It’s 2017 and time to up your game with social media marketing. You know your customers are spending all kinds of time on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Time to make a connection.
But how do you make those connections? What type of content works for your business? And who will execute the work on a consistent basis?
How much will you need to invest to make social media marketing worth it for your business?
Here are some answers that will help you choose the best way to budget and execute your social media marketing.
What Needs to Be Done?
When you execute a social media marketing campaign, consider these four areas:
- Content Creation. You’ll need quality content to post. That means tying into your business story, generating helpful tips and advice, linking to blog articles, curating content, responding to your network, creating videos, and graphic design.
- Building a Network. Part of your strategy is to get more followers and engagement. This takes consistent activity across all platforms.
- Social Media Advertising. For most businesses, organic social media isn’t enough to reach business goals. You’ll need to use the powerful advertising platforms available on social media to boost your content and retarget leads in your sales funnel.
- Marketing Strategy. How does social media tie into the rest of your marketing? What are your conversion tactics? How will you track results and measure ROI?
Strategic social media marketing is pretty complex, particularly when you delve into the paid management. Facebook Advertising is now one of the most robust, in-depth channels online. Carefully consider what must be done to achieve your marketing goals.
What Are My Options?
When you consider social media marketing, you’ll fall into one of two camps.
The first is that your agenda and goals are so small in scope that you can either:
- Consider doing the work yourself while you manage your business.
- Hire an intern to do the work for free.
If you fall into this camp it means you just want to have a casual social network that works as online word of mouth. Your target audience is small and local. You don’t really need any professional design, branding, or video creation. You’re not planning to do any paid social advertising, and conversions from your social channels will be incidental.
The second camp is one where your agenda and goals are more robust, and you need a dedicated person/group working on your campaign. You have to track results and tie your efforts into your overall marketing goals. In this case you can:
- Hire a professional social media marketing freelancer.
- Hire in house staff to manage social media.
- Hire a marketing agency to manage social media.
We won’t cover anything further if you are in the first camp. Just consider how you’ll adjust if you grow and your goals change.
For those in the second camp, we’ll break down each management option in detail.
Hire A Social Media Freelancer
If you ask around your neighborhood or sit in the local coffee shop, you’ll probably encounter someone working as a freelance social media marketer.
With social media’s meteoric rise in popularity, freelancers that manage business accounts have come out in droves.
Most of these people are self-trained, so experience and depth of knowledge can vary a lot. One positive is that freelancers are very flexible, able to take on projects, short-term contracts, and hourly work as the business needs.
Many SMBs start out with freelancers because they can find somebody inexpensive and flexible. Let’s review the pros and cons.
SMM Freelancer Pros:
- Flexibility. It’s easy to customize a plan or project with a freelancer. Good way to test social media marketing tactics for your business.
- Affordable. Overall, a freelancer is a low-cost way for a business to get active with social media marketing. Hourly rates make for flexible budgeting options.
SMM Freelancer Cons:
- Low skill-sets. Most freelancers are self-trained and may not have in-depth knowledge of how to market across different social media channels.
- A team of one. Most freelancers work independently, so they have to do all the content creation, design, and ad management themselves. Again, their skill sets may not cover everything. If they get busy or sick, your social media may get paused.
- Lack of marketing integration. A serious issue with freelancers is that they work in isolation from the rest of your business marketing. They’ll see themselves as a social media marketing specialist, and won’t be able to tie their efforts into SEO, conversion rate optimization, or other overlapping marketing tactics.
The last point is a big one. You might save initially by working with a freelancer, but if their work doesn’t combine with your overall marketing strategy and drive ROI, those savings won’t matter.
Hire an In-House Employee
An in-house employee has the advantage of working internally with your business. This gives you the most transparency into what’s being done with your SMM, as well as a person who is exclusively committed to working for your business.
However, this also the most expensive option with SMM, because you’re taking on at least a part-time employee with all the associated costs.
Also, like a freelancer, you may have trouble getting one person who can execute all the content creation, design, advertising, and marketing integration tactics right away. Initially, your social media marketer may need training.
However, once their skills are up to speed, you retain them, unlike a freelancer that may drift at any time.
In-House Employee Pros:
- Committed exclusively to your business.
- Total transparency with their work.
- Their training and experience is retained for your business.
- Strong insight into the overall marketing needs of your business.
In-House Employee Cons:
- High cost. You’re paying an employee with all associated costs.
- A team of one. Like a freelancer, you have one person who must execute all phases of your SMM.
Hiring an in-house social media marketer is a long-term commitment for businesses that are serious about developing their campaigns.
It can work well for the business owner who wants the most transparency and control over their SMM, but it comes with the highest cost, which must be factored into ROI.
Hire a Marketing Agency
The last option to consider is hiring a marketing agency (like Marketing 360®) to execute your SMM.
In terms of cost, hiring an agency is the middle road. It will cost more than the typical freelancer but will be less expensive than an in-house employee.
The biggest advantage to working with an agency like Marketing 360® is that you get a team of people who execute different parts of your SMM. With our solution, you have an Engagement Manager and a Content Manager, each working respectively on those areas of the campaign. They’re supported by design and video specialists that create professionally branded content.
Also, our solution ties into your overall marketing strategy and results can be tracked alongside your other channels in our marketing software.
So, while we’re not working in your office, there is considerable transparency into the work and results.
Pros of working with an agency:
- Pricing can be structured to your needs, depending on your campaign goals.
- Cost effective with higher ROI potential.
- A team of people ensures you have someone with the needed knowledge and skill sets working on your SMM.
- Strong integration into the rest of your marketing channels.
Cons of working with an agency:
- Most companies require a 6-12 month contract.
- Daily, real-time posting and responses can be limited.
- Content is likely to be more branded and business focused than personalized.
How Much Should I Invest in SMM?
How much do you need social media marketing and advertising? Can you reach your target audience in a meaningful way? How will social media impact your conversion goals?
Ask these questions and consider what camp you’re in. You might want to start out by dabbling with a social networking yourself or getting the college kid down the street to do some work as a free intern.
However, if you have serious marketing goals for social media, this will never do. You’ll need to look at making an investment of anywhere from $750 a month (base for a freelancer) to $3k plus a month if you want to employ someone in-house.
At Marketing 360®, we charge a flat rate of $1495 a month that is inclusive of all social media marketing the typical SMB will need. We’ve found this to be a sweet spot where a business that’s serious about SMM can get strong ROI.
Social media marketing – like all marketing – is an investment. Choose tactics and execution that give you a return and it will pay for itself.