My husband, Jason is an avid do-it-yourselfer (DIYer). If he can figure out how to fix it or build it online, or by reading a book, he’ll do it. I, on the other hand, can think of many things that are better left to the professionals (e.g. fixing a major plumbing issue, upgrading a technology system). If I don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable enough to do the job, I’d much rather find an expert and pay them to do the task. In the business world, small business owners often have to handle many of the tasks of running their businesses which are not in their wheelhouse – whether it’s accounting, administration or sales. But when it comes to social media marketing for businesses, should you DIY social media?
On a personal or professional level, most people use some form of social media to communicate with friends or colleagues, share content, and keep up with news and trends. Many business owners have also created business social media accounts to gain an additional following on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media networks that make sense for their industry. For those businesses without a dedicated social media marketer in-house, the challenge is finding the time to post and gain followers while using the social media network to their advantage. If you’re wondering whether or not you should DIY on social media, think about your answers to the following questions:
- Do I know social media? How would you rate yourself on a scale of one to 10, with one being clueless about social media, five being you know enough to be dangerous, but don’t have all the skills to compete, and 10 – expert status? If you feel like you have a lot to learn about the ins and outs of social media, you may want to at least invest in some social media training so that you can gain some knowledge in each network and how it can work for your business.
- Do I understand social media strategy? It’s important to think about your reason for using each social media network, from your target audience to your marketing and your ongoing content messaging strategy. Forgetting about this crucial step may do you more harm than good. If you’re unclear as to what that strategy should be, what type of content you should be posting, and how to gain followers, you may benefit from having some social media training or having an expert lay out a plan for your social media marketing efforts.
- Do I have time to devote to social media? Social media doesn’t have to be a time-suck, but it does take proper planning and execution to do it the right way. If you don’t have several hours a week in your schedule to devote to social media marketing, you may not want to social media DIY. If you feel like your time is better spent in other areas of the business, you may also find it beneficial to find an expert to handle social media for you. If you enjoy it yourself but still don’t feel like it’s enough, you can always supplement your efforts with a professional’s. If you’ve allocated social media to an administrative or sales person’s duties, just make sure that the person you’ve chosen has the skills and know-how, as well as the time required to make social media work for your business.
- How big is my marketing budget? Small businesses who want to DIY social media often don’t feel like they can hire someone (either an internal employee or a freelance/agency) to outsource their social media efforts. However, this is not necessarily the case. If a company looks at its overall spending on marketing, they may find that they can transfer some of their marketing budget that was previously allocated for other tactics (say, those outdated yellow page ads) and put those marketing dollars toward social media marketing. For the same monthly cost, you’ve given yourself an opportunity to gain visibility online and drive traffic to your website via social media. Freelance social media marketers can be hired for as little as $250 per month, so it may be worth it to outsource to a professional freelance or agency versus hiring an internal employee to do the job.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when determining whether you should DIY on social media. Fortunately, a lot of great resources exist online to help small business professionals learn how to use social media marketing effectively. If you identify with the DIYers, it’s definitely something worth trying. If the thought of doing it yourself makes your head spin, you’re better off calling a professional.