Social media: Confusing, mysterious, time-sucking, geekified, tech. Ewww… (It’s actually none of these things but for once I’m not here to persuade you otherwise. 🙂 )

As solo-workers this description depicts all of the things we’d rather NOT have to deal with in our already stuffed-to-the-brim-lives. Along with cold cups of tea, unpaid invoices and piles of ironing. With these labels it’s no wonder your mind drifts to the dream of outsourcing your online marketing to an expert who will quickly produce thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook likes, magically converting them into paying customers. Way cool.

But WAIT! (Yes, I’m saying this in my cheesiest marketing voice)

If you want to get paying clients, amazing recommendations, masses of social proof for your brilliant products and services, floods of visitors to your website, exciting opportunities landing in your inbox that create giant leaps towards your business dreams, AND you want to achieve this by outsourcing your social media, you’ll need to read these 3 warnings first.

Don your trench coat and shades – time to play detective

When you find that special someone to manage your social media, don’t just rely on a hunch that they’re perfect for you – check them out online first. Your intuition is an important guide, but you need to be sure that the voice of your brand online is in exceptionally talented hands.

You’ll be hiring this person to communicate your passion, your business values, plus your empathy and understanding for your own client’s needs – that isn’t something that comes easily to just anyone. And, conveying all of this on behalf of someone else is WAY harder.

So. What shape are they really in, on social media? Are they sharing great info on a regular basis, or does it all look a little tired with low engagement and virtual cobwebs gathering in the corners of their profiles?

The best social media managers are natural connectors, brilliant communicators, quick-witted, helpful and charming, and are clearly in love with being sociable online. That means, they’ll live and breathe it 24/7 and this will be conveyed in all of their personal activities online because they just can’t help themselves.

Don’t be wowed by vanity metrics and empty promises

Beware the vanity metric goal!

The promise of X number of social media followers or likes in X number of days, or that they’ll post X number of updates in exchange for their fee are easy to measure – the proof is right there for all to see – but in reality they’re worrrrrrrthless.

Your popularity on social media doesn’t directly correlate with your bottom line, and it doesn’t guarantee business success either. It’s the quality of the connections you make and how they are being converted into real business deals that matters.

It’s also worth me pointing out here, that social media is NOT the magic pill that will make all of this happen – but it is a vital part of your marketing and sales strategy. Your website, products and service offerings, lead generation and conversion strategies, all have to work together like one big happy family for you to achieve amazing, consistent results. But that’s a whole different post altogether.

Be clear on your goals and agree results oriented objectives with your social media manager, so that the money you invest brings the results you expect.

Be prepared to get your hands dirty

I received an email recently that asked me this question. (Unfortunately, receiving questions like this is not uncommon and they make my heart sink…)

How do I run social media – Twitter, Facebook and company LinkedIn pages – when my clients don’t give me updates?

Huh?…Let’s get this straight, busy business owners are paying hard-earned money, entrusting their social media profiles to ‘experts’ who have little understanding of what it takes to achieve consistent results that increase their client’s bottom line..?

So what service are these business owners paying for, exactly?

Before hiring your social media manager, be clear that you will need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. You need to provide information and news about your business on a regular basis. They should be guiding you in your communication strategy, and portraying you in the best light with the information you provide them. Without this information you’re wasting your money.

If your social media manager is not insanely curious about your business, asking you questions to the point of crazy-making, don’t expect clients to be clambering to work with you via social media.

Social media marketing doesn’t have to be painful…

Without question you’ll get the best results by managing your own social media; connecting with your prospects and peers, and by being of service to clients through your online communications. And, at the very least understanding the basics about how social media works, so that it’s not an icky, technological mystery, and it will serve you a whole lot better if things don’t work out with your social media manager and you have to pick up the pieces.

But I get it, just because you’ll be great at it, doesn’t mean you should be doing it, so an alternative solution is having (or hiring) a trust-worthy member of your team with impeccable customer service qualities to manage it for you. They know what’s happening in your business, they get you and want you to succeed.

Afterall, we are talking about the voice of your business that you work SO hard to build, keep profitable and show in the very best light. Is it really worth your while blindly trusting that to someone else?

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