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Should you pay for social media management?

This is something we’ve been asked a number of times recently. A client approaches us with the request that we set-up and manage their social networking activities. The question is, is this something that you really need to pay for on an on-going basis? The short answer is probably not.

Many people confuse social networking with search engine optimisation. Whilst the two things do compliment each other, they are two entirely different things. Social networking is very much like networking in real life, the difference being is that in the “virtual” world it makes the process more efficient and enables you to reach a wider audience.

If you run a small business and there was a local breakfast meeting or networking event, it’s highly unlikely you’d pay someone from an agency to go on your behalf. It’s more likely that you’d put on your best suit and attend in person – or send a colleague or employee who understands your business well. Social media is much the same – an external organisation or individual is unlikely to understand your business and your customers well enough to manage your day-to-day social networking without any input from you.

Setting up the correct tools, for example branding your Twitter profile, creating a visually exciting Facebook page or integrating social media platforms with your website, might well be something you’d want to pay for. Likewise, training courses which demonstrate how to get the best from social media are probably a good investment. But the fundamentals of social networking – communicating with existing customers and winning new business – are probably something you’d want to do yourself.