touchscreen interfaceSocial media has become a critical aspect of every successful business. It allows a more direct and casual form of interaction with customers and enables real-time updates on products, information and services. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t just something we do on occasion; they’re woven into the very fabric of our lives.

Social media can make or break a business, especially one that’s just starting out. By now, nearly every business entity has a position that is responsible for social media management. And while you may wonder who will be a good fit for such a position, there’s another question you may want to ask yourself: should I hire someone in-house, or should I look for a social media pro?

There are many things to consider when deciding who will handle social media duties for your company. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both options.

Inside Job

If you assign social media duties to someone already at the office (or create a new position inside the office) you’ll be able to directly coordinate with that individual. No missed calls or waiting – just walk around the corner and see what they’re up to.  You can discuss strategies at the watercooler and seek advice from the entire staff. As far as negatives go, you may have to train that individual. This begs the question: who will train them? Will they train themselves on the job? How much productivity will that cost? Which brings to mind the other option.

Hire a Sharpshooter

What are the benefits of getting a hired gun? For starters, they are professionals – social media is their area of expertise. Chances are they’ve worked with a wide variety of clients, so they have experience in many different realms. They are skilled not only in the art of social media, but have no doubt familiarized themselves with their client’s apps in order to integrate them within the social media strategy.  You won’t have to train them, and they may even be familiar with Google Analytics and other resources to help gauge the impact of your social media campaign. The drawbacks? You get what you pay for, and good work comes at a price. If they don’t work inside your office, you won’t have the benefit of constant contact. Furthermore, it may take time to find someone that is a good fit for your operation.

So, what should you do?

It really depends on the size and scale of your operation. If you’re a small business and are just starting to use social media as a strategy, it’s most likely in your best interest to delegate social media to someone already working for you. In a larger operation, it makes more sense to have a hired gun handle the work. That’s not to say a savvy social media pro can’t boost a small business; as always, experiment and see what works best for you. There’s a very real chance you’ll experience trial and error. Above all else, try your own hand at it before you pay a significant amount of money to have someone else do it. You will learn something in the process and have a better understanding of your own needs.

Putnam Samuels is a freelance writer based out of Boise, ID. He enjoys basketball, collecting vinyl, and summer greenbelt bike rides