Shop Talk

Ask the Experts: Hire a social media manager to create goals

Many small-business owners devote a lot of time to social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, many entrepreneurs don’t know why what they post matters and when to ask for help.

Angel Lebak, owner of social media marketing company Assistant Angel, which has offices in Raleigh and Princeton, N.J., said proper management of a business’ online presence is important.

Potential customers usually check out a company online before choosing to shop there or use its services.

“By the time a potential customer calls or emails you, they have already reviewed your information, watched how you engage online, read your online reviews and formed an opinion about your company,” Lebak said.

With a solid social media plan, a business owner can be sure that what potential clients see online will help make those people want to use that company. The key to effective social media marketing is to make engaging that target audience a priority, she said.

According to Lebak, a good plan should include:

The company’s current marketing goals; a profile of the company’s ideal audience; an overview of the company’s existing online presence; access to the digital content to be used across the social networks; and analysis of social media trends.

By outsourcing social media management, Lebak said, a company should expect to get significantly better social media marketing results than they would on their own.

“When the business can no longer keep up with or respond to online requests and comments, it’s time to have someone manage your social media efforts,” Lebak said.

When considering a social media management company, Lebak said, owners should check references and ask about confidentiality and exclusivity policies for their industry or niche market.

She said goals for social media performance are often based on a client’s expectations and the length of the contract.

“It can take three to six months to fully see the results of social media marketing because every demographic utilizes social media differently,” Lebak said. “Depending on your goals and the number of social platforms to manage, a company should budget $150 to $600 per month for hands-on social media management plus any advertising costs.”

Olalah Njenga is CEO of YellowWood Group, a Raleigh-based marketing firm.