Outsourcing social media marketing

Should Small Businesses Outsource Their Social Media?

When you have a limited marketing budget and resources (as most small businesses do), it can be difficult to know when to outsource and when to hire in house. Social media marketing is personal; it’s the modern-day equivalent of a store front. You don’t want to hand something so important to just anyone, yet hiring a full time or even part time social media manager can be costly, particularly if you want someone who is experienced and certified.

So what should you do?

Below is a guide to help you decide:

When you should Outsource:

  • No time—If someone in your company does not have the time to devote 20 hours a month or more to social media marketing, then you’re better off outsourcing.
  • No one on staff with the proper skill set or interest—Social media management requires the ability to think both creatively and logically, which are two skills that aren’t always easy to find in one person. But more than anything, you’ll need to find a social media manager with a passion for social media. To do social marketing well, if you have to love it.
  • Limited hire budget—Hiring someone in house is not only pricey, but it can be risky as well. What happens if the person isn’t able to deliver results? It can be difficult to fire a W-2 employee, but with a freelance contractor, it’s easy to let them go if they aren’t meeting conversion goals or performance standards.

When you shouldn’t outsource:

If you already have someone on staff who has the skills, interest and time to manage your businesses social media then by all means, keep your social media management in house! After all, mo outsourced social media manager will ever know your business as well as a full-time employee. The key is making sure you choose the right employee for the job and that they receive the proper training.

4 skills every social media manager needs:

  • Analytical thinking

Effective social media management requires the ability to analyze data. You want your social media manager to be able to accurately assess the effectiveness of your social media advertising and this requires strategic thinking and the ability to interpret graphs, spreadsheets and statistics.

  • Interpersonal intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence is one of the 8 types of intelligence that plays particular importance in the role of social media manager. Someone who scores high in this intelligence type has a heightened sense of empathy and is skilled at interpreting a person’s mood and motivations. A good social media manager will be able to “put themselves in another person’s shoes” and be an experienced communicator. They will need to be able to imagine how someone will feel when reading a particular post and will need to have a firm grasp on what motivates people to buy a product or like and share a piece of content. Emotional intelligence is vital.

  • Writing talent

While you don’t need to hire the next William Shakespeare, you should consider hiring someone with a writing background. Although social media posts don’t typically require more than 200 or so characters, crafting clever and engaging post descriptions when you only have a couple of sentence to work with can be quite a challenge, even for an experienced writer.

  • An eye for graphic design

Graphic design platforms such as Canva.com or Pixlr.com have made it possible for most anyone to create beautiful and professional-looking graphics, so it isn’t necessary to hire someone with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator design skills. Whoever you choose, however, should have an interest in visual art, such as photography or interior design because they will need to be able to create memes and infographics.

How much time should you Dedicate to social media?

Your social media manager should be able to commit at least 5 hours a week to social media in order to be effective. They will also need to adhere to a social media strategy and best practices guide, because this will help to ensure they make the most of their effort and time.

Hiring a social media consultant:

Whether you have someone on staff that can handle the social media or not, a social media consultant can help because he or she can get you started and offer needed strategy and oversight.

A consultant can provide:

  • Platform setup
  • Detailed strategy
  • Competitive analysis
  • Staff training
  • Best practices guide
  • Hiring advice
  • Ongoing social oversight

Visit our social media consulting page for info on pricing and a detailed list of social media training services,


Reannon Muth is the founder and owner of Skylark Media Consultants. Prior to starting her own consulting firm, Reannon worked four six years as a freelance travel writer and the  Director of Content Development for a leading internet marketing company. She currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can follow her on Twitter @afineskylark.