Your Facebook account has a lot of power in your company. It is one of the most public faces your business shows. It’s a key way of interacting with customers, generating leads and bringing in traffic. It’s no wonder that the decision to outsource your Facebook management is a troublesome one. Do you trust something that important to an Intern fresh out of school? Or do you trust the more experienced employees that know your business, but may not know social media? It’s a heavy decision with a lot of factors to consider. Where is your company’s position with these pros and cons?
The number one benefit of outsourcing your Facebook management in particular – and your social media in general – is the proper utilization of time. When you don’t have to personally manage your social media accounts, you have more time to do the things you really care about with your business. Managing a social media account, particularly as it grows to have thousands of followers, can be an incredibly time-consuming chore. Outsourcing it to someone whose sole job is to manage that public relations façade can free up several hours in every day.
Con: You may not want to trust such an important PR role to just anyone.
Who knows your business best? Who knows how to respond to individual questions, comments and suggestions on your Facebook page? Who knows how to drop a bit of tantalizing hint or foreshadowing for upcoming announcements? You can train a social media manager to do all of this, but you can also do it for yourself. It’s entirely likely that no one but you has the pure driving passion necessary to make your social media interactions shine.
When you’re hiring someone to manage your Facebook page, you can look for an intern or a professional social media manager. Interns are cheaper but may lack the experience necessary to properly and safely manage your profile. A professional will be more expensive, but they bring with them an expert knowledge of timing, interactions and restrictions, all of which keep your business out of trouble. Furthermore, when you consider the intricacies of Facebook for SEO, lead generation and public awareness, the experience of a professional can be downright invaluable.
Con: Hiring the right professional can be a time consuming task all its own.
How do you choose the right person to manage your profile? Even for outsourcing a consultant, you’ll need to go through a complex interview process. Chances are good that you’ll need to learn the basics of social media management yourself, just to know what to look for in a professional. You need to make sure the person you hire is capable of managing your business properly. Remember, you’re giving them unprecedented control over the public image of your brand. A single jilted social media manager can demolish your reputation extremely quickly. The person you find needs to be knowledgeable, trustworthy, dedicated and within your budget.
Pro: You can save a significant amount of money by outsourcing.
The monetary cost of doing your own social media work is hard to measure, assuming you’re personally at the helm. You need to come up with an estimate of how much your time is worth, and how much of your time is spend on Facebook when it could be spent on a more productive pursuit. Likewise, hiring someone within your company takes time out of their day to manage Facebook, when they could be fulfilling another role. Hiring someone external to manage your Facebook page has the potential to save you quite a bit of money, particularly if you hire an intern with natural skills but little experience. These interns are more than happy to manage your profile with the prospect of a job as a reward.
Con: You might end up spending more for a good, knowledgeable consultant.
Hiring an external consultant can be expensive. Professionals know what their skills and experience is worth, and they charge their prices. Truly professional social media management can be surprisingly expensive. There are also hidden costs to hiring a cheaper Facebook manager or assigning an intern to the task. Primarily, there’s always the risk that these budget options will fall short of your social goals. They may accidentally drive off customers. They may miss opportunities that a more experienced manager would utilize. They may even find themselves the center of a viral storm of negative press, with escalating reactions that destroy your brand reputation. Of course, there’s no guarantee that any such ill will befall your company; it’s a risk you will have to calculate.
Pro: You don’t need to oversee your Facebook profile day and night.
Once again, time is a factor. If you’re outsourcing your Facebook management, you have plenty of time to yourself. You can rest easy knowing that someone else is on the job for whatever hours you need them to work. Very few businesses have active social media presences outside of extended business hours. Even those that do, rarely stretch to a full 24/7 schedule. Outsourcing your Facebook management allows you to cover as many hours as necessary without dedicating your life to your brand page.
Con: The person who does may not ring with authenticity the way you would prefer.
Every business owner brings a particular touch, voice and passion to their customer interactions. In many cases, it can be the difference between a satisfied customer and a lost conversion. The authenticity of their voice can come into question. Regular users of social media have a finely tuned sense of the social aspects of the platform. They can spot when a business is posting blatant self-promotion without the social engagement necessary to truly bring success. There’s no guarantee that your own voice would bring that success, of course. It becomes a question of value and experience; can you run your profile better than the person you hire, or can you afford someone who can run it better than you?
Facebook management is generally part of a wider social media advertising program and SEO campaign. Internet marketing professionals and social media contractors keep up with the latest developments in the industry. If you’re running your profile yourself, you will likely encounter outdated information and other marketing hazards. Meanwhile a professional has the experience and the knowledge necessary to know what to publish, how to publish it and where it should be published. They know what content is most effective and how to promote it for best effect.
Con: An outsourced manager may not have access to the content they need.
When you outsource your Facebook management, it comes with an assumption that the manager has access to the data and content they need to run your profile. This may mean they hire external writers to create content. It may mean they need direct access to your team to produce new content. In any case, they need some source of content to successfully run your profile. If they are restricted, they may lose opportunities that would otherwise bring new customers and greater brand awareness.
Every business has a different situation and a different perspective on social media. Your needs may not reach a level that requires an outsourced social media professional. On the other hand, hiring one may be the smartest decision you make for your business growth. You will need to carefully analyze your own business, your current Facebook management and the available contractors before you make a decision.