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Do You Really Need a Social Media Manager?

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The number of job posts appearing for social media managers is clearly on the rise which can only be good for the unemployment figures. For business owners however this posting may be brought about by a  number of factors, none of which are good business decisions. There is no doubt that social media needs careful and timely  management but is a full time post truly warranted?

As a social media consultant I have a natural leaning toward outsourcing but as a training provider I would rather see the business make a good decision over throwing money away, even on me. Look at your reason for taking on social media channels, is it to be trendy, address customers already using those channels, to reach new customers, to enhance service or to ‘listen in’ on your competitors?

Each of these reasons are all valid but justifying time spent must be compared to ROI. ROI doesn’t have to be profit of course but other ROIs must ultimately contribute to the bottom line. Enhancing service is a great route to building business with no direct profit taking but it can be seen in a reduction in complaints or channeling FAQs through a lower cost communication than call centre staff.

Looking at the real time involved this can be a few minutes each hour, not a full time position. If strategies are to be designed and implemented is this new person also right to be taking on that role? Would someone experienced in marketing with a good knowledge of the business not be more suited, even if someone else does the leg work via the social media channels?

If research and market monitoring is your goal then a full time position is easy to justify but a fluent blogger is probably not your answer. A good communicator with real life people skills should be top of your list. The ability to take technical research and present it to non-techies is a real skill, not always found in social media ‘gurus’.

Social media management is much more than the ability to use the new software and understand the online communities in which your business has an interest; setting your social media targets should be your first step in appointing a manager, in-house or outsourced.
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