If you run a business that operates in a small market, you don’t have to partner with a marketing firm forever to be successful in your social media efforts, but you should use one to get things kick started for 6 months at the very least.
If your business operates in multiple markets or locations, partnering with a firm that can not only manage all of your social media efforts, but can consider them a part of a complete online and inbound marketing plan is a good idea. “But I have marketing people, and they know how to use Facebook” you say?
That’s like saying you are an artist because you have a paint brush. Unless your internal marketing staff has a team of creatives, designers, copywriters, developers, third-party app partners, inbound software, and marketing/conversion/lead generation specialists behind them, you won’t get maximum results and you will have a much more difficult time showing an ROI to those pesky investors or board members.
After 3 or 4 weeks of posting, tweeting, pinning and interacting, it gets old, and your employee will slowly start to migrate back to their core functions. Most professional marketing firms however, will utilize a calendar or planning tool of some kind that they have developed and honed over the years to stay on point day after day, and you can hold them accountable day after day.
Who are you talking to and why are you doing this social media thing? You should have a clearly defined persona and a conversion goal for each one. What is success and how will it be measured? This should be agreed to before that tweet button is touched. At Leighton Interactive for instance, we fill out an online marketing blueprint that defines persona’s, tactics, goals, and agree to what success is before we get started, but there are many ways to do this and the expertise to do so is typically not internally available.
Facebook lends itself well to promotion, and there are some fantastic applications like Wildfire and North Social that provide easy paths to sophisticated promotions. BUT, but but but you need professional graphic design, someone to pay attention to every little detail like whether or not this week’s winner is the sister of the new guy in accounting, and someone that understands how to utilize this huge new list of leads that have so willingly signed up for your contest. There’s a lot to it, not to mention the brilliant idea and concept for the promotion in the first place!
If you can hire a full-time social whiz, that’s great and you can hold that person accountable. Most companies can’t or won’t though so the burden falls on someone or a small group whose core function isn’t social media, much less inbound and online marketing. The result is no accountability. If you partner with a firm and they don’t perform, you say goodbye. But even if you do hire that person, it will typically cost you more than hiring a marketing firm and you won’t get access to an entire team of professionals.
Facebook switches to timeline, Pinterest is gaining popularity, Google is changing algorithms, and what did Justin Timberlake just do? (check out the new MySpace, you might go back). My point is, you can’t stay on top of tax code changes and so you rely on professionals to do that for you. Online marketing and social media’s role in it is no different. Let the geeks be geeks, partner with a firm that proves it works, and get back running your business.
Dan believes that marketing has one purpose: to generate sales leads. He is certain the best marketing tactics and sales people are decision-making facilitators, not yes getters and being customer-centric is the only way to be successful in the long run. Dan started Leighton Interactive in 2009 with a vision to help high-growth companies attract and close more ideal customers.
A perpetual student of sales and marketing, Dan focuses on two things: finding clients with problems Leighton Interactive solves and talent with the expertise to solve them.