By now most small business owners know the importance of social media in their everyday operations. Social media management can require time and a specific level of skill and application, both of which take time to develop. Most small business owners start with the assumption that they’ll manage their social media platforms themselves. After all, how hard can it be? But even the most savvy small businesses will reach a point where they ask themselves if they can manage their own social media or if it’s time to hire someone else to manage those accounts.

If you’re wondering whether you should hire a professional to manage your small business social media accounts, we have a few factors you need to consider:

  1. Do you have a social media friendly personality?
  2. Do you have the necessary time needed to devote to social media?
  3. Do you have the budget to pay a professional?

Personality is the Key

It does you no good to write blog posts, send tweets, or be active on Facebook if your personality isn’t connecting with your audience. No one will hear you if they don’t relate to you. As a business owner/operator concerned with the bottom line, it can be tough to separate ownership from the public ambassador type approach that usually succeeds in social media. Some owners are able to merge this divide successfully, some are not. Know where your strengths lie and know when to ask for help. There could be someone within your company who is better capable of handling these tasks for you, or it could be time to hire outside help if no one comes to mind.

Do You Have the Time?

The time demands of running a small business are all-encompassing. You are owner, operator, financial manager, HR director, and everything else to your employees and customers. Finding time to manage social media on top of that can be overwhelming and perhaps even illogical. Take into consideration the time requirements of posting regularly on your blog, linking and sharing on Twitter and Facebook, not to mention responding to questions and asking for reviews, and then add that all in on top of your regular responsibilities. Can you personally make quality time for these things, or is it time to send out the bat signal?

What is Your Budget?

Small businesses are concerned about the bottom line; budgets are typically tight and cash flow is always a concern. Hiring an extra employee might put a strain on your finances. Can you afford to pay an extra employee part- or full-time to manage your social media? The answer might be “no”, but if you take the previous two factors into careful consideration, there are also scenarios where you can’t afford not to hire someone. You might be able to get away with paying an employee hourly, or even part-time, until your online community grows to the point you could need a full-time person handling your social media. Many small businesses don’t necessarily have a full-time person in-house handling their social media; it depends on your business model and how much business you’re able to generate through social media. At minimum, if you’re not able to manage your social media yourself, find a part-time resource to help you.

Hiring a social media professional isn’t a bad idea, but you should gauge all your options before making that jump. It’s always more ideal if the person handling your social media had working knowledge of your industry, but such experience isn’t necessary, especially if your social media manager is primarily in charge of notifying your audience of discounts, specials, tips, or ideas that tie in to your business. Take our 3 points of managing social media into consideration while examining your company so you can make a choice on what’s best for your situation.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert onLinkedIn and Twitter.