Sometimes, when running a business, you just reach a point of collapse. You’re sleeping three hours a night and working 26 during the day. You’re taking everything on your own plate, and your business is suffering for it. You have the passion, you have the drive, but you don’t have the physical time. Until NASA invents a time machine, you’re going to have to step back and cut something out.
Sooner or later, that something is going to be your Facebook page marketing. Maybe it’s taking too much time. Maybe you just don’t like it. Maybe there’s one persistent troll and you just want to force someone else to deal with them. Whatever the case, hiring a Facebook page manager is a process.
1. Determine if You Really Need It
Before you jump the gun and get to hiring, you need to determine whether or not you really need a Facebook page marketer on contract. There might be another less important task that’s taking up a lot of your time, and is perfect for you to designate to an existing employee or hire a new employee to handle.
One thing to be cautious of, however, is to hire an intern or give social media responsibilities to an existing employee because “they use Facebook all the time.” The problem with this approach is one of skill. There’s a world of difference between someone who uses Facebook and someone who is a Facebook marketing expert. When you hire an expert, you’re hiring their skill and experience as a marketer.
2. Decide Between a Single Consultant or an Agency
This is mostly a matter of scale. Do you want to hire a single consultant to handle your business responsibilities, or do you want to hire an agency that will dedicate a team to your business? If your business is small, you have a low volume of content and a small number of fans, you can probably get away with a solo consultant. On the other hand, if you’re a large business with hundreds of thousands or millions of fans, you’re going to want an agency to handle all of the many responsibilities that come with managing your social presence.
You also have to consider other social networks. Are you hiring someone to manage Facebook, or are you hiring them to manage Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Yelp, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram? One solo person is probably going to be overwhelmed with all of those networks.
3. Compile a List of Potential Clients or Agencies
Once you’ve determined that you need to hire or contract a social manager, you need to start making a list of possible candidates. Run some searches and look for advertising specifically for social managers or Facebook managers. Here are some things to watch for:
- How much they’re advertising.
- How many clients they claim to have, and who, if they list them.
- Whether or not they’re local to your business, if locality is a factor.
- Whether you’ve worked with their agency before.
- Their price.
- Their contracts, in terms and duration.
- Their reputation.
All of this will give you a good idea of who they are, and will allow you to build a pros and cons list for each potential client.
4. Analyze Reputation, Costs and Responsibilities
Now it’s time to narrow down the field. The first step, before you contact anyone, is to analyze their online reputation. Is it mostly positive? Is it non-existent? Does it show signs of aggressive reputation management? Is it just not believable?
If they pass this test, you can start to look at their contracts and costs. How much room do you have to negotiate? Are you going to be locked into their idea of a good contract, or do they create custom contracts for every business they work for?
Cost, of course, is a factor. You should be wary of any agency that lists costs that are much lower than you might expect. Chances are, if the price is too good to be true, the service will probably fit the price. Conversely, if the price is too high, they’re probably an agency marketing themselves towards business with much more money to throw around.
5. Interview Top Prospects
Pick the top candidate and contact them. Talk to their sales rep and try to hash out a trial contract. Ideally, you will be in a month or two long contract with an exit clause if you don’t quite fit with their model.
This is where you should learn as much as you can about the way things would work if you signed the contract. Who would you be contacting, and how directly are they handling your account? How much communication, power, and access would they need?
6. Ask for a Social Audit
Many social managers will offer some kind of audit. If they don’t, ask for one. This will be your chance to see what their impressions of your current state are, where they see improvements, and where they see you’ve been doing the right thing. You can also perform a sample audit yourself, so you have results to compare them to.
7. Consider a Trial Contract
Once you’ve had all of your questions answered satisfactorily, it’s time to make your decision. Are you going to contract with this agency, or are you going to thank them for their time and explore another option? Most of the time, you will have no obligation up to this point. You will be able to go through the process with another company, and come back to this one if it turns out to be the best option. The delay might even encourage them to offer you special pricing for a duration as an incentive to sign on.
8. Work with Your Chosen Agency or Consultant
Simple. Once you’ve signed a contract, work with the company, contractor, agency or employee to get everything up and running smoothly.
9. Review Agency Performance
Occasionally, every few months, you will want to review the state of your social networks, accounts and campaigns. Review the performance of your Facebook page manager and determine if the contract is going well. If it is, keep going. If not, well.
10. Continue or Start Over
That’s all there is to it. If you made the right choice, you will have no problem continuing on. If the agency is not a good fit for your business, go back to your list of prospective consultants and start looking for a new one.