5 Key Elements for Success when Outsourcing Social Media Marketing Activity
At Carvill creative we actively manage social media activity for clients - and have been doing so for a few years now. There's no doubt about it that in the past year social media has grown in popularity. businesses of all shapes and sizes are learning how they can be leveraging the far reaching social channels to engage with customers, generate new business and promote their products and services (to name just a few of the ways the channels can be utilised).
As they explore the realities of social media engagement, business owners and marketers alike are understanding that there's more to it than simply hiring an intern for the summer and letting them loose.
Only a year ago if you had put in the search terms 'social media management' into Google - the sponsored ads would have been pretty much non-existent, try it today and you'll find a range of solutions on offer, from large advertising, pr and marketing agencies, right through to independent 'gurus' promising to change the way you market your business forever.
What those business owners and marketers that have researched the social media channels are comprehending is the fact that being 'social' and active on the channels needs to be planned for, managed effectively and - to do so properly, is a pretty time consuming role.
So here are our 5 key things to consider when outsourcing your social media marketing:
- Home from home - By this sentiment, we mean, that the partnership you have with the people, person or agency you are working with really needs to be seamless. After all the beauty of social marketing is that it enables you to have 'networked conversations' and share your opinion, beliefs, expertise and brand values, therefore it's absolutely integral that whoever you have outsourced this key marketing activity to really understands the heart and soul of your business and brand and can therefore communicate for you effectively.
- Constant contact - Ensure that you are in constant contact with one another. It's important that you are still very much the 'custodian' of your communications. What your social media partner shares must be 'on message' and so agree objectives, key messages and the process for getting ' sign off' before anything is shared. There are resources agencies use which enable clients to see what's pending to share. So, whilst your partners are doing the leg work - blogging, creating compelling content, listening in and sharing - your role is to check that you are happy with everything that is being shared. It may be that they identify an opportunity for comment or to expose thought leadership, so be sure to have someone available for them to contact for such instantaneous opportunities.
- Blend into your marketing mix - So, the social team are briefed and fully immersed in your brand values and ethos, what's also important is that they fully understand your overall marketing objectives and have an opportunity to review all marketing activities you have lined up. For example, if you have an annual event scheduled, then how can you leverage the social channels too. If you are running a direct mail campaign, then consider how you can promote your social channels. Can those you are looking to garner response from via the campaign ask questions via Facebook or a Twitter thread? Perhaps it make more sense to create the direct response mechanism to drive traffic to your Facebook page to grow likes? The key thing is to ensure that the social channels are 'blended' into your marketing mix where possible - and your social marketing team should be working with you to ensure you leverage the channels effectively. But of course, if you don't let them know what you're up to - then how are they to know! So be sure you share.
- Regular reporting - Retaining a close understanding of performance is key. Just as with any other marketing activity, you need to understand what's working and what isn't, so that you can practice what we call 'intelligent marketing' - continuously learning and therefore optimising your marketing activity. Ensure that you receive regular reports, at least monthly as to how your social marketing is progressing. Simple benchmarks such as growth in 'relevant' followers and fans, and reach, ie: how far your messages are being communicated are just two of the basics. And then, of course there are other key indicators such as a analysis of website traffic to see if the channels are delivering more, a general uplift in traffic to your site and bottom line activity such as new lead generation.
- Joining up your activity - Closely aligned to lead generation in point 4, is ensuring that your website or desired landing page is fit for purpose. How often we see campaigns whereby the objective is to drive new lead generation however, the place where all marketing activity is driving to falls short on the 'call to action' point. Your social marketing partners should be experienced in joined up marketing activity and able to advise you on mechanisms for capturing leads, giving you another key element to measure performance against and ultimately provide you with opportunity to capture interest and generate new leads.
Social marketing, just like any other form of marketing can indeed be time consuming - thinking strategically about your objectives and sharing them very clearly with the team you choose to manage your social marketing activity is absolutely key.
Outsourcing to experts makes sense for many businesses. However, do bear in mind that you will reap the greatest returns when that outsourced team is fully enabled to become an extension of your own business. It's like taking on a new employee, they have to have an induction into your brand, products and services. Put that effort in at the beginning and then their knowledge will just continue to grow.
So, to summarise, brief them well, keep them close, communicate regularly and ensure they continually understand your objectives - follow these steps and and it should be the start of a beautiful relationship.
@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of online visibility - covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.
For marketing and social media advice – view the Carvill Creative Blog