Social Media: What’s the Buzz and Who Should Manage It?
Marketing has changed tremendously over the last five years. Facebook, which originally started out as a way for college students to keep in touch with each other, has helped revolutionize the way businesses market their products. Traditional marketing like television and print advertising has taken a backseat to social media sites like Facebook.
Social media continues to dominate the way consumers make buying decisions. According to SproutSocial, 74 percent of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchasing decisions, and Knowledge Networks says 15.1 million people go to social media channels before making purchasing decisions.
With numbers so powerful, why do some companies continue to trust the management of their social media to outside companies? There are dozens of social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus and yes, we can’t forget the dreaded consumer review sites like Yelp.
With such a vast amount of sites and new sites popping up every day, some companies feel it is necessary to hire an outside company that specializes in all things social, to strictly focus on social media. In my opinion, if a company does this it loses sight of what social media is — a way for consumers to speak directly to and about a company. As a CEO or business owner, who would you want speaking to consumers? Wouldn’t you want someone who is an employee, who is entrenched in your company’s culture and knows your product or service like the back of his or her hand?
Considering this, why not hire someone to work on social media within your company? Someone who knows social media and your business, and not someone who manages social media for your company AND five or six other clients?
Social media is instant, and comments made by consumers, good or bad, can go viral in a matter of seconds. You need to have someone within your organization who can properly respond to this immediately. Most people who post or comment on social sites simply want to be heard. You need to acknowledge that you have heard them and not disregard their comments, either by not responding or deleting any bad reviews.
If you hire someone within your company to handle social media, they become an extension of your marketing and customer service departments. They need to know how to respond to customer comments and complaints, just like any other employee.
There are no costs involved with having social media sites, so why not invest the money you would have spent trying to reach consumers via other marketing channels, in hiring someone to manage these sites? Millions of consumers go to social media channels prior to making a purchasing decision. Do you trust an outside company to manage what those millions of eyes could see about your company?
Donyel Cerceo is the director of marketing for Merritt Athletic Clubs in Baltimore, Md.