There’s a lot to know about running a successful Facebook page; just look at the last year’s worth of this blog! It’s a lot for anyone to take in, let alone a busy business owner with a lot on her plate. It may be a very good idea to consider outsourcing your Facebook management.
Expertise is a big factor. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of knowledge to reach the status of relative expert, and even more to reach a full expert state. An expert in running a Facebook page will know how to get what they need from you with as little time investment as possible, leaving you free to perform the other tasks you need to keep your business running. More importantly, an expert has already made the mistakes you might, learned from them and refined their approach. The time you might spend researching approaches and fumbling around is time they spend making you money.
Speaking of time, it’s another huge factor. Business owners tend to be ambitious entrepreneurs, always dabbling, always looking for new opportunities. Nothing is worse for them than being unable to capitalize on an opportunity due to the time requirements of an ongoing engagement. You might choose to abandon your Facebook page in favor of your new opportunity, but your business may suffer from that abandonment while your attention is diverted.
Another factor is money. If you’re doing everything yourself, you’re spending time which could be used to increase profits in another area. If you’re hiring an in-house team, you may end up paying more in training and salaries than you would by outsourcing. Granted, some social management companies will greatly over-charge you for their services, but the competition available should help you steer clear of them.
Finally, there’s the issue that Facebook and other social sites are very general. Yes, you need some personal branding information to run a Facebook page successfully, but a lot just needs to be pulled from ongoing ad campaigns, a few chats with you and the time spent to develop a long-term plan. A social management firm can take a minimal amount of time to get what they need to run your page for months.
The point is that anyone with the right training can run Facebook for you. Meanwhile, only you and your employees can run your business properly, research and develop new products, improve existing products and improve your business. Outsource what you can so you can spend more time on what you can’t outsource.
Decide on Scale
How much of your Facebook operation do you want to outsource? At the most basic level, you can hire freelance writers to create the content that fits in with a plan you develop in-house. Keeping a few writers on staff is a minimal investment, but it can save you quite a bit of time.
Going a bit deeper, you can hire a company that will manage your page for you, using content you provide from staff writers or freelancers. You can work together to develop a marketing plan and carry it out, while you keep in close contact to make sure everything stays on track.
In the deep end, you have marketing firms that will handle everything for you, from your brand reputation to your Facebook page to your content creation and your blog. This is by far the most expensive option, but it can leave you with a surplus of time to capitalize on business opportunities you might not otherwise have the attention to follow up on.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Outsourcing has some limitations. You need to strive to avoid the common pitfalls and traps that you may fall into with inexperienced outsourcing.
Remember that your outsourcing is collaborative. You can’t hire a firm and then drop all contact, trusting them to make decisions in your best interests. Instead, you need to be available to discuss various marketing plans before they put them into action.
Be willing to keep control of content creation. No one knows your business and your audience as well as you do. If you can have a few in-house writers or dedicated freelancers familiar with your business and brand, you can create content that is perfectly tailored for your audience. An outsourcing firm is more likely to revert to more general content, which has a broader appeal but is harder to make unique and beneficial to your specific audience. This is particularly visible for local and hyper-local content, mentioning issues specific to your state, city or location.
Remember that relationships should be built with you, not with your outsourcing company. When a user messages you, it’s okay to have your outsourcers refer that message to you for response. Provide them with basic answers for common questions and have them filter content for more detailed responses. You can then take control of relationship building so that if you change companies or choose to migrate to an in-house solution, you won’t lose the rapport you’ve built with your audience. You can’t designate a figurehead, kill that figurehead and expect the relationships it built to stand.
Consider outsourcing different parts of your social presence to different companies. You can keep a social media management firm on hand to create your marketing plan and run it in the day to day. You can keep a graphic designer on hand to create images for your plan, and a writer to keep your content flowing. Each is a possible point of failure, but it’s also a possible point of excellence. A specialized writer is going to create better content than a blogger who also does design and consulting work and is putting only a fraction of their attention into your business. Meanwhile your full reputation can be managed by yet another company. Just make sure you don’t segment your social presence so much that no one knows what they’re supposed to handle.
When all is said and done, you have the capability to outsource your Facebook page management, while maintaining control over your content, imagery and business plan. Outsource what you need to free up the time you need for other projects, and handle what needs a personal touch yourself.