When it comes to Facebook marketing, you can’t do it all. After all, you do a have business to tend to, not to mention a life outside of work! The time will eventually come when you ask yourself, “Who else can do this for me?”
It’s a great question, but one you must take seriously. If you hand over important tasks, you want to make sure your brand is in good hands at all times.
After you nail down what goes into your Facebook marketing plan, it’s time to explore what resources and manpower you have at your disposal. If you’re an entrepreneur or a small business, you probably don’t have a large team. The good news is that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of Fans to be successful. The key here is to take a look at the people and resources needed to put your Facebook marketing plan to work.
Identifying Your Existing Resources and Manpower
First, do an internal assessment to identify your resources and manpower. For entrepreneurs and small business owners, the essential players for your Page are at least two Page administrators, one Community Manager (this position can be one of your admins), and a designer and programmer to help with your branding. If you have the funds, I also suggest you put some money toward a few sessions with a social media strategy consultant to review your existing plan.
For larger businesses, if you have a marketing team, I suggest integrating your Facebook marketing plan into your existing marketing initiatives. Your Facebook marketing plan should not be a standalone Facebook marketing tool, but instead be closely integrated into your overall marketing plan. Sit down with your exiting marketing team and discuss your Facebook marketing goals to see how they align with the programs and initiatives you already have in place.
Deciding In-House or Outsourced
After you decide to create a Facebook marketing plan, you have to decide who’s going to run it. There are multiple options to consider for your social media management and support. This is the time to pay close attention to what you are comfortable with outsourcing vs. what you want to keep close control over.
Option 1: Hire a consultant (or agency) to manage your Facebook Page
As with most things, this option has both pros and cons.
#1: You gain access to social media expertise and knowledge. This is especially helpful if your knowledge is limited.
An agency or consultant can save you a tremendous amount of time. If you’re not consistently listening to your Fans and interacting with them regularly, your Fans will quickly lose interest in your Page. It might be a smart move for you to hire someone to take on this important task.
#2: Social media experts tend to be “in the know” with the latest trends. Because social media changes quickly, it’s important to stay on the cutting edge and be the first to adopt new strategies or tools as they prove promising. An agency or consultant can advise you on the latest and greatest in social media marketing to keep you current and ahead of the pack.
#3: You get expert advice on your social media content strategy. One of the most important pieces of your Facebook marketing strategy is the content you post on your social networks. An agency or consultant can help you create a content plan to align with your overall marketing plan.
#4: A consultant or agency has access to monitoring and tracking tools and technology that you might not. This is important because an agency can quickly see what is working and what needs to be tweaked, allowing your campaign to be monitored in real-time.
#1: A consultant or agency won’t know your products or services like you do. If you’re not careful, a consultant or agency might end up “representing” you or your brand in ways that don’t particularly inspire confidence. Potential customers often ask questions about a product or service via a company’s Facebook Page. Ask yourself this question: If an agency or consultant were managing your Page, would they be able to give the prospects accurate information?
#2: Incorrect information could cost you a new client – or worse, backlash from your Facebook Fans. One solution to help with this is to make sure that your consultant has direct access to the appropriate people inside your company who can give them real-time support when needed.
#3: A consultant or agency doesn’t understand your brand like you do. Successful brands have a specific voice, and it’s critical that this voice be consistent throughout all your marketing initiatives. With that said, it’s paramount that your agency or consultant understands your brand voice and is clear on your brand personality and positioning. This will allow a seamless transition between your company’s communication style and the agency’s communication on your behalf.
#4: A consultant or agency doesn’t intimately know your company culture and is unaware of the “behind the scenes” activities. One of the most important aspects of Facebook marketing is the transparency factor. Your Fans want to know your company and brand at an intimate level – that’s what makes social media networking so attractive to consumers.
#5: Only you and those who work with you intimately know what your company stands for and what its values are. This is a difficult thing to explain to someone from the outside who isn’t experiencing it firsthand. Some of the most popular brands on Facebook allow their Fans to get a glimpse of their company culture and what goes on behind the scenes. Zappos is a great example of this: www.facebook.com/zappos.
#6: A consultant or agency isn’t a part of your culture and won’t be able to communicate the special benefits of your culture to your Fans, if they are not educated in advance. It will take some dedication on your part to make sure they understand your company and culture. If you or someone on your team isn’t directly managing your Facebook Page, you won’t see what’s happening on a day-to-day basis. This means you lose a little control over what is taking place on your Page. One solution for this is to ask your consultant to report back to you on a regular basis to inform you on what is taking place on your Page and to let you know about any challenges and what was done to take care of them.
Important! If you do decide to hire a consultant or agency, make sure you discuss what’s expected; the procedures you want them to adhere to at all times; and the rules, guidelines, and any specifics to follow in case of a crisis situation on any of your social networking sites.
Option #2: You manage your Facebook marketing plan
Most mid- to small-sized businesses manage their Facebook marketing plan in-house. Overall, there are multiple benefits to this strategy. If you’re managing your strategy in-house, you can essentially eliminate all the cons discussed previously concerning outsourcing to an agency.
Option #3: The Hybrid Model
If you’re new in the social media arena (as are the majority of people), consider hiring support to some degree. One solution I suggest is the “hybrid model.” In essence, you hire a consultant to help build your social media marketing strategy (including your Facebook marketing plan), and that consultant can also support the launch of the strategy in the early stages.
After things are off the ground and running smoothly (it may take about six months to get going), you and your team take over long-term. Not only do you benefit from the consultants’ expertise and experience, but you also can work in a certain amount of training so that you and your team are well equipped to take it over after the contract ends.
The post above is an excerpt from my new book, Facebook Marketing All-In-One For Dummies. If you’re looking to see real results from your Facebook efforts, this book is for you!
Let me know your thoughts! Are you outsourcing areas of your social media marketing? If so, what tips do you have for others looking to do the same?