If you run a business with a small team, you probably have a love-hate relationship with social media. On the one hand, it allows you to connect with customers, drive more sales, and build social proof. It can also be wildly time-consuming and expensive to manage. Many small teams don’t have the bandwidth to manage their social media in-house. So they hire another company to manage it for them — often spending thousands per month.
If this sounds familiar, you might be wondering if your social media spend is paying off. You might grill new customers to discover how they heard about you and periodically evaluate the ROI. If the numbers aren’t quite adding up, it might be time to reconsider in-sourcing your social media.
Why It Might Be Worth It to Manage Your Own Social Media
There are many advantages to bringing your social media in-house rather than outsourcing to an agency. For one thing, social media is about humanizing your brand. Nobody knows your business better than the people who actually work there. Keeping your social media in-house makes it easier to speak to your audience authentically and strike just the right tone.
Managing your own social channels also allows you to react to trends, memes, and social-media challenges in real time. This gives you a chance to create fun, off-the-cuff content and potentially gain visibility. If you think your business is too stodgy to participate in social trends, think again. The hashtag #personalfinance has taken off on TikTok, with financial experts giving advice in short snappy videos.
But perhaps the biggest advantage to in-sourcing social media is the cost. Outsourcing the management of even one or two channels can get expensive very quickly. If you’re using an agency, you can expect to pay $100 to $250 per hour. Divvying up social responsibilities among your team members can cut your costs substantially.
If you’re worried that none of your team members are social-media experts, you shouldn’t let that stop you from in-sourcing. If you’re paying a hefty retainer to an agency, hiring a dedicated social-media expert might actually be cheaper.
You don’t have to be a marketing agency to manage social media effectively. Proof of this is seen in a Florida-based law firm that decided to bring its marketing in-house. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine realized they could negotiate better deals with advertisers by cutting out the middleman, enabling them to have more control over the narrative and make more efficient decisions.
Even if managing your own social media makes financial sense, it can feel daunting to bring it back in-house. Here are four tips for maximizing your success — no matter which platforms you choose:
1. Have a clear strategy.
If you haven’t developed and articulated a clear social-media strategy, now is the time to do it. This ensures that you aren’t just spinning your wheels and wasting time that would be better spent on the business. If you’re managing more than one social channel, you should have a strategy for each one.
When creating a strategy, start with what you’re hoping to achieve with your social presence. Is your goal simply to stay top of mind with your current customers? Are you trying to build credibility in a new niche? Do you just want to drive more sales during peak season?
Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can tailor your approach accordingly. Sit down with whoever will be managing your social channels and discuss the best way to achieve your goal. Then determine a few key metrics that will help you measure your progress.
2. Focus on one or two high-impact channels.
Social media is always changing. Whenever you see a new platform in the news, you might automatically think your business needs a presence there, too. This is classic FOMO — fear of missing out — and it’s likely to result in a scattershot approach.
With a small team, you need to start small. It’s far more effective to choose one or two channels and get to know them inside and out. Be strategic when choosing which channels to focus on. Don’t automatically opt for the shiny new platform just because it’s getting a lot of hype. Do your homework to understand where your audience is already congregating and which platforms are the best fit.
Facebook tends to reach an older audience, with fewer than 30 percent of users under the age of 35. LinkedIn is great for B2B businesses that want to connect with industry professionals. Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are all popular with younger users.
Once you understand which channels your audience prefers, consider which platform is the best fit for your business. Can your team create eye-catching visual content, or would you excel at creating informative how-to videos? Do you feel comfortable incorporating humor on TikTok, or would you prefer to keep it professional?
Finally, consider whether your team will be able to keep up with the content demands of your chosen platform. In general, it’s a lot more time-consuming to create a TikTok video than to capture a great image for Instagram.
3. Use a social-media calendar.
One of the biggest hurdles that keeps businesses from succeeding on social media is a lack of consistency. For Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, posting every day is ideal. For YouTube, content creators getting the most traction are posting at least once per week.
That might not sound like much, but coming up with fresh content ideas on the spot gets challenging quickly. If an employee is tasked with managing social alongside their normal duties, they may let weeks slip by without posting. If multiple people are sharing the responsibility, it can also be difficult to keep track of who is posting when. Even dedicated social-media marketers find a calendar helpful for planning out posts.
Your social-media calendar doesn’t have to be fancy. Even a simple spreadsheet will work. Loomly and Social Sprout are specialized tools with more bells and whistles for social-media management. Sprout Social gives you insights into your audience and the ability to schedule posts. Loomly offers post inspiration and real-time optimization tips.
4. Repurpose content across channels.
If your business wants to cultivate a presence across multiple channels, you can repurpose content to save time. An Instagram post can be shared easily on Facebook right within the app itself. You can also use a tool like Canva to tweak the size and content of an image or graphic. This way, you can get more mileage out of a single piece of content. You can even cut down a longer YouTube video for Instagram Stories or edit it for TikTok.
If you do plan to repurpose content, make sure you understand the norms of each channel you’re using. Otherwise your content will likely be buried in social-media obscurity. Instagram is for sharing beautiful images, and users are accustomed to seeing long lists of hashtags. TikTok users expect to be entertained. Quick cuts, music, sounds, dance, and humor all do well there. Long-form how-to videos, product reviews, and explainers all do well on YouTube.
If you have a small team, adding anything to your plate can feel like a stretch. But if you’re currently paying someone else to manage your social media, you might be overspending. Bringing on a dedicated social-media expert can be more cost-effective and give you better results. Or you can divide up responsibilities among your current team members. The trick is to start small, work smart, and be consistent in your efforts.