When it comes to using social media for your business, there are two approaches: do it yourself or turn over the reins to a professional.

There are some solid reasons to handle your social media accounts on your own. For starters, it’s cost effective. Also, it gives you control—you needn’t worry that someone will post something that isn’t in line with your brand’s persona.

However, there are times when it pays to hire a social media specialist to take care of your online profiles. Below, two florists share why they chose to outsource their social media management and what that’s meant for their businesses.

Social Media Is Simple, Right? Wrong!

Many people believe that social media management is simple. After all, most of us have our own Facebook profile, Instagram account, and Twitter feed.
But there’s quite a large difference between a social media account that you use on a personal basis and one that you set up for your business. Your business’ profiles need to be professional and polished. Additionally, there are so many social media sites out there—which ones are the best fit for your business? A social media consultant knows how to research your target audience and identify which platforms make the most sense to reach them.

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Moreover, a social media consultant knows what kind of content works to attract eyeballs—and then convert browsers into buyers. Ensuring that you captivate followers takes more than just posting a few links and photos now and then. Thoughtful strategy is necessary to achieve successful social media engagement, and professionals understand how to develop those plans for the highest return on investment.

Content Management and Engagement Strategies

Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight or, say, learn a language understands there’s a vast chasm between figuring out what you should do and actually making it happen. Another benefit of working with a social media consultant is that he or she puts the aforementioned social media content plan into action. This plan is a detailed overview of what kind of content will be posted, how often, and when.

It’s not enough to occasionally post pictures of your arrangements or links to articles about why flowers make great gifts. You need to engage prospective customers, whether that’s with entertainment, education, or inspiration. You need your followers to remember there’s a human face behind the business. That can be a tall order, but social media consultants have the expertise to do just that. A social media consultant responds to comments and queries so people feel as though someone is paying attention to them. They can dedicate the time to do social media well, opening up your schedule so you can focus on your core business.

The Case Studies

Wendy Rockcastle, co-owner of Rockcastle Florist in Rochester, NY, and Brad Weinstein, owner of Petals and Stems in Dallas, TX, have both had experience with hiring social media consultants.

Like many small business owners, New York florist Wendy Rockcastle started off managing her company’s social media accounts on her own. But this task began taking up more and more of her time. As she attempted to quantify her efforts, she soon realized she wasn’t reaping adequate results. She decided her lack of social media expertise served as a barrier to greater success. So Rockcastle turned to Pauleen Vacca, a former employee who now owns a marketing company.

Vacca quickly ushered in livelier vibe to Rockcastle Florist’s social accounts. She came up with fun and impactful campaigns, including a cutest pet contest, which ended with a donation to a local animal shelter, and a Disney-themed line of corsages for prom, which tied into the company’s participation with Fairy Godmothers of Greater Rochester, an organization which collects gowns, shoes, and accessories so underprivileged can enjoy a fancy night out for the big school dance.

“We have two locations and Pauleen’s professional touch has helped us to present a well-branded, unified look,” Rockcastle said. “It has also grown our wedding market by helping us present ourselves as artists and craftsmen, as well as local experts.”

In Dallas, Texas, Brad Weinstein contracted professionals to give the annual Petals & Stems design competition a more prestigious vibe. He hired a public relations firm that had a unit devoted to social media management. The firm teased the contest for more than six months, introducing new contestants every few weeks with a Facebook video, running a daily countdown in the final stretch, and sharing a high-quality video that featured time-lapse videography and music from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” which had more than 6,000 views. (More than 1,200 tuned in the following week for the video announcing the winner.)

The contest appeared on the nightly news and experienced a significant jump in the number of voters—who had to supply an email address to do so, bulking up Weinstein’s contact list for future marketing.

Weinstein was delighted with “the buzz” the PR firm generated. “It raised our visibility,” he said. “Our social media profile is more polished, and it exposed us to Facebook Live [Facebook’s video streaming function]. I’m glad I did it.”

Social media consultants are quite helpful to florists because they help them share the stunning work they do with the rest of the world in a way that’s professional and appealing. They also know how to turn followers into customers so that your company can blossom. A partnership between your shop and a social media consultant can be fruitful for both of you in the short and long term. The best time to work with a consultant is now—the sooner you start, the more results you’ll see.

Rachel Levy Sarfin
Rachel Levy Sarfin is a Toronto-based freelancer who has written about technology for a variety of publications and blogs.

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