In the February 2024 issue of Salon Education Journal, I wrote an article called: Outsource or In-House: How to Decide What’s Best for Your Business? Read part 1 here where I discussed the pros and cons of outsourcing and hiring in-house SMMs (Social Media Managers). In part 2, I look at essential points, things to be aware of and questions to ask when lookining to hire an SMM for your business. 

I was asked an interesting question a few months ago by a business owner who was quizzing me about whether he should outsource his social media or hire someone to be in-house, he asked:

“Is there such a thing as a ‘one-size fits all’ social media cheat sheet that works across any industry or do I need to hire someone who is specific to mine?

Let’s get real for a moment about social media as a business owner. When you start your own business, and you put your blood sweat and tears into it over time, outsourcing your social media to a stranger, no matter how professional they are, can be frightening.

Social Media Marketing

The idea of losing control of what is posted across your accounts can cause serious anxiety, not to mention cost you a pretty penny, and the idea that someone outside of your business would know better than you what to post is a little hard to believe.

In this article, I have compiled some information to consider when outsourcing your social media along with a few questions to ask your potential social media manager to ensure you’re hiring someone who is right for you and your business.  

To successfully manage the social media for a business, Social Media Managers (SMMs) need to understand a lot more than just what the business is. It’s all well and good knowing what the business sells, the services they offer and the industry they are in, but they also need to understand things like, their unique audience, the language or tone of voice the company is comfortable portraying, the specific aspects of the location they are in, who their customers are and where they come from, the way their current customers interact with them, what their end goal is etc. These are the types of things you may not understand as a SMM just by looking at the client’s website.

Ideally, anyone running your social media for you needs to make sure they match your businesses goals, understands the current trends and important aspects of your industry, familiarises themselves with any geographical issues, understands your target audience and most importantly, matches the tone and personality of your businesses and any in-house posts you are sharing.

As a business owner, you need to make sure that, if you’re going to outsource your social media management, that their asking you the right questions for them to reach and engage with your target audience.

Here are some questions you might want to ask anyone who is potentially looking to manage your social media for you.

      • Looking at our current social media presence, what recommendations would you make for improvements? Ask this question to identify whether they have done their research and looked into areas that need improvement.
      • Can you talk me through how you would develop a strategy for us that’s in line with our audience and business goals?
      • How do you stay up to date with the latest social media trends and changes in algorithms and platform changes?
      • How do you manage analytics and reporting to measure the success on social media platforms?
      • How do you tailor content to each individual platform?
      • Can you show me examples of successful campaigns and profiles you’ve managed for other businesses in the same, or similar industries?
      • Have you got experience with handling negative experiences on social media?
      • What approaches other than paid-for ads do you use to grow and increase reach?

Here are some key things to be aware of when outsourcing your social media management: Is your SMM doing the following things?

Here are some key things to be aware of when outsourcing your social media management: Is your SMM doing the following things?

      • Leveraging specific features and tools from each platform such as Instagram’s shoppable post features for websites with E-commerce, LinkedIn’s article publishing feature, and Linktr.ee’s ability to include multiple links in your Insta bio.

      • Is there consistency in your brand voice, colour and style in the visuals and content?

      • Is there evidence that the SMM is actively listening to and responding to engagement, encouraging discussions.

      • Is your SMM taking advantage of posting into local/regional/relevant groups, connecting with other pages, and collaborating with other accounts and businesses that could be mutually beneficial?

      • Are they actively staying in touch with trends, algorithms, and current topics?

      • Are they posting at the same time every day or are they actively adapting to posting at peak engagement and view times?

While there is no universal cheat sheet for managing social media, no one knows your business better then you, so finding someone that is a good fit for you and your business is important. If you have made the decision to hire in-house or outsource, make sure they have a deep enough understanding of your business, your audience, and the platforms you currently use.

A few more things to be aware of:

Your limitations and expectations for the future

If you decide to hire an SMM, you need to consider what is going to happen with managing the account in the future. If you’re hiring someone on a short-term basis to boost reach and engagement, they need to be aware of your limitations going forward, for example: If they’re going to be creating beautiful images, branded graphics, and templated videos to accompany your posts, is this something you would be able to continue with if you parted ways? The last thing you want is for an enthusiastic SMM to totally revamp your social media with regular shorts, reels, beautiful graphics etc for it all to stop when you part ways because you don’t have the time or the knowledge to continue.

Don’t change your style and voice all in one go

There’s nothing that screams “I’ve hired an SMM” more than your profiles suddenly looking totally different all in one go. If you’re current audience is used to seeing basic posts with simple text and a before and after images posted once a week when you have time, to suddenly see your page being flooded with branded, graphics and text full of emojis, polls and links every day can be too much of a big change. Transition to your new style gradually so that your current audience get used to seeing the new style content more and more, interspersed with what they expect from you.

Hiring an SMM can be a concern, and when you’re letting go of control of something so important to your business, you need to ensure you find the right fit. I hope this article has been helpful for you, but if you have any questions or would like to engage with me about this subject, you get in touch HERE.

Di’s sales and marketing career spans over 26 years starting in print sales and progressing through to head of special publications and on to running her marketing business for the last 10 years. Di now specialises in website design, SEO, social media management and content creation: It is through her marketing business that she became involved with Nabuno, and most recently, which sparked the creation & launch of Salon education Journal.