Social media is a central part of everything we do. From scrolling through visuals on Instagram, to finding recommendations for products and services to reading the latest news, social media is all encompassing.
It’s also one of the most powerful tools for businesses. Through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, companies can connect with existing customers or clients and reach out to new ones, all while building positive brand awareness and encouraging conversions. But only if it’s done right.
With so many businesses and individuals on social media, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd and get your business noticed. This is where specialist social media marketing comes in.
Getting the most out of your social media presence means having the most experienced professionals at the helm of your online strategy. However, employing an in-house social media manager can be expensive, leading many companies to consider either outsourcing or hiring a freelance social media assistant to do the job instead.
But what are the pros and cons of using a freelance social media assistant, and is it really the best way for businesses to maximise their social media strategy?
Freelance social media assistants – the benefits
Freelance social media assistants are often highly-skilled individuals with plenty of industry training. To go it alone in the world of online marketing, they’ll need to have a good amount of previous experience, both freelancing for other agencies and in-house. This will mean they have a broad spectrum of knowledge that they can apply to your businesses’ social media strategy.
A clear benefit of hiring a freelance social media assistant is the ability to find an individual whose work perfectly suits your businesses’ unique needs. Whether you’re more interested in getting your audience to engage with well-written posts, or looking for video shares, you can search the marketplace to find a social media assistant whose previous experience, portfolio and skills best match your needs.
Whilst freelancers often require an hourly rate higher than that of a full-time employee, using a freelance social media assistant is actually relatively low-cost. You won’t be paying them for full time hours – you’ll simply be paying for the work that they complete for you. This means you don’t have to worry about stacking them up with work in quieter periods.
A freelance social media assistant will usually provide their services to a variety of clients. This means that they should have all the necessary software and tools at their disposal to run your social media profiles effectively. From content scheduling systems to social media posting applications, a freelance social media assistant can save you from paying for software you would need if you chose to run your social media in-house.
With a freelancer, you also have much less commitment. If your budget changes, you can simply negotiate a more suitable rate or reduce the workload as necessary.
The limitations of a freelance social media assistant
While social media freelancers offer various benefits over in-house employees, hiring individual freelance social media managers does come with some disadvantages too.
The most common drawback is unreliability. Freelancers are typically individuals looking for a flexible occupation – many have commitments such as studying and day jobs, and when the pressure mounts up in these areas, freelance work is often the first thing to take a hit. Additionally, full-time freelancers often have a lot of clients with their own demands. This can lead to freelancers prioritising the clients that shout loudest and can result in sloppy work being submitted if they find they’ve taken on too much.
Another key consideration is what happens when they get busy, or go travelling? Deadlines may be missed, audience engagement may not be followed up on, or you may even find yourself suddenly without them. This could mean that you may have to go out and find a replacement under pressure. This is particularly problematic if you’re half-way through an important project which that particular freelancer has started but is unable to complete. Getting a new freelancer on board may not be too difficult, but getting them up to speed with what you have been doing so far and what you need from them, can be.
The true benefit of social media agencies
For small businesses with very modest aims when it comes to social media performance, using a freelance social media assistant may be a perfectly viable choice. But what if you want real return, performance that you can measure, and a reliable source behind your strategy?
In this case, enlisting the help of a social media agency really is the best possible choice. Hiring just one person might seem like a more affordable option, but when you consider the far greater conversions an experienced, multi-skilled team with a rich supply of resources can bring to your business, the efforts of a single freelancer simply can’t compare. But why, exactly?
To begin with let’s look at resources. Freelance social media assistants often have the basic applications to post to a range of platforms. However, they often lack the in-depth analytical tools and knowledge needed to determine the performance of social media posts. A dedicated social media marketing agency on the other hand, will have everything from analytical software to in-house social media strategists to ensure that the money you are spending is providing real return on investment.
Secondly, hiring just one person, whether freelance or in-house, to manage your social media is limiting. As talented as that person may be, they are only one individual, and they can only do so much. A team of marketing professionals with a wide range of specific skills is always going to be better than just one freelance social media assistant.
Another area of consideration is the level of expertise. When you get an entire team working on your social media content, each team member has their own individual strengths. Some may be experienced in writing content – writers with English degrees, who can ensure your social media posts are well-written and compelling. Some may be data analysts and strategists, with a business and analytical background which enables them to intricately chart the performance of your social media strategy and suggest when changes need to be made to maximise your online success.
When you enlist the services of a social media agency, you recruit several individuals, all at once, who know everything about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s ever-changing algorithms. This enables them to put your business one step ahead of your competitors. A good social media marketing agency will adapt your social media strategy to truly harness the full potential of the online sphere.
The bottom line is, that when it comes to return on investment and overall profit, a social media marketing agency is the obvious choice.
So what’s next?
Whether you choose to hire a freelancer or a social media agency will largely depend on your circumstances and what you want from your social strategy. However, if you’re looking for truly impressive returns, flexibility and total accountability, outsourcing to an agency is the best option.
Here are Greener Media, we possess unrivalled expertise in delivering social media management services to a range of small businesses. We tailor our packages to suit your unique aims and budget, with monthly prices starting from as low as £69/month. With a ‘cancel anytime’ policy, and no lengthy contracts, you will always be in control of your social media budget, so you can work with us in a way that complements your business.
Ready to begin your journey towards a powerful and authoritative social media presence? Register to use our bespoke social media package builder or contact us today on 0333 012 4046 to find out how our team of experts can help grow your business.