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Why You Shouldn’t Let Just Anyone Do Your Social Media

One of the biggest stigmas I fight against as a social media manager is that: anyone can do it.

And… as cringy as it is, it’s kind of true. The phrase makes me think of the theme from the Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille, which is: “Anyone Can Cook.” Yes, anyone CAN – in the sense that a great chef (aka social media marketer) can come from anywhere. But… that also doesn’t mean you should hire just anyone to handle your social media marketing for you. (Full disclosure, I’m pretty sure I got my first social media marketing position by sheer dumb luck and the fact I was willing to accept a low salary, so… there is that.)

I walk into organizations time and time again where they have tasked their social media to the: secretary/office assistant/office manager/part-time worker/salesperson/whoever-doesnt-have-enough-hours-right-now position. 

Ashley R. Smith - Fluent in Social Media and Owner of Social Jargn, a social media marketing company managing your social media so you can manage your business.

(Here’s why that’s a bad strategy:

1. You’re taking someone away from the primary duties of their job. The second biggest stigma I face is, “it only takes 10 seconds to create a post.” FALSE! It only takes 10 seconds to publish a post. Good social media takes more than just type, upload, click. There’s a solid strategy behind it, working to build your business, and taking steps toward your overall goals. I’ve found either the primary duties the employee is tasked with are getting completed, and social media still ends up not getting done, or your social media is rockin’ but… the things the employee was initially hired to do aren’t. And if you’re doing your own social media as a solo entrepreneur, you especially understand the struggle here. More of this in point #4…

2.  Your sales reps are great at what they do – sales. They make the company money. And social media is a phenomenal tool when in the hands of someone who knows how to use it! Unfortunately, not all salespeople have received this training (click here for one opportunity) and social media isn’t sales, it’s social. Veterans in sales tend to be comfortable doing what they do best and without proper training or knowledge, your social media posts aren’t going to look uniform and can come across as too pushy or too sales-y. If you sell, sell, sell on social media your audience is going to stop engaging with you.

3. Social media is one of THE most powerful tools a business or organization has under its belt. Social media provides a ton of benefits to a business. However, it’s all too common for this to be given to “the youngest person in the room” because… well, their age. The attitude is, “this person knows what they’re doing because they’re on their phone all the time on social media anyway!” And while that may be true and my next statement may be generalizing a bit too much, think about it… odds are, you just gave the keys to THE BIGGEST VEHICLE for your business’s marketing strategy and sales growth to the most inexperienced person in your company. It’s like giving a newly licensed 16-year-old a lamboroghini with a full tank of gas and no supervision or guidance. (Sidenote: we’re reaching an interesting time where younger generations aren’t on Facebook even though your -customers- are, so they really have no better leverage on how it works over their supervisors.)

4. Maybe you’re doing your own social media due to enjoyment or for budgetary reasons and I will never knock someone from doing what they have to in the infancy of their business. BUT… wouldn’t you rather work on the reason you started your business instead of your social media? I mean, I would MUCH rather work on my business than do my bookkeeping. Yuck. The same should be true for your marketing.

Now, I get it – not everyone can hire a marketing agency to take care of their social media for them (ahem… that’s where I come in) BUT… what should you look for when you’re trying to hire someone? Whether it be an employee, an agency, or (*ahem*) a contractor? (*ahem*cough*cough*)

1. They have to know their stuff. And you’ll know it if they don’t. Aside from an impressive resume, they talk the talk and walk the walk. They’ll have knowledge of strategies, methods, and common practice in the social media realm, not just lingo and tech-talk. And they won’t be afraid to explain it to you or to teach you how it works. I do the best I can to remove the jargon from the work I do (I’m a social media translator after all!) and will explain how things work in the best way I can to people who may not be familiar with the tech world. Heck, during the first meeting I’m usually able to tell someone a few things that I’d like to implement immediately just based upon the initial conversation.

2. Know who you’re going to be working with. Most agencies have a salesperson, then will assign you to an account manager, then you have a creative team and those are the people who end up actually carrying out your message. Do you see the overhead here? Not only that, but there’s a lot that can be lost in translation when you’re playing this long game of telephone with this many players. As far as an employee goes – be sure you have a clear communication path for that person so you don’t end up with the same problems internally. When organizations hire me, they get me – I close the sale, I offer recommendations, I build the plan, I communicate with the decision-makers, and I’m the one who executes. Nothing is lost in translation and if there’s an error, I’m the one who fixes it.

3. You have to like the person, or people, who will be responsible for your marketing. Do you enjoy talking to this person? Could you see yourself liking to work with them? Now, it’s never a popularity contest and even if you do find someone you like it may not be the right fit for your business. But personality clashes are something you really want to avoid. Especially when you start talking contract terms (agencies) or salary (employees). Trust your gut.

4. They are interested in what you do. If an employee is just looking for a job, they’re going to leave as soon as they think they’ve found the next best thing. I can say this because I’ve done it with past employers until I found what I was really passionate and purposeful about – social media. When I interview a new client – yes, the interview goes both ways – I’m asking a bunch of questions about their business, their challenges, their struggles, their goals, etc. With this information, I give a recommendation for marketing and social media strategy. I also want to know who I’m going to work with and what the division of work is going to be. From my experience, this is a similar process to how most agencies will run; however, most want all of the pie and aren’t willing to only take a slice and collaborate with someone else outside of their agency. I’m different in that I’m open to working with whatever type of team you’ve laid out – even if that means a competitor is involved.

So where are you at in your business? Are you looking at an agency? To hire an employee or create a marketing department? Or is there something I can help you with?