Shall you hire a digital and social media agency, a consultant, an inhouse help or a freelance social media manager for your needs, especially now that most entrepreneurs are starting to realise the value that social media can bring to their business? While most still rely on their intern, administrative person or marketing assistant to push out regular updates on their social media (a big no-no if you really want to scale your brand), some have already engaged professionals to help them bring their brand awareness to the next level.
But the question remains for those still struggling and trying to figure out how and where to allocate their resources to social media, or for that matter, find out which option is more suitable for their business. The answer really depends on your business, but there are some basic guidelines that you can consider before you decide on a solution. Let’s take a look at each option carefully.
Social Media Agency
Shall you hire a social media agency to do what you think your intern or niece and nephew can do? That depends if you can see the value of the agencies – a good agency will definitely be able to help you achieve the ROI that you are looking for, unlike what you’re trying to achieve on your own, or with someone whose expertise is not in social media.
Agencies work for brands that are trying to save themselves precious time so if your budget permits and you can find a good one in your location, this is the best option. The advantages are, you don’t have to give the agency job benefits such as insurance or annual leave.
However, there tend to be more inexperienced agencies that good ones hanging around, and more often than not, they’re more concerned about getting your project than adding value to your business because as a business, they have to look after their bottomline too.
Most agencies are also not so affordable for solopreneurs, early stage entrepreneurs and small businesses. On average, agencies’ cost to manage your social media presence ranges from USD500 a month up to USD2,000 a month, and that’s only for small and mid-range agencies. For bigger agencies, the cost can go up to USD7,000 per month.
Inhouse Social Media Manager
Another alternative is to hire an inhouse social media manager that can sit within your office. According to statistics, the annual cost of hiring one is approximately USD57,802 (Source: Glassdoor) excluding any perks.
But of course, there are advantages to having someone manage your platforms inhouse. For one, he can better understand your business’ objectives, target audience and what you’re trying to achieve with social media as he practically spends the entire day in your office.
However, due to the cost every month, some small businesses do not do that and very often, engage freelancers, interns or agencies instead. As well, each social media platform is different and it’s very tricky to find someone who is good in everything even if you can pay well.
Another option for you is to just hire an external consultant that will advise you on what to do, but do not do for you. This is somewhat like training, but you are not confined to taking classes but have the option and freedom to ask your consultant when you encounter problems or need advice.
One advantage of this is, you can hire consultants based on the gaps that you’re missing. For instance, if you feel that you need advice on Pinterest, there are Pinterest experts that you can hire. Social media consultants can guide you on how to approach your marketing and what’s next for the best ROI.
Consultants are good when you have the budget, as they are also not cheap and they’re not doing work for you, just advising you on what to do. Social media consultants cost anything from USD600 per month onwards. So if you have both the time and the budget, go for this option. However, do be aware that the skill levels of consultants can vary, much like other professions, so it’s good to do your research or ask for recommendations.
Freelance Social Media Manager
A freelance social media manager is great for starting solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and small businesses because most of the time, they are definitely more affordable in terms of cost than agencies, consultants or an inhouse help. Also, you do not need to give them any perks or employment benefits too as they’re not full-time employees.
However, do be wary too, as like external consultants, the quality, credibility and skill sets of freelance social media managers differ. Ask to see their portfolios and testimonials, or ask around for referrals and recommendations. Also, it might be a good idea to ask your freelance social media manager how long they have been freelancing, as a short freelance period might mean that they’re just transiting between jobs, and might not subsequently be able to give your business the full attention it needs when he finds a full-time job.
With so many options, from a digital agency, a consultant, an inhouse social media employee to a freelance social media manager, it is hard to decide which options your business needs or which will provide you with the best return on your investment. No one strategy is right or wrong as every business’ situation is different and you need to explore your choices before deciding on one that will save you time, money and a lot of unnecessary work.
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