By Samantha Gluck
You keep hearing how important it is to get your business on social media Web sites, but maybe you don't have time to set up a profile and compose your messages every day.
Don't let your busy schedule stop you from getting involved. More and more, businesses are choosing to hire outside help for the creation and maintaining profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites. By outsourcing an assistant for this task, you can get back to running the business instead of spending hours searching for industry links, adding widgets to profiles, and learning how to customize a profile.
Another benefit of hiring what is commonly called a virtual assistant for the care and feeding of the business social media sites is that the business owner will not have to pay for benefits or employment taxes for this person. These social media assistants are usually business owners themselves and thus have a true stake in the success of the client they work for.
What to Pay
It is most common for the virtual assistant to charge by the hour. Rates can range from $25 per hour all the way up to $75 per hour depending on experience, references and certifications. This may seem steep at first, but keep in mind the overhead savings mentioned in the paragraph above.
You may think it wise to add these duties to the duties of an existing employee or assistant. Not only will this eat into the time that the employee needs to complete existing duties, he or she may not know how to properly brand and market a business in the realm of social media. Having a popular and slick looking personal Facebook profile does not translate into knowledge of marketing strategies.
Selecting an Assistant
The process of choosing a social media assistant should not be taken lightly. With the explosion of social media platforms, there has also been an explosion of self proclaimed "experts." Ask to talk to current and past clients and see current profiles he or she is maintaining. The person should be aware of the different online etiquette requirements of the various platforms as well as being up to date on the latest tools and widgets. When finalizing the decision on whom to hire, go into the meeting with a plan. Decide beforehand whether this person is going to simply create and maintain the profiles or if he or she will be in charge of implementing an overall marketing strategy especially for use with these online tools.
Social media only brings value to business if it is authentic. It is advised that business owners come up with their own content and answer questions from "followers" and "friends" personally, but allow the assistant to input the material. Outsourced or not, social media is here to stay.
About the Author
Samantha Gluck has had more than a decade of experience helping businesses better focus their Web sites to enhance ecommerce and Internet presence by utilizing Web analytics, relevant design elements, and marketing campaigns.