A large part of marketing these days is inbound marketing, or attracting customers to your business. Not only is this cheaper than paying for a large advertising campaign, it's also proven to be more effective. So most people, especially small business owners, are seeing the value in things like blogging, email marketing and social media. It's a no-brainer.
However, most small businesses don't have the time to do all of the above on top of running a successful business. That's normal. And my advice is to not take too much on! Be honest with yourself. Putting in a ton of extra hours to learn best practices of all of the above can take a tremendous amount of time, on top of actually doing it. You need to be very analytical and in-tuned to how your audience is responding to each platform and, again, that's in addition to creating the content and putting it out there in the first place.
It's a lot more critical thinking than some think. That's why hiring an intern or outsourcing one or all of these marketing tasks is a common practice. However, many people are left asking themselves, "Should I outsource my social media or my blogging?"
These tend to be the two biggest inbound marketing tactics small business are looking to outsource. They know they need good social media to get their brand and their content out there and they know they need good blog posts to be found by search engines for those looking for their products or services.
Instead of telling you which to invest in, I'm going to give you some pros and cons of each that I have personally encountered.
Pros to Outsourcing Blogging:
Saves you a ton of time. I'm lucky; I love to write. If I had the time I would blog all day, every day. I know that is a rarity. A lot of people can't stand writing and can find it difficult and super time consuming, therefore, it makes sense to outsource your blogging to free up your time.
You have to blog to get ranked on Google. Typically, as a small business you are hoping that people will find your business online. That's not going to happen unless your website is coming up for targeted keywords. That's not going to happen without an SEO and blogging strategy in place. You have to blog and outsourcing is a way to guarantee it gets done. Of course it's not the only way.
Cons to Outsourcing Blogging
If you have very specific, and niche content it might be hard to find someone who is an expert. Additionally it might be hard to find someone who can write the right content for the right price.
Your brand can get lost. Everyone has their own unique writing style and brand representation. While some small businesses may have brand and editorial guidelines, a lot of them don't. For those that don't, your brand can be a tricky thing for a hired blogger to pinpoint, especially when that hired blogger probably has several other clients with different tones and writing styles.
Pros to Outsourcing Social Media
Social media can be time consuming. I am not an advocate for being on every social media platform. I think you need to find what works and go with it. That being said, social media still takes up a lot of time to do right. While you can sit down and schedule out your social media posts for the week, it can take some time and often requires you to force creativity. Because it takes some time and brain power, a lot of people won't actually get to their social media posting. Are you one of those people?
The people you outsource to will know little tricks you may not. There can be a lot to tackle when it comes to social media. Platforms are constantly making updates and little tweaks to help you run better social media accounts. However, staying up to date on all the little tricks and tips out there can be an overwhelming task in itself. Typically, when you hire someone who implements social media marketing for a profession, they will be on top of all these little tips and tricks. Or at least they should be.
It's easier to transition your brand. I've found that it's much easier to pick up on a clients' brand and tone from content they write and transcend that into their social media accounts vs. the other way around.
You have someone on your social media accounts responding in real time, or at least bringing it to your attention in real time, 24/7. This is incredibly important. According to Jay Baer, 42% of consumers complaining on social media expect a response within an hour.
Cons to Outsourcing Social Media
Lack of personal connection with the customer. If you do hire someone to respond to customer complaints and interactions, you may miss out on some important insight and trends from your customers.
You won't be learning how to best use social media for your audience. Personally, I'm a huge fan of knowing how things work, especially when it comes to communicating my brand to people. While learning how to communicate with your audience on social media may take time, it may prove to be beneficial in the long run.
Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to tell you what you should invest in, and obviously it's going to be different for each company. But what's important is to focus on what your objective is for hiring someone in the first place. Typically, if you are trying to attract more customers to your site and don't have a large social media following, you will want to focus your efforts on blogging. If you already have a steady stream of customers and want to work on getting them relevant content but also delighting them at all times, you will want to focus on social media.
If you are just starting out, here's my advice: Take the time to blog and outsource your social media. Why? I have found that it's easier to hire for social media and hire someone who can do it well. They will be able to pick up your tone and brand in the content you write. If you miss a blog post a week it's not as noticeable (most people won't be following your blog ) but if you miss a week of social media, it goes a little more noticed. Then, you can learn how to "do social media" at your own pace yourself and either bring it in house later on down the line or just keep outsourcing it for the convenience.
How do you answer the question, 'Should I outsource my social media or my blogging?' What do YOU choose to outsource, if anything? Why?