Social Media Jobs: In-house or Outsourced?

social media jobs, social media sites

Social media jobs are in demand right now. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs involving social media and PR will grow by 23 percent between now and 2020. The value of investing in social media services to market a brand is undeniable. According to a recent study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies, 51 percent of Facebook fans and 67 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to purchase from a brand that they are a fan of or follow. Every business needs that sort of exposure, no matter how successful.

social media jobs, social media sites, social media strategy

Social media jobs are growing!

When it comes to social media jobs, the real question should be whether these organizations will add someone directly to their staff, or hire an agency to cover social media news for them. Below we will weigh the pros and cons of having social media jobs in-house or outsourced.

In-House

Pros: Hiring people directly for social media jobs means businesses have a bit more control over their selection process. Supervisors can really get to know these employees, and perhaps they can learn something about social media strategy along the way. Having social media in-house also means those responsible for it are at the business site when any news, media or sudden changes happen. All creative ideas and graphics can easily be approved by the business, because the person responsible for making those decisions is always nearby.

Cons: Having a social media employee in-house might seem like a dream come true, but it can also have some serious disadvantages. Unlike many other positions, social media jobs are typically needed by businesses without a lot of knowledge on the topic. An employer is bringing someone into the fold they might have problems coaching on a subject they know little about. While managers can certainly hire extremely experienced and knowledgeable people for their social media jobs, there’s no guarantee staff can stay informed in an extremely mutable field. Resources for those in social media jobs will be limited if they work for a business that doesn’t value marketing too highly.

Outsourced

Pros: Agencies live and breathe social media strategy. By virtue of being so plugged into the field, outsourced social media organizations will have more knowledge when it comes to social media news. Agencies can also get the best talent for their social media jobs, because those applying know they will be appreciated and given the resources they need to do their work correctly. Businesses that outsource their social media sites to agencies don’t have to do it themselves, or find someone they hope can keep up in a competitive field.

Cons: Outsourcing does mean businesses will have less control of their own social media strategy. They will need to find a trusted agency like StrataBlue to control all of their social media sites and identities. Getting information from businesses to agencies can sometimes be troublesome, and often requires a site like Basecamp to exchange information and media.

Is your business currently looking to outsource your social media jobs? Please get in contact with us below in the comments section!

Don’t Put All Your Social Media Eggs in One Basket

You’ve heard of the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Today I am taking that quote and applying it to social media. Any succesful social media strategy includes more than one platform. The purpose is to know where your customers are and how to get to them, because I can guarantee you they are not all on the same platform.

I know you are asking, “So do I have to do them all?” The answer is no! It would take up all your time and energy to do every platform and to do it successfully. It would be a terrible waste of your time. You can try, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

In developing your social media strategy, the first step is to find out where your customers are. Are they 20-somethings who tweet all day long? Business professionals who are looking to network? Stay-at-home moms who are on Facebook and Pinterest all day? Once you figure that out your target demgraphic, the next step is to develop a strategy that works for you.

icons-in-a-basketRarely will a small to medium sized business truly need to be on every platform. Take moms for example. Many of them work from home and have lots of other stay-at-home mom friends. They spend most of their time on platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. If you mention Twitter to them, they might look at you like you’ve started speaking a foreign language. If they are your target market, then you need to look at how to better reach them on those two platforms.

Those of us in the social media industry are on all platforms since it is the nature of our job, however we can guarantee you each of us has a favorite platform that gives us the best response. I personally get the best results from Twitter.

When you try to do them all, you will not achieve the maximum results you would if you were focusing on where the majority of your customers are spending their time.

Here are some great social media strategy tips:

  1. After you figure out which  platforms your target market is using, see what your competitors are doing. That will give you a key on how to start your campaign.
  2. Work with a social media consultant or social media manager to put together a successful plan that will engage your followers. You want to build relationships to turn them into paying and long-lasting customers.
  3. Once your plan is in action, make sure you are responding to every post, comment, message and question – both positive and negative. 85% of posts go unanswered by businesses. You wouldn’t want to be ignored in person, so don’t ignore your community online.

 

If you find that a certain platform isn’t working out so well after you’ve been on it for a few months, there is no harm in trying something new. You might find a new group of followers in a totally unexpected location.  Similarly, if you are working on two platforms and want to branch out and try a third or even a fourth platform, go for it! If it doesn’t work out, you still have your two strong platforms in action. Remember, each platform has it’s advantages and disadvantages and not all of them work the same way. So before you toss it out of your basket, make sure you tried your best.

Are you putting all your social media eggs in one basket or are you using a multi-platform strategy? If you are still trying to figure out if you should even add social media to your marketing plan, please give us a call so we can tell you all about the benefits of social media marketing.

Prevent Holiday Social Media Burn Out

Social media is an industry that never shuts off. It is constantly changing and evolving, even at 2 am on Saturday morning. A position in social media can sometimes be overwhelming. During the holiday season, everyone’s stress level goes up. but in this business you have to always be on top of things.

