I know what you’re thinking.

A social media manager? I can’t afford one of those.

Hiring a professional to handle your small business’s social media is an investment – but when it comes down to it, you might not be able to afford not to hire one. We’ve all heard about the magnificent marketing tool that is social media, and magnificent it is. But are you really leveraging its power?

Recent data shows that as few as 12% of companies have hired a dedicated person to manage social media. That means a professionally-managed social media presence can score you more than just followers and retweets – it can give you a leg up on the competition.

If you’re still on the fence about working with a social media pro, here are a few vital reasons to make the investment.

A Cohesive Strategy for Social Growth and Success

What does a social media manager bring to the table that you might be missing right now? Know-how. You’re used to wearing a lot of hats and have probably grown accustomed to some of them fitting better than others. For a lot of us, the social media hat is simply too big – we don’t have the experience or knowledge to really wear it right.

A social media professional can create and implement a cohesive strategy to both grow your social presence and leverage it into brand engagement and new leads.

Crowdtap found that 64% of people they surveyed use social media to find inspiration for shopping. They also learned that 40% of social media users decide what to buy depending on what they’ve seen on social platforms.

As far as brand engagement goes, Hubspot notes that 92% of marketers say their social activity has generated exposure for their businesses. And 80% noted their social media efforts boosted traffic to company websites. The Social Habit’s recent study found that 53% of us who follow brands’ social media accounts are more likely to be loyal to those businesses.

Without a planned and articulated approach to your company’s social presence, you’re leaving a lot of potential business on the table.

Someone to Answer Social Communications

If you’ve spent any notable time on Twitter, you know that it’s a popular channel for customer service and support. Nary a day goes by without a prominent brand getting slapped with a negative tweet from an angry customer – what happens when no one's there to answer them and make the situation right?

Data from Forbes showed that 71% who receive a timely response to social media queries are likely to recommend the brand to others. That means having a dedicated person to monitor and answer social media communications from customers, current and potential, can have a big impact on your bottom line.

A social media manager is responsible for being that first line of customer service for your brand. And with increasing numbers of consumers seeking out support via social media (instead of traditional avenues like phone and email support or website FAQs), you simply can’t afford to let your customers on social go unheard.

Consistent Activity and Branding

One of the most important, yet oft-overlooked, aspects of social media marketing is consistency. Consistency of voice, across posts and platforms, and consistency of post type, content, and frequency. The most successful brands on social have clear, defined branding that transcends from Facebook to Pinterest to LinkedIn, and they post on a regular schedule.

After all, if you want consumers to engage with your brand, you have to actively give them something to engage with.

A social media manager will know the best times to post on each network, and she/he can identify the type of content that will perform best on each. Then she’ll craft an editorial calendar that lays out the schedule of content and posting time to ensure consistency.

Social media pros can also marshal consistency of voice across the networks and discern the small tweaks that can help the same content succeed on different platforms.

A New Avenue for Recruiting

One beneficial use of social media that may not come to mind immediately is recruiting. According to Career Profiles, "73% of millennials found their last position through a social media site." That translates to as many as 14.4 million job seekers scrolling social media networks to find a job. The increase in sheer volume of candidates, alone, justifies hiring a professional to help you recruit talent on social.

But BusinessWest found that businesses who sought out new talent on social media also saw nearly a 50% increase in the quality of those candidates, too. And 73% of those companies ended up hiring a candidate they connected with through social media.

A social media manager will be familiar with the cadences and recruiting strategy that will work best for finding and enticing top talent via a variety of social networks. She or he will also have a better understanding of which platforms to use based on the role & qualifications and your company’s culture.

Free Up More of Your Time

We can quantify and defend the benefits a social media professional can bring to your business until we’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day, it can all be distilled into one, primary perk: social media becomes one less task on your plate. Anything that helps free up your valuable time and give it back to your real job – working on the business – is a worthwhile investment.

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We’re curious – now that we’ve convinced you to hire a social media pro, would you like to see content on how to go about it? Let us know in the comments below!