For most small businesses and start-ups, social media is either an afterthought or something managed in-house by an executive or, in many cases, one of the younger employees. This arrangement is often sporadic; sometimes, you’ll go several days, or even weeks, without submitting updates on social media or engaging with your customers in any way.
This type of social media engagement from your company rubs off on customers who ask questions or post on your page. If they don’t get a reply, they won’t continue to engage with you on social media. The only tried and true method to create lots of interaction on your page is to create the conversation yourself and get your customers involved.
The reason is partially psychological and partially technical. The psychological reluctance to engage when no one talks back is obvious, but the technical explanation happens behind the scenes. On Facebook, when users engage with your brand by posting comments and sharing your content, your status updates start showing up on their Wall more frequently. It’s an algorithm that Facebook calls “EdgeRank,” and if yours isn’t high enough, your updates just won’t show up.
Social media optimization, in part, involves getting your EdgeRank higher than that of your competitors, which may not even be in your industry. They could be your user’s friends, celebrities the user follows, or other companies. The user’s Facebook Wall real estate is valuable, and unless you’re connected with them via repeated interactions, you’ll start to lose reach and visibility.
So, when should you hire a social media manager? Right away. Unless you can free up in-house resources to post engaging content across all your networks on a daily basis…and interact with your target audience…you need to consider hiring external help that is professional, experienced and fits your budget.
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