Your small business doesn’t need a “Social Media Manager”.
If the thought of hiring someone full-time to poke around social media websites like Facebook and Twitter on behalf of your company scares the hell out of you, you’re not alone. But I have good news. You don’t need one. The Social Media Manager position was just a ploy by Generation Y to create work during the Great Recession.
Seriously though, instead of hiring a warm, young body who may know little to nothing about marketing, the odds are good that what you really need is a better understanding of the basics of online marketing and then a strategy that you follow religiously with all of your online content. So while you won’t end up with a viral video or thousands of Facebook “likes” which have no affect on your revenue, you will formulate a comprehensive strategy that actually works to generate leads and sales for your business. Here are the basics your strategy will need to address:
1. Web presence
First, figure out if your current website is adequate. It must be optimized for search engines, mobile responsive, and fast. If it isn’t, you need a redesign immediately. Basic on-page SEO tactics are easy to follow and you should do so with every bit of new content you create. A good CMS like WordPress makes this really easy. And with more and more people using mobile devices to access the web, if your site doesn’t render properly on the smaller devices, you’re going to get killed by your competition. Lastly, if your site loads slowly because you use some cheap — or even worse, free — hosting company, guess who’s leaving before your site loads? Everybody. So now you have a website worthy of directing visitors to.
2. In-bound marketing
Your potential customers must be able to find you on the web. But even more importantly, they need to be able to find out more about you and the type of business you operate. You can kill two birds with one stone by maintaining a business blog. Good blogs help potential clients answer questions and solve problems they are facing, all while generating organic search traffic and increasing your brand awareness. If your site and other marketing materials just talk about how wonderful you are (note: nobody believes you), it’s time to change your strategy and start producing valuable content so people see that you are, in fact, wonderful. In-bound marketing also involves being visible where potential customers are talking about you and your competitors. Depending on your business, you may need to monitor one or more social media platforms. This is not a full time position, and there are plenty of tools that make it easy. Social media sites may also be used to share the content you create for your blog. If your business is part of the conversation, you will also need to respond in a reasonably timely fashion to complaints or questions. You don’t need some fool tweeting all day about your wonderfulness. The better course of action is to consistently create and share content that helps people. By doing this you’ll establish yourself as an industry expert. People hire experts when they really need help.
3. Lead nurturing and conversion
Potential customers are at different points of the buying process. Some are gathering information; some are comparing providers and pricing; some are ready to purchase right now. Your online marketing strategy needs to adequately deal with customers at every point. This means you need different content and features for different types of visitors. Now that you have a good website, you’ll want to create more content that speaks to buyers at different stages of the sales funnel. Your business might benefit from automated processes such as email marketing. Perhaps your business is a good candidate for PPC (pay-per-click) advertising such as Google Adwords. Either way, your business should definitely be monitoring site analytics as well as fine tuning landing pages and other pages in your sales funnel so they perform their best. Although it is an endless process of testing, tweaking and testing again, it is not a job for a social media manager because these issues relate to the performance of your website.
Of course there is a lot more to online marketing, but these are the essentials. So until you’re confident that you’ve addressed these crucial needs first, you don’t need a social media manager (and perhaps you never will).