If there are two things that small business owners universally need more of, it’s time and money. So when the question of bringing in more helping hands arises, it’s very important to think about your priorities and strike just the right balance.

Today we’re talking about your social media marketing capabilities. We’ll assume that you already know that social media is no longer an optional marketing tool for small businesses. No? Here’s a helpful chart from Hubspot to consider:

Okay, now that we’re all on board with social media marketing, it’s time to talk about who is going to manage it for your business. With tight budgets usually at the forefront of small business owners’ minds, the initial reaction is usually that they’ll do it themselves. But before you start downloading Twitter and Facebook how-to guides, consider two things. Do you yourself (a) have the right personality to be a savvy social media manager and (b) have the time to take on the task?

In order to help answer the first question, Entrepreneur has compiled a list of the 6 Must-Have Attributes of Social Media Managers. Sound like you?

To answer the second question, take a minute to absorb the infographic below, created by Socialcast. It looks at a typical day in the life of a dedicated social media manager – a fairly ambitious one, but still a pretty accurate depiction. While you may feel that you could tackle this day, ask yourself if you have time to do all this, AND everything else you already do for your business.

If you find that you are uneasy with the idea of adding another salary to your budget, consider two things: the gains from new customers that could be brought in by a successful social media campaign, and the dramatically lower cost per lead associated with this type of inbound marketing. If you’re already doing some outbound (direct) marketing, think about how you could rebalance that allocation.

Do you already manage your own online community? How much of your time do you devote to it, and what kind of returns have you seen? We’d love to hear about your experience.

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