“Does your agency handle social media?” It’s something we hear a lot. And while it seems like a simple question that anticipates a yes or no answer, it’s not very easy to give one without adding a “but…”
Why? Because social media is a different kind of animal. If “regular” media is, say…a tiger, then social media is a giant squid. You can’t compare the two. If you were going to have a squid and a tiger face-off in an epic battle of questionable morality, you’d have to recognize that the winner would depend upon the venue. If it’s set in the ocean, my money’s on the squid.
The Scourge of Social Media Management
But we get it. Social media management can be a hassle. You’re a business, not a teenager. You want sales, not likes. While you may enjoy posting cat videos on your personal profiles, you can’t really do that on your business pages. Unless you happen to sell cats.
Social media management is kind of like taxes or other forms of adulting. You don’t actually want to do it, but you know you have to.
Since you can hire a tax pro to slog through your taxes for you, it only makes sense that you should be able to hire someone to slog through your social media management as well. And you can.
Correct. But there are several reasons why it may be challenging to hand off your social media management to someone outside of your enterprise. And guess what? We’re going to discuss them now. Hooray!
It’s a Personal Thing
The biggest challenge with outsourcing social media management is that, even for business, social media is still relatively intimate. After all, these are channels where your customers can engage directly with your business just as they might do with one of their friends who also likes cats. This makes the social media post more of a conversation than a broadcast.
For example, let’s say your business is having a sale on elbow-warmers, and you want to promote it on your social media page. So you post a photo of your top-selling elbow-warmer and mention the sales event in your post.
First, it’s imperative that you recognize THIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN AD. This is just a post. It only goes out to the people who follow you already, NOT to prospective customers. But that’s okay, because it’s a sale, and your audience has already indicated it has a thing for elbow-warmers. Who knows? Maybe one of your followers will share it to their own feed, and net you a new customer.
But because social media is really a conversation, you may find that your followers actually engage by communicating with you.
“Hey that’s a beautiful elbow-warmer. Do you have these in extra large size? Because my elbows are super thicc.”
Here’s where the dilemma comes in. It may be easy enough for you to respond “not really, but you may find that our knee-warmers will fit perfectly.” But if you’ve hired someone to manage your social media, they may not be as adept at a response.
“No. Just the sizes listed.”
This leaves you without a sale, or worse, you may inadvertently convince your customers that you have something against thicc elbows.
Imagine talking to your wife. “Honey, do you think this thong makes my butt look too big?”
It is simply not the kind of conversation you would want someone else to hold on your behalf. Trust us.
The More You Know
Of course, armed with an abundance of knowledge, it does become possible for someone to pretend to be you on your page, which is essentially what social media management is. Even when you do it.
Because, when you think about it, you’re never going to respond on behalf of your business the way you would on your personal page, would you? No, so you’re basically pretending to be your business, as if it were a person.
This means that you’ll need to find a social media management solution that is very familiar with both your business and your brand.
Politicians do this all the time, because they want to look like they’re listening to and engaging with the masses instead of shaking down wealthy donors for cash. Both are time consuming, but only one pays for campaigns.
Unfortunately, this means that staffers handling social media need to know what to say about all sorts of things. And they need to be trusted to respond properly.
For politicians, it’s actually a kind of blessing, because they can always blame an unpopular post on some idiot staffer. Businesses don’t have it so easy.
Every now and then, you’ll see a story in the news about some large corporation that messed up with their social media. While some corporations prefer their brand to be snarky or sassy, it only takes a little slip to go too far and come across as obnoxious or offensive.
But what if we told you that’s a good thing?
Businesses are Only Human
One of the predominant factors that made many businesses initially shy away from social media is confronting criticism. In most forms of marketing, businesses focus only on the features and benefits of their products or services. Everything is great. There is no such thing as a problem.
But in social media, as in reality, things are not always hunky-dory. A customer who bought your elbow-warmers and thought they were cheaply made has a public forum to voice their complaints, and potentially scare off other would-be customers.
However, the truth is that this is more of an opportunity than a problem. It just needs to be managed correctly.
If you go to a restaurant and your food is served cold, chances are, you’ll express your displeasure to your waiter, who will try to remedy the situation. If he cannot because “that is the way the frozen steak is served,” you’ll probably ask to speak to a manager (especially if your name is Karen). If the manager cannot make things right for you, then maybe you’ll leave a nasty review on Yelp or Google, or tell all of your friends about your ordeal.
The point is that the restaurant has the opportunity to solve the problem before it worsens. On social media channels however, it’s more like standing up in the middle of the restaurant and yelling “OMG, THIS STEAK IS LIKE AN ICEBERG, ONLY LESS EDIBLE!”
But therein lies the opportunity.
While nobody at the restaurant needs to know that you’re unhappy about your meal, they also don’t get to see what the restaurant does to make it right. This is an important value of social media engagement. People can see how your business handles problems.
The Big Takeaway
Which brings us to the grand finale of this article. This is where we talk about strategy. Because more than you need a social media management solution, you need to have a solid strategy in place for anyone and everyone who manages your social media.
That strategy should include what kinds of content to create, how often to post, and how to respond to negative comments. It should be aimed at building your following, promoting engagement or sharing, and improving perceptions of your brand. It should not be focused on pushing sales or conversions. Leave that to your paid marketing campaigns.
Recognize that some comments can be handled with an apology and an offer to engage offline to address solutions. Some may just need to be deleted (your pages, your rules!). Putting someone else in charge of your social media is like hiring a sales associate for your elbow-warmer boutique. You have to train them and trust them before you put them to work.
It is important to have a strategy in place even if you are managing your social media yourself. Remember, you’re still pretending to be your business. But if you can do it, chances are someone else can, too.
So, to answer the initial question of “do you guys handle social media?” the answer is yes, the DAMN GOOD agency does. We’ll leave your wife up to you, however.