If you’re part of any networking group on social media, or even part of this oh-so-wonderful LinkedIn ecosystem, I’m sure you’re aware of the gazzilion times you’ve come across posts that are hiring “Social Media Executives” for my startup. A lot of them are also looking out for Social Media Agencies but who can work on a shoestring budget, say 10k per month ? or max 15k per month …” only if we really like what you’ve presented”. Now let me tell you what exactly is wrong with looking out for an agency or a freelancer on a 15k per month budget….EVERYTHING.

I know Startups are on a tight budget and surprisingly advertising is the last thing they want to spend money on, even though ironically, customer acquisition is their priority. If I had a Dollar for everytime I presented my ideas to a venture who’s CEO told me ” You suggest the budgets” and once I suggested he/she replied by saying “We actually had 1/1000000th of this budget in mind”, I would be the agency with the highest billings in India (and not only because the rupee has gone to the dumps) What shocks me is that even though the budget is a fraction, the goals are yet intact. The ones willing to broaden their mindset usually understand that a rock bottom budget won’t get you anywhere, but in most cases Startups resort to hiring freelancers (who are bloody good at what they do) and assign them the task of Social Media Management for their brand. Whats wrong is that they expect unrealistic goals to be achieved through Social Media management. Now, if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “Why is this guy stating the problem and not the solution then wait. Here it is …..

3 Reasons why a “Social Media Person” on a shoestring budget can’t solve your marketing problems. Also, this is what you need….

Before you think I am attempting a Buzzfeed or Scoopwhoop styled listicle, (reason number 3 will knock your socks off) hold on. I’m not doing that. Your socks are going nowhere. I am genuinely sharing 3 lessons I’ve learned. its just easier to write in this format.

1. Whether its love, war or Digital Advertising… You need a strategy.

social media strategy

So you hire an exec, freelance or not, most of the posts he/she puts up are spontaneous. Okay Okay fine, I know you create a “social media calendar” for the month and you’re very organised with what post is going up when. But to tell you the truth…its a gigantic waste of time. Have you ever questioned why you’re putting up a “Monday Motivation” post on a page that should be talking about Shirts, or kids’ toys, or Laptop covers….or whatever else you’re selling. If you think you’re putting up a post everyday to keep your audience engaged, then I must tell you what the great Fergie from Blackeyed Peas once told me “You’re so 2000 and Late”

Map what you’re planning to do and ask Why? Like I always say in my Saturday morning Digital marketing class in college, Understand your audience. Which means, understand who your brand’s audience is, what they think, how they consume content and finally how they react to different content pieces. Then understand your platforms audience. Why does one log onto instagram? To view great pictures right? Give them that, but make sure its in sync with your brands identity. Now none of this is possible without a good strategy that takes a million aspects and stake holders into consideration.

2. I’m sure Salman Khan disagrees with me on this but…You need GREAT CONTENT.

A lot of my friends and family call me up to recommend them a good “intern” or a freelancer who is good with basics of photoshop. Now they do this because they believe they know what they want to post, its just that they don’t have the time or skill to create a post. Well I have news for you friends and family.. you have neither. My client servicing and media team know how much I cringe when they start throwing random copy ideas in client meetings. The sole reason is: YOU ARE NOT A WRITER. Now I’m not saying non-writers (and I mean campaign/copywriters) should not dish out ideas, but adequate research is important. If you’re the Founder of a very innovative organic Tea Startup, it does not mean you know what to say on social media. Or you may know what to say, but you definitely don’t know how to say it. It takes hours, or even days to write great copy, you need a story-teller for that, and if he/she is going to tell the story in 160 characters, you need a pretty darn good story-teller for that. So limit yourself to giving the brief out, but make sure you leave the writing to the writers.

3. Boost is the secret of your energy (and reach)

organic reach

Are you one of those people who have really funny/motivating quotes or posters put up in your office/room? That’s it. Take a mental picture of that thought. That is exactly what you’re doing by putting up great great content and not amplifying it with media spends. Its great, it’s catchy, its how your brand wants to be portrayed…but it’s only visible to you, your friends and your extended family that comments “God Bless, looking good” on every selfie of yours.

That’s exactly what I mean by you expecting the freelance “Social Media Person” to achieve all your marketing goals. You create content and post it. But whats the reach? Why isn’t it reaching your target audience? Some of you may read this and say ” Hey, I ran a page like campaign but it reached out to totally irrelevant people” Yes, it did. Engage an expert and notice the results soon after.

SO…….

I’m sure you’ve guessed until now, this piece is relevant mainly to startups or businesses who intend to transform their communication through digital in the near future. For bigger and established brands, you obviously need an expert agency (hint:  Admatazz) and of course a great team of internal “marketing people” who can keep sending changes to Graphic Designers and Account managers at expert agencies 😛

I’m sorry if you were looking out for a Social Media person and this has made you think twice, Social Media Marketing is not cheap, it’s just cheaper than the other forms of advertising and marketing.

Until next time…