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Social media is a powerful business tool. Consider these details when outsourcing your social media efforts, so you can effectively grow your business. — Getty Images/fizkes

In our Startup2021 series, we're helping aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the new business climate of the COVID-19 era. Each week, we'll share an in-depth look at one step you can take toward launching your business in 2021.

Are you considering outsourcing your business's social media efforts? Although often assumed to be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, outsourcing can be an affordable and beneficial step for your business. There are different routes you can take depending on your needs, from working with a freelancer to a full enterprise. Here's what you should consider.

When is it time to outsource your social media?

It's time to outsource your social media when you're unable to meet your business’s goals within your available time. Many CEOs find themselves wanting to explore social media and the potential benefits it can offer, but oftentimes, their jobs come with enough responsibilities, and they don’t have time to manage so many social platforms. Social media can be a powerful tool for businesses big and small, so if you can’t find the time to create content, maintain an online presence and be active online, you should consider outsourcing your social media.

[Read: Perfecting Your Social Media Strategy]

What to consider when outsourcing your social media

Outsourcing your social media can be an effective way to help grow your business; however, it’s important to understand your business’s needs to ensure you invest in the kind of outsourcing that best suits you.

How often do you want to post?

If you want content produced more frequently than you’re able to keep up with, outsourcing your social media will help your accounts gain more traction. Consider how many posts per week you’d like to share, and remember that the frequency of posts your business needs will vary based on the type of business and the size of your following. Each social platform has different standards for how many posts per week followers generally like to see. The more posts you’re looking to produce, the bigger the team you’ll need to hire to manage your accounts.

Agencies will have access to better and more in-depth analytical information and can use that to get a better sense of what is and isn’t working for your accounts.

What type of content will you publish?

It’s important to determine the kind of content you want to share on your page. It’ll take time for an outsourced team to learn your company’s voice and design content to your preference. The clearer the direction you give of what you’re looking for, the easier it will be for the agency to create something you’re happy with. Especially in the beginning, take time to establish a relationship with the agency and keep communication open so you can ensure you’re on the same page.

What are your social media goals?

Do you want your accounts to grow in the number of followers it has, or are you looking for someone to just maintain your accounts? Are you trying to reach a new demographic? All these questions should be addressed before you hire an outsourced team, so you can help guide them in the right direction to ensure they are meeting your needs. Once you have your goals listed, you’ll be able to find the right person or team who can help you reach those goals by developing a social media strategy.

[Read: 10 Minority-Owned Businesses That Are Leveraging Social Media’s Full Impact]

How will you monitor and respond to comments and messages?

When considering outsourcing, another aspect to think about is who will monitor and respond to your followers. It’ll take some work before an outsider can truly capture your brand voice, so it’s important to understand your audience in order to determine how your messaging will be handled. The level of interaction you'll have with your outsourced social media team will depend on factors like the size of your company, how social your audience is, and what your audience is looking for by following you. It may be more cost-effective to hire an agency with a whole team to monitor your accounts 24/7, rather than paying overtime to an in-house employee for working on-call daily.

How will you measure your ROI?

Ahead of time, determine what will improve your social media presence and maximize your return on investment. Talk with the outsourced team about what they consider to be successful and achievable progress, which can help predict how your company’s social media stats should change within a specified time frame. Agencies will have access to better and more in-depth analytical information and can use that to get a better sense of what is and isn’t working for your accounts.

If you’re finding it hard to manage your online presence, it may be time to outsource. Social media, when given the proper amount of time and attention, can be extremely worthwhile for your business.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published October 11, 2021