Social media experts have strong – and opposing – views about who should be doing social media for businesses.
In one camp there are those who insist that maintaining a regular output of blogs, facebook posts, tweets, website updates and so on can only be done in-house. This is because, they say, no-one can be as familiar with the culture of the business, its style, its products and services as the business owners themselves.
In the other are those who argue that surely a business owner, especially in a small business or as a sole trader, cannot possibly have the time to run their business effectively and also carry out the contracts to the highest possible standards while keeping up with all their online and social media marketing.
Equally, they may not have the in-depth knowledge of market research, of devising a strategy or the skill to actually write all the content to the standard needed.
Can you afford to do it yourself?
One way of identifying the best way for you to go is to consider the hourly rate you charge for your business services and the time it will take you to produce all this marketing material.
Might it actually be more cost effective to outsource the development of your marketing strategy and the actual content writing to somebody who has the knowledge and skill to do it – probably in half the time it would take you?
Can you be objective?
You are passionate about your product or service – that was why you decided to set up your own business.
But are you able to stand back and look objectively at what features make it unique? What is it that appeals to your potential customers or clients? Do you know the best way to engage their interest to get these messages across?
For example: many websites fail to provide a return on their owners’ investment because the content is all about “we” (the business) and how wonderful “we” are. Whether they emphasise quality or product or customer service they are often about a selling message. What they fail to do is to engage with the client, to make any mention of the client’s problem, requirement, or pain before showing how they would solve it.
People hate being blatantly sold to and this is why so-called “push” advertising has become so ineffective. Consumers in the 21st Century are much more sophisticated, more inclined to research for themselves before making a buying decision and have plentiful sources of information online in order to do so.
Therefore, when planning your marketing it helps to “present” your product or service to someone who is not directly involved either within your company or as a customer. They will almost certainly be able to identify what makes your offering unique and identify features and benefits that your close involvement may have hidden from you.
Talk to your marketers regularly
If after considering all this you decide to outsource your content marketing and have someone update your website, write your blogs and manage your social media activity there are a few things to remember.
1. They are your voice. A good content writer will take the time to understand your company culture and style of speech and you need to feel comfortable with the way your marketing content is expressed.
2. They need regular contact with you. To do a good job they need regular information from you about what your business is doing, what new products or services you’re developing, what feedback you’re getting from customers or clients.
It’s very tempting to think that once you have contracted out your marketing to another provider you can just leave them to it.
But they can’t work in a vacuum especially if they are not on site with you every day. So part of your contract with them should include an agreement for regular, scheduled discussions.
Your relationship with your marketing content provider should be mutually beneficial.