Social media is such a common part of most of our lives that most of us perceive ourselves as experts, or at least knowledgeable enough to handle running a Facebook or Twitter page on a daily basis. Sure, you may do an awesome job posting pictures of you and your friends or funny news articles and videos, but running a social media account for a business is an entirely different ballgame. Lots of business owners and employees think they can approach running a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page for their business the same way they would their personal pages. This is not the case, and the results of this mentality can do damage to your business. We’ve all seen that restaurant whose daily specials are loaded with typos, or terrible photos that make food look gross. Or maybe you’ve seen a cringe-worthy post on a Facebook page from an angry manager having a public meltdown. And just as bad as any of those things is seeing a social media account that hasn’t been active in months, making you wonder if they are even open.

As much as we would all like to believe that we’re experts when it comes to social media, sometimes you need to face the facts that it’s time to enlist the help and services of a social media manager. So, how do you know just when it’s time to call in the heavies? Here are a few signs you need to outsource your social media

Not enough hours in the day

Between scheduling content, communicating with customers, and networking with other businesses, handling your social media accounts effectively takes an investment of several hours a week. Let’s say “several” is anywhere between 3-10 hours over a 7 day period. If you own a busy restaurant, every minute, let alone hour, is important. Sure, you can try and post a daily special when you get the time, or even ask a manager to do it, but in many cases we’ve seen this go poorly due to a lack of consistency and a lack of quality content being posted. For many businesses, social media pages are the main point of contact and identity for their customer base. Investing in a social media manager may seem like a lot up front, but over time it gives a business owner peace of mind knowing that they can devote the precious hours of each day to what matters: running their business.

Posting updates is one thing, making them look good is another

I touched on this in the last point. You may not think you need a social media manager because you or one of your employees is able to post updates on your page every so often. That may be effective, but more often than not we have seen businesses who do this receive little engagement because their posts are not professional looking and, most importantly, just aren’t any fun. People use social media (Facebook at least) to engage with their friends, and pretty much all of these people would never use social media if there wasn’t something fun about it. There’s nothing wrong with giving people the straight meat and potatoes, but sometimes you need to doll up the dish a bit, you know, add a little flare to make it more appetizing! A good social media manager spends the time to build your brand and create content that is both informative and exciting to your customers, and the best part is that they can do this on a regular schedule, so your brand is always growing and attracting fresh eyes.

Keeping up with trends and daily changes to platforms is overwhelming

If you are unable to keep up with social media platform changes, it is one of the signs you need to outsource your social media. One day people are saying Twitter is dying or Facebook has no value, or this and that new platform will be the next big thing. It’s overwhelming to say the least, and in the day in and day outs of running a business, it’s basically impossible to keep up with the rapid growth and constant changes happening in social media. Your social media manager has a job to keep up with the changes happening and to present them to you in a way that makes sense. Also, having a reliable social media manager means that you can count on your business always being up to date in whatever is happening out there.

You’re not seeing any engagement

Without spending money, getting engagement on social media is something of an art. Content rules and, as I previously mentioned, creating content that attracts people to like, share, tag friends, and comment on posts takes skill and time. You may just be concerned with posting updates to your business pages, but does simply being there mean engagement? No. Getting active engagement can be a frequent source of frustration for business owners as it doesn’t come easy. Investing in a social media manager means that you have somebody with an incentive to make your social media pages perform as best as they possibly can, which usually translates to more customers.

You forget to respond to customers and followers

People who engage with a business on social media expect a quick response. In fact, a 2012 study by Edison Research showed that over two-thirds of customers expected a response from a business the same day they contacted them. Not responding (even to negative reviews) shows neglect and ultimately reflects poorly on your business. Do you really have the time to deal with every single customer who posts a comment or a review? Probably not, but a social media manager does.

Advertising!

Advertising on social media, especially on Facebook, is a skill set in and of itself. There are a million ways to do it wrong and just a small handful to do it effectively. It’s also a whole other realm of social media that will make the average person’s head spin, even if they have the time to devote to it. Working with a social media manager allows you to take comfort knowing your business and its message is getting out to the people who will actually be patronizing it.