Social Media Made Simple
Outsourcing certain functions of a business makes perfect sense. You might be a terrific chef, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re also a great accountant or sales person, or even a good maitre d’. The scary part of outsourcing is finding a person or company that is reliable, trustworthy and–if you’re lucky—affordable. But does it make sense for a business to hire a third party to manage their online social identity? We believe so.
There has been a lot of debate about the validity and effectiveness of third parties updating online platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Trying to act or speak like someone that you’re not is disingenuous when representing an individual. However, when it comes to speaking on behalf of a business, relying on a third party to manage your social media makes perfect sense. For years, businesses have relied on specialists to help them formulate and promote their brand identities. It wasn’t the California Milk Processor Board that came up with the slogan “Got Milk?”. It was a marketing company that they hired.
Most small businesses can’t afford a full-service marketing firm or a full-time writer. Considering outsourcing abroad is just too scary (especially when considering language-specific priorities like marketing) and Erik the intern only updates the accounts once a month. Ghost Post was launched to encourage small businesses to grow through social media. Business owners work with a dedicated writer at Ghost Post who they can contact once a month, once a week, or every day if they choose.
Who should update your Social Media?
- You, silly: The best person to represent your company, brand or service is yourself. If you have the time, know what to say and possess the technical know-how, no one can better represent your vision.
- Your Team: If you can delegate someone on your staff to be responsible for social media, then go for it. Having direct access to your writer is essential. Just be sure not to delegate this responsibility to someone who will do a mediocre job. (Sorry, Erik.) A company’s social media presence has become something similar to a credit score; if your last update was 4 months ago, customer confidence and ROI takes a serious dive.
- Marketing Companies: There are a few social media marketing “experts” out there, but beware of excessive costs, up-front retainers and contracts. You should also be wary of companies that specialize in older or more traditional forms of marketing and support. As too many companies have learned, the online space is a world unto itself, and what works in print or on television often backfires when applied to social media.
Regardless of what route you take, just be sure to map out your objectives as clearly as possible. Social media can be used as a great customer service tool or as a great marketing platform. A brick-and-mortar business might focus on its local communities and integrate with ongoing perks programs like FourSquare or Yelp. If you are a service-based business, perhaps your social media strategy should include educating your audience with tips and updates in your industry. You can always build loyalty and trust by teaching.
Third parties can often represent a wide spectrum of different businesses and industries who utilize their service. Also, social media marketing programs are priced by how often and how many social media accounts are updated in a given month. This way, the clients don’t have to worry about hourly costs or excessive monthly retainers. In addition, each business owner works with a dedicated writer, who virtually becomes part of his or her team. Third party drives the car and you sit shotgun telling them where to turn.
The following case studies provide some examples of how working with Ghost Post has helped companies expand their market share and achieve their goals. The clients were asked for their permission to share only Twitter data prior to the publishing of this article.
Business: Wholesale Cellular Accessories
Objectives: More followers and “likes”
Results: Increase in followers by 19% in first 30 days. Rapid expansion targeting cell phone retail outlet stores on Twitter. Sales at My Cool Cell’s wholesale site increased by 7.9% in Q4 2011.
2) Red Butler
Business: Virtual Assistant & Concierge Services
Objectives: Increase engagement
Results: Increase in followers by 12% in first 30 days. Efforts were focused on demographic follower targeting and use of listing member perks on Facebook. Sign ups increased by 12.3% in Q3 of 2011.
Business: Social Networking
Objectives: Signups for launch date
Results: Increase in followers by 278% in first 30 days. Boo.st is a promotional tool of Ghost Post that is currently in beta mode. We handed the @boost Twitter handle to one of our experts to focus only on engagement and sign-ups, and he delivered an incredible performance.
As you can see, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re a part of, or what your entrepreneurial priorities are – effective use of social media can help you realize your goals. But the elements behind that success are the same as with any other aspect of your business: specific objectives, clear communication, and the skills to execute the plan.
Secret recipe for social media
- Engagement: Social empathy is essential. Simply congratulating someone on their birthday, or commending them on a helpful post can help to create relationships. It’s essential to reach out to people when the opportunity presents itself, even if you don’t know them well.
- Personality: A great online identity requires a vivid personality. Your posts on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus should always express your emotions. If you’re having a bad day, then say it. Sharing emotions that people can relate to are essential for engagement. Customers will stay with your business if they feel connected to the real person behind the brand name.
- News: Another great way to build loyalty is to share industry news with your audience. That may translate into tax tips, a new legal regulation or a helpful way to conserve power at your home. Share important news and become a leader in your industry.
- Promotion: There’s nothing wrong with promoting your own company. It’s great to add a promo code or a link to a specific product every now and again. Avoid redundant sales posts or aggressive sales tactics. Remember, people turn to social media for a sense of human connection, not advertising (which probably already saturates the rest of their lives).
It’s not a question of “if” successful businesses take part in social media; it’s a question of “when.” Third party social media marketing companies help your business fulfill its potential. Social media is simply too valuable an area to pass up, especially given its relatively low barriers for entry. Of course, because it’s so accessible, everyone is taking part in it, which only makes it more important to create an online identity that stands out from the crowd and uniquely expresses what your business can do.
Essentially, social media is increasingly easy to take part in, and yet increasingly difficult to exploit effectively. Social media outsourcing companies help entrepreneurs resolve that paradox.
CEO & Founder Daniel Abas (@dannyabas), is a serial entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. He blends media and technology with professional services to create progressive business solutions. Daniel is the founder of Red Butler (@redbutler), a global concierge company and Ghost Post (@ghostpost), a social media marketing agency.
Image credit Faith Goble