This post is contributed by Margie Zable Fisher, president of Zable Fisher Public Relations, which specializes in e-commerce and product P.R. and publicity. Sign up for her free, award-winning public relations newsletter.
Social media is not only a time suck, but it’s hard to keep up with the latest and greatest tips and techniques for making those efforts successful. For those reasons, you’ve probably considered outsourcing all or part of your social media marketing activities.
Today there are a variety of social media outsourcing options. Here are some that won’t break the bank.
- Use a company that provides the ability to post gigs and pick freelancers for jobs, such as Upwork or Fiverr.
Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal, a Nashville, TN-based company which is like an Uber for lawn care, has had excellent success with Upwork.
Clayton has great praise for his Upwork contract worker, Mariam Tumanyan, based in Eastern Europe, who has been managing the company’s social media accounts for under $300 per month.
Tumanyan’s efforts have been especially successful in increasing the company’s Instagram account, increasing followers from 300 to over 9,000.
You might be wondering what it is exactly that Tumanyan does as part of her social media responsibilities. First, she researches images related to the industry and posts them on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook pages with relevant hashtags.
She also interacts with people interested in the company’s niche, follows them, likes and comments on their photos to grow engagement for the brand.
Says Clayton, “I kind of like sitting back and watching it all just grow without my day-to-day grunt effort into it.”
How to Find a Great Freelancer
With the large number of freelancers available on these sites, how do you find a good one? Clayton has some thoughts.
First, he had to put some work into finding the right person, by combing through dozens and dozens of profiles on Upwork.
His recommendation for people searching on Upwork would be to set their parameters to be at least 100 billed hours and a rating of four stars and above.
Next, look at previous jobs they have completed on Upwork and read over those job descriptions and the feedback that clients left them. This is what gave Clayton a good sense when hiring the virtual assistant he ended up using. However, he worked with four different assistants before finally identifying Tumanyan as the candidate he wanted to develop a long-term working relationship with.
How Do You Define Social Media Success?
“Being active and growing our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts is difficult to quantify as a direct sales channel,” says Clayton. “However, having an engaged audience on each has helped to reinforce our brand presence. Ultimately we look at social media as an engagement and retention tool rather than a customer acquisition tool.”
- Work with a Virtual Assistant.
A virtual assistant (VA) can tackle many of the everyday clerical, scheduling, and technical aspects that keep your business operating smoothly. Virtual assistants work remotely from their own location, and can be based in your city or on the other side of the world.
While many folks are familiar with VAs who handle travel arrangements, bookkeeping and document creation, many VAs now provide social media support.
HOPE Unlimited is a Simpsonville, SC-based virtual assistance company whose VAs provide a variety of support services. Social media support is generally two hours a week or less, which includes keeping content consistently flowing, and some basic monitoring of comments and stats. The company also has a Social Media Strategist on the team for those clients who want a more engaged approach with more hours applied to their channels per month.
HOPE Unlimited offers two ways clients purchase basic social media implementation services: Retainer packages of 5, 10 or 20 hours, or a pay-as-you go option, all times based on 15-minute increments. Fees are as follows:
- 5 hour package: $175
- 10 hour package: $300
- 20 hour package: $595
- Pay as you go: $37 per hour after small deposit
For Dedicated Social Media Strategy, Engagement and Implementation, packages start at $350 per month and go higher depending on how much the clients want in terms of regular attention to their channels.
- Hire an Intern.
While some internships pay an hourly fee or stipend, many internships are unpaid, in exchange for college credit. You can find interns in a variety of ways, including through local colleges and sites such as Internships.com.
Albany, NY-based eCommerce company Twill offers made in the US blankets, beanies and tote bags. For every Twill product sold, another is given to a local friend of the buyer’s choice. The company is a big fan of hiring interns, and has between one and five interns working at any given time. They are all unpaid and receive college credit.
The interns work on a variety of activities. Social Media interns will use content generated by Twill’s photographer or customer content on all social media accounts. One intern is solely responsible for customer engagement on social media, including saying thank you, liking and commenting on posts, and responding to any direct messages or questions the company receives.
Twill’s intern activities have resulted in increased sales, social media followers, brand awareness, and corporate partnerships.
- Find someone in your network or get a referral.
With the explosion of social media, chances are that you know folks who offer social media support, or that you know someone who can give you a referral.
Sean Desilva, owner of Every Last Spot Cleaning Service in Wichita, Kansas, reached out to longtime business acquaintance Rick Vugts, owner of The Experience Digital Marketing PTY LTD in Australia, when he needed social media support.
Vugts and his team offer many online marketing services, including social media strategy (including a practical plan) and social media advertising services.
“With the strategy and practical plan, the business owner or one of their employees does the actual content creation. They get practical ideas which they can work on themselves. The main reason is that it saves the client money. Creating content is time consuming and time is money. For clients with bigger budgets, we do offer more than just the practical plan and actually write content, because we have the time/budget to do that. With bigger budgets we also have sufficient time to get to know the market and our clients’ clients. The latter is a key ingredient in a successful campaign,” says Vugts.
If the clients are writing their own content, Vugts can guide them to find images and engage with followers, and help clients deal with any critical / negative comments they encounter.
Pricing for services varies. “We do not provide ‘packages’ as we look at every company and their goals individually. Campaigns usually start at $195/month,” Vugts offers.
Social media is an important part of every business’s marketing efforts. If you need help, consider an inexpensive outsourcing solution. You’ll save time and get the marketing help you need to increase customer retention and sales.