Considering hiring someone to do social media for your small business? When you reach this point, you have to ask yourself, what is my business actually going to get for this? Do you just want help with content, or do you have no idea where to start with social media? It is important to know what your business needs support with, and this guide should help you determine whether or not you need to pursue this. There are different things to consider when bringing on support.

Do You Need a Community Management?

Some agencies and freelancers will offer to just do the community management side of your social media. This is a fairly safe alternative. Choose this option if you don’t want them to do full social media management, but keep within some agreed guidelines. You and your community manager should agree on a tirage process, sometimes called an issues management chart, crisis management, or response tree.

These are actually really simple to make. A triage process means working with each piece of engagement and knowing how to handle it. There are some great flow charts out there that can show you a social triage process in action. If you’ll be using copy and paste, run them past your legal team or PR team if you have one, or at least getting some legal advice. This will make sure you’re not making things worse in your responses to negativity. Above all, you should trust your Community Manager to know how and when to respond and who to reach out to to create meaningful connections for your business.

Responses to negative comments or in a crisis situation for your business should be clear, emotion-free, should not invite further discussion.

Or Do You Need Content Creation and Curation?

Content creation is the process of creating visual and written content for your social media channels. These are usually photos and videos accompanied by the copy (the text of your written message). Your social media person will need to be familiar with at least the process of curation, but the ability to also create is useful too. Not sure what content curation is?  Content curation refers to collecting 3rd party content or UGC (User Generated Content) related to your field and sharing it with your audience. If your business is in English tutoring, for example, you may share articles on education, infographics on new methods of learning, or maybe a video showing a novel way to work out fractions.

Content creation is a big task, but a good social media manager or agency will be able to make lots of content from one bigger piece. One long 2-hour long webinar video or a long whitepaper video can be made into 30+ individual pieces of content to share across your channels, for example. If they are able to create the content for you, then you need to ensure that they have impeccable English written language and grammar. After all, they are representing your business. Any good content creator should also have the ability to create and curate content of all different types. This includes scheduling them using the appropriate scheduling tools and, if needs be, using other tools to improve the content, such as adding animations.

If you are going to bring someone like this on board, you need to ensure that they also have the ability to follow brand guidelines, including brand voice. They need to look and sound just like your business at all times and not deviate from the guidelines.

Your Checklist for Getting Support

If you are going to bring onboard social media support, whether this is a content creator or community manager, then you need to ensure multiple needs are met:

  • Legal Compliance – You may want to involve your legal/PR department with this or at least get some advice on how your new social media manager can stay compliant. The last thing you want to experience is your manager making decisions that come with dire consequences for you. By setting this in stone at the very beginning, you can ensure your business is protected throughout the entire time you are creating content.
  • Full KPIs – Your need to be able to benchmark your social media strategy against your entire marketing strategy. You cannot rely on social alone.
  • A full understanding of content – How does each piece of content fits in with the plan? Why are you creating each piece of (sometimes expensive) content? Will each piece be in line with your marketing compliance, as mentioned above? They should have the skills to creatively diversify your content, too. This is to make more content out of one big piece. It might help you to look through some great content strategies together to understand it more.
  • Knowledge of social ads and where and how to use them – There’s no point “doing” social media without an advertising plan, so make this a priority. Sit down with them and form a plan together. They should also have the knowledge and full understanding of how social media and SEO and be advising you on this one.
  • A full and thorough knowledge of each platform and exactly what they should be used for – This includes other social networks that you don’t realize may be social networks that are different for each industry – think YouTube or Discord.
  • Security – Keep hold of your Instagram and Twitter passwords. Do NOT let your social media manager change them without your consent. If they do need to change them, make sure you have a copy of the new details. Plus, you should only allow people, agencies, and companies you fully trust to have access to your business accounts and work on your behalf. Thoroughly check their skills and expertise beforehand.

What Happens if You Choose to Go It Alone

You may decide that you actually want to pursue social media by yourself. However, if you do go down this route, you need to ensure that you don’t carry out actions that result in you landing in trouble. For example, marketers see so many small businesses who decide to have social media but don’t separate their own personal pages from their business – this is a bad idea! Some “professional social media companies” have a habit of asking for personal Facebook logins because they don’t know that Facebook Business Manager exists.