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The True Cost of Your New Social Media Employee

By Roman KniahynyckyjAug 12, 2011

social media employeeYou may be a Director of HR or Marketing whose CEO has approached you about adding social media resources to your team. With all the attention around being 'social' lately, adding some social media firepower to your team seems to make sense, especially if you plan on allocating some of your new employees' time to more cost-effective inbound marketing activities. Before you go rushing to hire a social media rock star, however, consider the following: 

The $50,000 Employee Really Costs $70,000 (or more)

Even before you start paying your new employee a salary, you should consider the costs of hiring. From advertising fees to agency fees to possible relocation costs, these costs are incurred simply by searching for a new job candidate (who ultimately may not even accept your job offer). Given the hot field of social media, where many tout themselves as an 'expert,' the vetting process might even be costlier.

Once a candidate has accepted a position there are on-boarding costs, payroll taxes, health insurance deductions and vacation days to consider. The aggregate of these costs can push the true cost of your new worker 40% over his or her base salary. On top of all this, your employee may not create the value you anticipated or might choose to leave your firm after 6 months or a year. If that happens, you'll be right back where you started. Employees are likely one of the most expensive investments your small business will make.

Does One Employee and $5,000 a Month Solve Your Problem?

If you're considering adding to or creating a social media or inbound marketing team, step back and consider your overall goals for doing this. What business objective are you seeking to achieve? Brand exposure? Customer engagement? Increased sales? All three? Will one person be able to offer you the breadth and depth of expertise you may need? Will they be able to guide your marketing strategy, code a web page and manage a content management system? What about social media engagement and content creation? Will one employee close the talent gap in your small business?

An Alternative Approach

inbound marketing rockbandRather than just looking to hire a singular rock star, why not consider hiring the entire rock band (at about the same yearly investment). Wouldn't you prefer a singer, drummer, guitarist, and bass player and opposed to just one soloist? Aren't metaphors cool by the way? Whether the funding is coming from your HR or Marketing budget, having access to a pool of resources with a variety of skill sets maybe a smarter move than putting all your eggs in one basket with just one employee.

What are your thoughts? Have you had better success with in-house support or through outsourcing? Do you think one employee can encompass all the social media skill sets you are seeking?

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