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The true cost of not hiring a professional

In just about any industry, there are professionals with varying levels of experience, expertise and professionalism. There are also varying levels of cost for each one of those people.

In the world of marketing that I live in, there is a great divide of people, services, products and costs – but then when you get more specific to social media – I see all walks of life!

I’ll be the first to say, what I offer companies and individuals isn’t for everyone. Sometimes the cost I propose and the budget they have don’t match up. Sometimes we are able to meet in the middle and figure out a cost that works for everyone involved.

So what is the cost of not hiring a professional?

It depends.

If you have a leak and you try to fix it yourself, you may fix it, or if you are like me, you may cause a lot more damage and it will end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

I find this to be true for social media. Everyone seems to want the ‘quick fix.’ The one ‘great idea’ that is going to make them a ton of money, or get leads raining down on them from Facebook or Twitter.

When you hire a someone whether it is a plumber, a real estate agent or a social media consultant – look for a professional.

Look for the person who is passionate about what they do, who loves what they do, and look for someone who isn’t the cheapest game in town. Although cost is always a factor, I have learned the hard way over and over again – you get what you pay for.

My clients pay me thousands of dollars each a month. Why? Because I believe in the long-term power of social media. I believe that social media isn’t a platform to stand on and yell your marketing messages to.

The truth of the matter is that when you hire me, you get someone who knows what it takes to make social media ‘work.’ That may sound a bit prideful, but it has taken me almost 39 years to figure out what I am really good at and thank goodness for Mark Zuckerberg, because what I am really great at is social media strategy.

I believe in the power of personal connections and brand advocates – and those aren’t just fancy words to impress a CMO. Those are real people on the other side of that screen. Real people who want to be treated like real people. Real people who value when a company listens and responds, who sit up and take notice when a CEO tweets them back, and real people who value when there are real people responding to them with social media.

Because when clients work with me and are open to what I propose – it’s pretty incredible what transforms. At the risk of sounding corny – this is where the magic happens. The best clients I have are the ones that says, “Got it Katie – we can do that.”

What’s the cost of not hiring a professional? The true cost will appear in moments that you may never see.

It’s the moment a potential client checks out your Facebook Page only to see that the last post was from 2 weeks ago.

It’s when your customer tweets you only to realize that you are simply auto-tweeting your Facebook posts and in reality, never responding to tweets.

It’s when an old co-worker reaches out to connect with you on LinkedIn to inquire about your business. They send you a private message to only realize that you don’t check out LinkedIn notifications so that message never got received.

It’s the 25 local businesses on Pinterest that you could connect with and engage with and build your brand locally – but they’ll never know about you because all that is on your Pinterest board is a handful of pins that are selling your service.

It’s the moment a potential employee tries to figure out what it feels like to work with you and there is absolutely no personality on your social profiles – no photos of the people who work there, just generic posts that anyone could have put up there.

It’s the moment a mom is completely frustrated with your store because the sales person was less than helpful, and they take out their frustration on Yelp – only to have it never get answered.

It’s the moment that couple who was celebrating their anniversary and just had an incredible meal at your restaurant snapped a photo and shared it with their 500 Instagram friends. Because you aren’t there – you didn’t even know it happened.

When you don’t hire a professional you are missing moments of opportunity you didn’t even know existed.

I tell my clients all the time – there are things you don’t know that you don’t know, and that is where I can help.

The true cost of not hiring a professional is the acceptance that ‘good enough’ is ok.

It’s assuming that you can fix the leak instead of having the foresight to know that the time it will take you to figure it out will cost more than the cost of doing it right the first time.

It’s assuming that photos of your new listing can be taken with your iPhone instead of a professional photographer.

It’s assuming that you can get your car fixed by your next door neighbor instead of the mechanic with 25 years of experience.

It’s assuming that only ‘the kids’ are on social media.

I’ll be the first to say, social media is not the ‘end all and be all.’ The clients of mine that have seen the ROI and are the most successful, are the ones who are in it for the long haul, who understand the value of putting together a thoughtful plan, who value getting the right team, software and systems in place and who most importantly are willing to invest the personal time it takes to make it successful.

Your clients, your customers, your recruits – they are on social media.

They are doing their homework and if social media and technology are important to them – they are checking you out.

So the question is, what are they seeing?

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