The question of whether to self-manage or hire a social media manager is quite pertinent. However, it doesn’t have a black or white answer due to a number of factors that one has to consider. Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that the use of social media by businesses locally is still relatively infantile and is steadily gaining traction. Secondly, not that many people in business are tech savvy particularly with regards to social media dynamics. These two aspects present a wide-ranging array of issues that ought to be considered in endeavouring to answer the question of our subject matter. Let’s start off by discussing some factors to look at.

Cost Factor

It is always the pursuit of any business to keep costs as low as possible. This is much amplified in our Zimbabwean context due to the ailing economy. Thus, despite all else, the decision to self-manage becomes more expedient due to the cost that comes with hiring an employee. The cost aspect is more or less the most over-riding factor that sways the decision in favour of self-managing. A social media manager tends to be a highly specialized & technical job such that it tends to be quite costly to hire such an individual.

Size Of Business Or Operations

How big a business is and its operations determine the subsequent scope for the social media marketing workload. This in turn then makes it apparent whether or not there is a valid basis for hiring or not hiring a social media manager. It wouldn’t make sense to hire a social media manager for a micro-scale business. In my own opinion, you can only start thinking of hiring a social media manager if the business has grown to multiple branches on a nationwide scale.

How Integral Social Media Is To Your Marketing

The marketing methods employed from business to business differ based on numerous possible reasons. Some business due to their operations or target market, don’t even have any social media presence. Some do have a social media presence but only just as a formality. Simply, what I mean is that some businesses perform quite well using other marketing methods other than social media. Some are heavily dependent on social media marketing as a fuel for realizing substantial conversions. Therefore, if social media is integral to your marketing, hiring a manager in that regard might be strategic.

Your Schedule & Workload

Some business people operate their businesses full-time, others part-time. Whichever the case, the amount of workload and the basic daily schedule one has are key determinants of whether or not should self-manage or hire a manager.

Let me discuss some pros & cons of having a manager; those of self-managing are implicit in what I have discussed so far.

Pros Of Having A Manager

A manager is a full-time person who can effectively monitor & evaluate round the clock. This obviously leads to excellent results because this person’s primary role will be to manage your social media campaigns. They will most likely be experienced plus they will be wielding specialized expertise in the field of social media. Thus, they will be most wired to come up with effective social media campaigns.

Cons Of Having A Manager

I already highlighted the issue of cost being the major aspect. Social media managers tend to have numerous parallel like projects running concurrently. This compromises their objectivity of focusing solely on just your social media marketing work. People with specialized skills have an affinity to maximize on multiple income streams so that can be a setback for you.

My Recommendations

Despite common misconceptions, social media management isn’t necessarily rocket science. Mastering the art of social media management is quite easy if one gives themselves over to diligent research & study on the field. I have so far covered quite a lot of knowledge areas on social media marketing which you can access using this link:

Looking at our present local context, I would highly advise that people endeavour to self-manage. Due the prevailing economic instability in the country this whole subject matter boils down to cost-benefit analysis. After-all, the people or person involved in a business has more intimate knowledge of the business and is better positioned to know the exact trajectory they want to take. If one just acquires the right knowledge and keeps themselves abreast with emerging trends they can surely self-manage.

Besides, the use of social media by local businesses hasn’t really evolved to a point where you can now easily find highly specialized & qualified people who can work as social media managers. As a country we are yet to even see substantive social media management agencies or consultants. Due to this scarcity it means if you do find someone, they are most likely going to be very expensive to hire.

In conclusion, as a side note, I would like to encourage people that there is a gap that needs to be filled. Social media management & consultancy are areas that now need serious attention. It’s actually a whole industry that is waiting to make lots of money. It is also now strategic for academic institutions to tailor-make courses solely on these areas. In developed countries it is actually advised to work with social media management agencies. The basis for this being that an agency will have a pool of people focusing on specialized areas that combine their expertise thus producing maximum ROI. Therefore, we need to see the establishment of such agencies locally.