Should we hire a social media specialist or outsource?

Michael Ryan
Hi all, I just wanted to get your ideas on best practices as far as social media upkeep and management. We are considering filling a position for social media management, as well as upkeep of our paid search and other online marketing efforts. One consideration is to hire somebody with a strong SEO/SEM, paid search, and social media background. We have done some interviews for this position and have some excellent candidates, but my worry is one of cost. Do any of you have agencies/vendors you could recommend who offer similar services? Yes, we would probably get less personal attention going this route, but the cost would almost certainly be lower than hiring a staffer. Any thoughts? Thanks, Mike
Tim Lage
I think before you invest in a dedicated Social "expert" you should talk to your vendor about your store's online presence in the top 30-35 review & locate websites. I'm talking about the likes of Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google Places, Dealer Rater, City Search, etc... I think that before dealers concern themselves with what to post on Facebook & Twitter, they should fix the probably multitude of errors on dozens of websites that consumers DO look at. Everything is about the STARS. Consumers make split-second decisions for everything from where to eat to where to get their car repaired based on a 5-Star ranking system. It's everywhere from iTunes to DealerRater. You should make sure that your basic contact information is correct on all of these 3rd party sites (get control of all of them). Fix listing names, phone numbers, incorrect address, etc... Upload logos where allowed, write captivating descriptions, add coupons, etc... Then you can start a process to fix the bad reviews that exist out there for your business. I have a lot of ideas on this one... I don't know your store, so you may have already gone through all of this and if so I apologize. I'm passionate about this. Before you start trying to build your "Social House" I would make sure that the foundation is solid. Most dealers aren't even aware or don't care about these 3rd party sites referenced above, but they add up and people make decisions when they land on one of them. It's your job to perfect your online business EVERYWHERE it is on the internet.
Rosa Luciano
my simple response would be too keep it in-house. No one knows your company or brand better than an employee. Outsource companies follow a rythym or formula that they use for certain industries.. an outsourced company doesn't know or understand your industry as well as someone in it would. An in-house employee could give only your company's social media needs special attention to get it off the ground.
I agree with Tim - check with your vendor and first focus on getting the basic established. I would also recommend working on your online reputation first - when you do a search on Google are there positive reviews showing up for you? If a consumer finds you on Yelp are the reviews positive? These are both major elements for consumers making a decision on which dealership to visit. Once you have this in order, then you can focus on your social media activities on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Good Luck! James
Jimmy Lina
Hi Michael, I've been hiring virtual employees for years now. I understand the dilemma regarding the cost and if the system would work. But, based on experience I assure you it was one of the best decisions we've ever made. We were able to minimize costs but at the same time maximize productivity and profits. Just make sure you hire the right virtual staff that you could trust. If you are looking for recommendations, I would suggest looking at this site: It's where I got my team of Web developers, SEO, bookkeepers, etc. I could guarantee that you could get one at an affordable cost. You can even test them first before hiring them.

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