A lot of people have a lot of advice about how your small business can succeed on Facebook. You should post frequently. You should participate in Groups. You should leverage Facebook Messaging, Ad Manager, Marketplace, Shops, Contests, Insights, and Analytics. You should be doing videos, hosting Facebook Live shows, tagging, poking, liking, and commenting. Yeah, you should be doing all of that.
But here’s the thing: you can’t and you won’t.
Not that you don’t want to or that you don’t think these things are important, it’s that you just don’t have the time, and you don’t have the skills, and if you want to get the skills to really take advantage of all of these features, you’re going to need to spend the time which gets me back to…well…you just don’t have the time. You’re a business owner. You make and sell your products and service your customers. You are not a Facebook expert. You don’t want to be a Facebook expert. But here’s the secret to succeeding on Facebook: you need a Facebook expert.
On a recent Small Biz Ahead podcast, Jon Aidukonis and I interviewed Jeanette Dardenne and Kristen Fritz of INGroup Creative. They are marketing experts. They’re also Facebook experts. They’ve been helping clients succeed on Facebook and grow their businesses by leveraging Facebook’s tools over the past few years. They do strategy, consulting, and provide the roll-up-your-sleeves help that enables their clients to get their messages out, content published, queries responded, ad campaigns run, and activities analyzed.
But what about being genuine? How can these people be personifying me online? Is having someone manage my Facebook account inauthentic, and if so, isn’t that the very antithesis of what social media is all about? I reject that theory.
There are countless brands succeeding on Facebook with accounts that are run by social media managers and marketing experts — just like INGroup Creative — representing the principles, thoughts, and face of those companies. Their job is to know their audience and understand the ideals of the companies for which they work. They are trained to respond to questions and prompt engagement in a consistent manner. A good marketing firm working on behalf of a small business should be doing the same: following your directives, obeying your orders, acting consistently with your company’s principles, and responding in a way that you would respond.
Does this mean you personally ignore Facebook and hand over all responsibility to an outsider? Of course not. It’s still your business. I have a social media manager who monitors my Twitter account, but I’m on Twitter a few times a day responding to questions and posting my own thoughts. Oftentimes my social media manager alerts me of anything that requires a quick reply. Sometimes she bounces a potential reply on my behalf to me before posting just to make sure she’s on the right track. Sure, she’s messed up. She’s posted a few things here and there that probably shouldn’t have been posted. But then again, so have I. In fact, probably more often than her!
But doesn’t this all have a cost? You bet it does. Although Dardenne and Fritz didn’t get into too much detail about this on our podcast, the bottom line is that a social media consultant is going to be a cost for you to incur. Some charge by the hour. Others have fixed or monthly arrangements. Your job isn’t to get the best price, though. Your job is to get the best value. Will your consultant be connected to your Facebook page throughout the day? Will they commit to timely responses and frequent posts? Have you set some metrics, such likes, replies, followers, leads, or even sales (click-throughs to your site) to help quantify their effectiveness? These are the things you have to measure to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Spending the effort on metrics is a better use of your time than actually doing the work on Facebook.
In the end, you get what you pay for. And when it comes to succeeding with Facebook, you’re going to get a lot of value by hiring an expert than if you do it yourself. Maybe that’s no secret. But for many of my clients, it’s oftentimes a hard lesson to learn.