November and December are some of the busiest times of the year in social media considering all of the holiday content marketing that is done.  According to America’s National Retail Federation, holiday sales in 2012 represented 19.3% of total industry retails sales. 54% of shoppers use social media while shopping and 65% of shoppers use social media to find gifts. These shoppers are looking for digital coupons, holiday contests, holiday sales, product reviews and more, which means that your social media campaign must be ramped up into overdrive!

Here are some simple things you can do as a social media manager each day to prevent burning out over the holidays:

  • Working through lunch might seem like a good way to get ahead, but this is a great time to step away from the monitor and recharge your batteries. Go outside and get some fresh air or enjoy a new restaurant. Time away from your work can give you a new perspective on a project you are working on.
  • One of the healthiest ways to relieve stress and prevent burnout is a great workout. An hour in the gym will make you focus on something other than work. Your health is just as important as your career, so schedule a gym session like you would a meeting. And don’t be late or cancel!
  • The most important word in social media is ‘social’ so don’t forget to have at least one account that you use for your personal life. Have fun with it! If you make social media all about work, it will become unenjoyable and will affect your work. Follow some light-hearted social media profiles.
  • It’s a fact that social media never sleeps, but you need to sleep. Every day, schedule a time where you unplug from work at night and stick to it.
  • Another big hurdle is to not feel guilty about stepping away from social media. It doesn’t help if you stop working only to stress about not working.
  • Use tools like Sprout Social or HootSuite to schedule posts. That way, you know going into the day you have content going out so you can focus on other tasks.
  • Having a clear plan each week and sticking to it will help you focus on your immediate tasks. It will also keep you from spending time bouncing around each social media platform without a goal.’

Following these simple steps will allow you to continue enjoying work and the holidays. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about you do, but you need to know when to separate from work, especially within the social media industry. What have you done to bounce back from social media burnout? Tweet at me @Cbyron11.

The Dark Knight Retweets: How Batman is Like a Social Media Manager

So I was thinking about Batman the other day. And let’s be honest—I think about Batman a lot. For both of you who don’t know about Batman, he’s pretty much a social institution at this point. Batman is a DC Comics superhero who dresses like a bat and fights crime. But he’s more than a comic book, cartoon or movie. To me, the Dark Knight is on par with Citizen Kane or Captain Ahab. He’s a literary blockbuster that children should (and probably will) be studying in school. But as social media managers, we should realize how Batman is just like us.

Wait, What? That’s right, Batman is a perfect inspiration for our brand of marketing. If you want to be at the top of your game on social media, you need to be studying the habits of the Dark Knight. Otherwise, you’re going to look like a joker.

Always on the Job. Batman doesn’t take vacations. He doesn’t take weekends off. Hell, the guy only sleeps about four hours, and usually during the day. Batman is always on the job. As social media professionals, we may take some time off now and then, but we understand still being on the job at 3 AM. Like crime, social media doesn’t sleep, so we can’t either.

Ever-Vigilant. Batman doesn’t really have a secret identity—he has an alter ego known as Bruce Wayne. But the minute Bane or The Joker attacks Gotham, Bruce Wayne leaves the fancy cocktail party and Batman gets to business. The Caped Crusader is always checking for local crime and corruption, even while he’s hosting a charity event or doing push-ups. Social media marketers can understand that—we’re always checking our high-tech gadgets for the latest scoop. Maybe we don’t have an art deco super-computer that scans for crime, but we do have the smartphone charged and ready for the next trending topic or flashy hashtag. Like Batman, we’re always watching.

Iron Will. The Dark Knight is the sort of guy who would spend a slow Saturday night doing sit-ups until he passed out, or seeing how long he can go without sleep in between patrols. You can’t interrogate Batman because he doesn’t respond to intimidation or torture. Nothing short of death will stop him from his war on crime. Perhaps we aren’t immune to pain, but the truth is our jobs aren’t easy. The hours are long and the skills required are varied. In essence, we have to “wear a lot of different masks.” If you want to be a leader in social media marketing, you need a strong will.

And the Lights Fade. One of Batman’s greatest attributes is that he’s unwilling to compromise his ideals. He won’t stop fighting, and he won’t give in to chaos. Social media professionals can take some inspiration from that, because let’s face it: We all need a safe haven from chaos in this field.

From Lone Wolf to Joining the Pack: Alex’s Journey Through Social Media

My journey into the world of social media has been a particularly interesting endeavor. I started working in social media for the local government, assisting multiple State Senators to better reach their constituents online. Following my stint at the Statehouse, I moved onto working as PR/Social Media Manager in IndyCar. Now, here I am as a Social Media Manager for Dream System Solutions, and my experiences have been noticeably different in the time that I have been here.

