Facebook, Twitter and Instagram inspire feelings of easy connection and lighthearted fun for most of their users. Businesses, however, tend to find these social media platforms to be a source of great stress, because they are so central to digital marketing efforts – and yet so difficult to manage well.
As with any other marketing campaign, social media marketing depends on careful strategy and planning, all designed to produce the public appearance of natural, positive brand communication. Because the end result looks so effortless when done well, businesses that are less experienced in the digital marketing world tend to underestimate the amount of effort that goes into each well-managed account.
A look behind the curtain: the delicate reality of social media marketing
In-house social media management is a realistic possibility for organizations that have a fully-functioning marketing department, well-developed strategic goals, high-quality content, a clear and market-tested brand voice, time and resources to produce effective multimedia material, as well as trusted personnel to act as the face of the brand in real-time online interaction.
Social media can be an unforgiving space for companies that enter unprepared. Each of the aforementioned behind-the-scenes elements must be strong enough to support the social marketing campaign, or else the entire effort could fail.
For example, high-quality content and engagement, without a clear strategic goal to support it, will build you a smooth road to nowhere. And even the best efforts can have all of their good work undone in a moment if the social media manager takes the wrong approach to answering criticism.
If even one building block in a social media marketing campaign is weak or out of place, the entire structure can come tumbling down. But when all the pieces are in place, the results – measured by boosts in followers and engagement, higher web traffic and Google rankings, brand recognition, and overall ROI.
Outsourcing as a key resource for effective digital marketing
We all outsource for most of the things we need. If we need a new refrigerator, most of us don’t build our own; we buy it from another company that specializes in making them. When a company needs a new office, it doesn’t tell its own employees to start cutting down trees and shaping the wood into floors and desks; it takes advantage of external providers, preserving the ability of its own team to focus on the true core of the business.
The world of social media evolves extremely quickly, and most companies cannot afford to dedicate enough resources to follow and adapt to the frequent changes in algorithms and targeting mechanisms among the major platforms. Ten years ago, the world of social media was young and carefree; now it is a complex ecosystem where competition is intense, but where success brings magnificent rewards for brands that invest in quality.
Consider all the steps that are necessary at the very outset. Before making a single social media post, companies should determine the ultimate goals of their upcoming social media campaign, and how to measure them in real time. They should settle on a social media brand voice, ideally as an extension of their broader tone of voice. Content calendars will also be necessary – as well as the content itself, of course – so that the company can post consistently over time. Plenty of other research will need to be completed at the outset, such as an audience profile so that the company can find the approach that will be most appealing to its readers.
Effective social media management during the campaign also has its own separate demands. You’ll need to track your mentions, respond to messages in a timely and considerate way, and post engaging material to build a loyal group of followers. You’ll also need to keep readers entertained with variety – sometimes using blog posts, other times videos, along with various types of imagery to avoid being too predictable.
You’ll need to find the right balance of genuinely helpful or entertaining material, as well as sales-focused content. Stress sales too much, and your followers may decide that your page is no longer interesting for them.
Each of the above concerns requires skill that can only come with experience. If your organization has enough social media experts to manage all of these concerns while still putting together high-quality content on a regular basis, then it should be able to handle its own social media efforts in-house.
For most companies, though, the sheer complexity and delicacy of the social media marketing world means that the wisest choice is to leave it to the experts. By outsourcing your digital campaigns to a specialist company, you’ll be able to put aside all of the difficult questions and daily stresses of social media engagement.
With the knowledge that your marketing efforts have been placed in the best possible hands, you’ll be free to devote all of your time and energy on the core of your business, relying on your internal strengths to grow responsibly and sustainably in a competitive market. It may be fun to try your hand at new things, such as building your own refrigerator or managing a fully engaged social media campaign – but some things really are best left to the experts.
Lexicon is a full-service digital marketing agency in Bangkok, Thailand. We specialize in corporate storytelling and produce all of our content in-house, including branding, copywriting, video production and graphic design. Lexicon’s social media marketing services start from just 25,000 THB per month.