Ubika Dev of Instataskers shares how SMBs can benefit from freelancers for their social media requirements.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you can surely judge a brand by its social media presence; or the lack thereof. Today, it’s highly important for a business to have a robust social media profile. Customers today do not pick up the phone to rant, they tweet @ you. The recorded message on the IVR might say there’s a wait time of twenty minutes, but wait that long to reply to a comment on your Facebook page and you will most likely be drowning in an avalanche of replies and emojis. That is, if you have a decent fan following on your social accounts. And if you do not, then you really do need the kind of help we are talking about in this post!
Social Media For Your Brand – Why You Should Begin Right Now
Typically, the trend for SMB companies has been to start accounts on social platforms and spend time building a community. It is only when the numbers start to grow and prospective and current clients start to use the social handles to message, ask questions, or give feedback that businesses wake up to the reality of social media management. Then comes the running around and trying to build a team to do damage control. The question is, why not start at the very beginning?
Social media today has the potential to go viral in minutes. We have all seen the effect that hard-hitting blogs and videos can have. It can literally make or break reputations. If you do not have the wherewithal to put together a team right away, you can always hire freelancers to do the job for you. This way, you will not have to wait to hire a team – you can begin social media management from the very first day. So, let’s dive right into it and learn in detail the different ways in which freelancers can help you with your social media platforms.
- Strategizing and Posting
A good social media plan begins with strategizing and creating a monthly social media calendar. This should have details of which platforms will be used, the number and frequency of posts on these platforms, and the kind of posts that will be put. If your brand is planning a social media campaign then you will need to have a holistic plan for those days, and you will need to include all your social handles for the promotion. On the face of it, creating a calendar sounds very easy. But when you break it down to daily posts, it can get a little tough to find different ways of customer engagement. A freelance social media strategist can help you with this, and ensure that you have a monthly calendar ready well in time.
Once the calendar is ready, you can schedule the daily posts on your own or ask your freelance expert to handle the daily work. You can keep track of the metrics to ensure that the plan is being followed to a T.
- Community Management
A recent study has shown that brands which engage with their customers as an online community tend to see more brand loyalty (Zheng, Cheung, Lee, & Liang, 2015) from their clientele. Customer loyalty is strongly connected to customer satisfaction, and online communication is an important spoke of this wheel. If you are a small business owner, you may not always have the time to respond to your customers online. But a freelancer can easily do that on your behalf. What’s more, you can hire a freelance expert to work after hours and answer customer queries, thus eliminating the need for you or your social media team (if you have one) to work late nights. Customers love quick and helpful responses, or the affirmation that their concerns are being looked into. This single move could work magic for your brand’s online image and project you as a company that truly cares for its consumers.
- Reputation Building
James E. Grunig, the public relations theorist, says that the best model of online communication between organizations and the public is the two-way symmetrical model, in which both parties exchange information on a level playing field. There is scope for negotiation and the decisions made are mutually beneficial. A 2011 study showed that this model works better in establishing a string brand image than traditional one-sided communication or crafter replies (Lattimore, Baskin, Heiman, & Toth, 2011). Positive word-of-mouth affirmation is a great booster for SMEs who cannot always rely on big advertising to promote their brand. Hiring freelancers who will respond to your customer’s posts without any bias, and at any given time. will up your brand image tremendously. It will also impress potential customers who land on your social media pages and see the positive way in which your brand addresses client concerns.
- Cost Effectiveness
When you hire a freelancer, you get expertise and experience without the baggage of overheads. Hiring a freelancer can be 20-30% cheaper than hiring a full-time employee. And while you may not have the budget to hire a full-blown team, you will always find a freelancer that will fit in your budget. For a small business, hiring social media freelancers can prove to be a very budget-friendly way of maintaining an online presence and garner more customers.
It is highly important though that you choose your freelance experts wisely and from a trusted source. The Indian freelancing industry is still highly unstructured; so, don’t let the bad apples turn you away from the rare gems. Pick your freelancing mates well, and your business can reap the rewards of social media visibility in no time at all.