In regards to which is better between having an internal social media managers and using a firm, I can’t help but think about the differences of working for just one company without comparing it to a firm specializing in the same field. Looking back, working as an internal Social Media Manager taught me a lot of valuable lessons about engagement, trends and what it means to represent a company. However, the negatives greatly outweigh the positives.

During my time with both companies, I eventually ran into many stone walls – mostly involving creativity. My biggest problem centered around trying to reinvent the wheel on how to build and obtain interest with my followers. I would frequently research new trends and how to reach out to people on Twitter and Facebook, but nothing seemed to really change. After months of spinning my wheels, I eventually had to succumb to the reality that as one person, I could only take my company to a certain height before levelling off in the online world.

…and that was where I was wrong.

When I first started for DSS, I expected the same old situation to happen, but in a new office. I half expected to start off strong creating new and exciting things to publish online, then level off on new ideas to do over time. However, this time things felt different. This time I am surrounded by people who have made their careers doing the same thing I have. Now I am working with others who can help me, who can understand what goals I am trying to accomplish for my clients.  That moment could only be described as a weight taken off my shoulders, because now I could really do something special. Now I am with like-minded people that I could lean on when I hit writer’s block; I could see social media through a different lens and take new and different approaches to how I can do my job better. Now, things are completely different for me.

I have been blown away by the differences of what I was used to and what I was seeing. If asked what my unapologetic opinion is as to which is better for the client and their followers, I would tell you that utilizing a social media firm will change their online presence into something like arriving in the land of Oz. In that sense, everything I saw in social media was changed from the black and white of an internal position into a colorful and creative new way of seeing the industry while working in a firm.

With a team of social media managers, creative juices flow, new ideas are discussed and strategies are constantly being evaluated and refined. The biggest shock to me was realizing that we weren’t just doing social media for a company. We are bettering a client’s brand, building their business and making both companies more successful than the day before. For the first time, I am working in a company whose sole purpose is to focus on branding a client to the masses in a more engaging and invigorating fashion.

The simple truth of the matter is that with a social media firm, you are getting more bang for your buck. Yes, you are technically hiring one person to manage your online accounts, but you’re also paying for intangibles that you wouldn’t normally get with an internal employee. With hiring a firm, you get many more perks that remain behind the curtain. Perks such as knowing that your social media manager is working in a think tank every day to pull fresh ideas and new strategies. It’s a harsh reality to face, but that is something you cannot get with hiring just one or two people internally.

If you still are on the fence on which option is the best decision, I encourage you to consider what is in the best interest of your company. With an internal employee, you have someone who has a relationship with the company. However, a social media firm has more of a professional relationship with a company. Our sole focus is bettering a company’s business. If that goal isn’t met, the job isn’t done. Firms want to see a thriving trend of interest in a particular company, because that means they are doing their job.

For me, the best way to explain the relationship a social media firm has with a client can be summed up with Cuba Gooding Jr’s line in Jerry McGuire: “Help me, help you.” The better a firm does their job, the more success your business will see.

What Goes Into Social Media Management?

So you’re thinking about becoming a Social Media Account Manager? On the surface, the job looks fun and simple, socializing on Facebook and Twitter with people on behalf of a company. But social marketing takes time and effort to run a successful campaign. In order to be successful, you have to have goals and a strategy, and that strategy includes more than simply the fluff of posting cute animal pictures and making an office Harlem Shake video.

Every organization is different and the workflow is catered to work towards achieving your goals. But what really goes into social media management? Let’s break it down a little bit to help get a closer look.

  • Updating social networks by posting text, photos, videos and comments
  • Planning, publishing and socializing blog posts to the right audience
  • Research and planning, sourcing both internal and external content
  • Reading different feeds in your field, filtering through content and sharing it
  • Listening and monitoring brand mentions
  • Keyword searches
  • Building relationships and creating conversations by responding to follows, mentions, dialogue, questions and comments
  • Damage control!
  • Research
  • Community building
  • Strategy, planning and brainstorming
  • Analytics, measurement and reporting

 

In addition to all of these duties, Social Media Managers have to stay on top of the latest trends in the social media world. If there’s a new platform coming out (and it seems like there always is), you better be testing it and seeing how to jump on it to give your business leverage above your competitors. Conference, meet-ups and community events are vital for networking and learning new tricks of the trade. Also, you have to remember that unlike a regular 9-5 business, the internet never turns off.

Social media management is more than Facebook and Twitter; you have to be an expert in all platforms and networks from Google+ to LinkedIn to YouTube. It is a field that is always evolving and continuing education is a must. It is a demanding schedule of tweets, meetings, updates, replies, blogging, editing, designing, marketing and even sales. People skills, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness and creativity are all part of the job. Can you say multitasking?

Being a Social Media Manager can be a fun and rewarding job, but it is also one that is tough, demanding and time-consuming. Social media never goes to sleep. Do you think you have what it takes to run a thriving campaign?