Do I really need to hire a Social Media Manager?
By Ken Schmitt and Vicky Willenberg
As a small business owner, I tackle multiple priorities every day. My responsibilities include everything from business development to creating company-wide strategies to the everyday mundane operations. In order to be truly successful, this strategy must also include marketing. Today’s businesses know all too well that the face of marketing is ever changing. Although traditional branding and print collateral are still essential, a successful marketing plan must also include Social Media. Unless you have been hiding under a rock somewhere, you are already aware of the multitude of social platforms available – and hopefully you are already using many of them. So why, then, should you consider hiring a Social Media Manager?
Let’s answer that question with another question: Because I’ve been going to the dentist for over 40 years, is it reasonable to assume I am perfectly capable of extracting a tooth? “Of course not!” would be the sensible response. Dentists must complete a rigorous educational program. In addition, they log thousands of hours of hands-on experience under the guidance of established dentists. Simply put, just because I have sat in the dentist’s chair, does not make me a qualified dentist.
The same can be true for the world of Social Media Marketing. Effective social media marketing is much more than producing status updates and hashtags. To successfully market online, one must have a consistent online presence and message. In my experience, finding the time as a business owner, to make this happen in a meaningful way is unrealistic.
First, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – and Google for that matter – are more than just social playgrounds. Their complex algorithms go beyond simple 1’s and 0’s. Did you know a company’s “reach” (access to their audience) is not as easy as just posting a link to a product or sharing a picture? In the wake of Facebook’s ever-changing formula for disseminating information, social media gurus have had to continually experiment in order to discover the right recipe for maximum exposure. Twitter continues to grow at a surprising rate. This is great for marketers because it’s one of the easiest ways to find potential clients. However, if there are an average of 58 million tweets per day, how can you be sure your 140 characters won’t be swallowed up in the smorgasbord of meaningless tweets? LinkedIn monitors group participation. If you are not actively involved in discussions- posting comments and sharing others’ posts- your ability to freely provide content is limited. There is a maze of information, education and experience that is necessary to truly leverage the full benefits of Social Media.
As the Founder, President and primary Business Developer for TurningPoint, there are not enough hours in my day to invest in mastering Social Media Marketing. Inconsistent posts, random tweets and a comment posted here and there on LinkedIn will not establish the online presence necessary to yield positive results for my bottom line. Spending time sharing articles and engaging potential clients who might respond has its merit. While over 70% of our business comes from referrals, more than 25% originates from our online presence – namely LinkedIn and our website.
So, where should I be spending my time? Looking at the numbers, I should be driving more of the 70% business development, rather than spending most of my time in the 25% category! Simply put, my time is best used when I am in front of clients pitching our services, meeting with potential clients to discuss their needs and coaching professionals through the hiring process.
Recognizing this fact, while also understanding that social media requires some amount of time, someone has to take responsibility for driving business through our social media channels. As difficult as it is to admit at times, there are people who can do things better than I can. They’re called social media professionals. And that is why I hired a Social Media Manager! She consistently participates in online discussions thereby driving traffic to our site and social media channels; shares industry related content, establishing our online reputation as a reliable source for professional development; markets company news to keep our clients up to date on our services and accomplishments; and most importantly, learns exactly where potential clients are spending their social media minutes so we might engage them in conversation. While I definitely have my strengths, and contribute to the business in many ways, relying on a social media manager has helped accelerate the growth of the firm. I encourage you to do the same!
About the Authors
Ken Schmitt is the President and Founder of TurningPoint Executive Search and the Sales Leadership Alliance. Specializing in placing sales, marketing and operations professionals across the country, Ken’s 16 years of recruiting experience have equipped him with the knowledge to serve as a thought partner to his clients for all recruiting, hiring and human capital-related initiatives. Ken sits on the board of Junior Achievement, the American Marketing Association, the San Diego HR Roundtable and is an Advisory Board Member for San Diego Sports Innovators (SDSI).
Vicky Willenberg has served as the Social Media Manager for TurningPoint since 2011. In 2014, she was elevated to Digital Marketing Manager, broadening her participation across all things digital for the firm. A former teacher with a Masters in Education, Vicky is an active and published blogger at The Pursuit of Normal and a marketing professional. She has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in the recruiting, hiring and leadership sectors.