, what if you can’t find someone?
Should You Outsource?
If you can’t find a candidate who satisfies your requirements, you can outsource the work to a dedicated SEO company.
There are so many great companies out there who can really take your social media marketing efforts to the next level. In essence, all you will need to do is consult with these companies, keep abreast of the work they are doing on your behalf and be sure that everything is up to brand standards.
The question here is cost. Chances are good that you will pay at least as much per year for a quality social media firm as you would for an employee, and those who enjoy being in total control of what comes out of their company might not find that to be a palatable option.
If you don’t want to have someone in-house and you have the revenue to make it a reality, though, outsourcing can be an excellent choice.
Either way, I believe a social media expert can make an enormous difference for your business. With their ability to reach wide swaths of people quickly and easily and a chance to make a lasting impact on customers past, present and future, they are essential. Just make sure you hire a great one.
Does your business have a dedicated social media expert?
Social Media Photo via Shutterstock