By Susan Guillory

You might be surprised to hear that a significant number of small businesses — as well as thought leaders — hire someone else to handle their social media. That probably includes some of the brands and people you follow.

My marketing firm provides this service for small business clients, and I get asked all the time how well a third party can tweet in the voice of a given business or individual. Surprisingly well, actually. Just like with anything you can outsource marketing-wise (blog posts, email, copywriting), it’s a matter of working with a professional or company that can really spend time getting to know your brand. And it helps if they already understand your industry.

But is it a good fit for your small business? After all, it’s not just giant corporations that are getting help with social media management. And if your social accounts are gathering dust because you don’t have time to manage them yourself, I encourage you to really think about how outsourcing the work could benefit your brand hugely.

Ask yourself these questions to find your answer.

Do I WANT to manage my company’s social media?

The truth is often, if you really dig deep down, a resounding “No. Hell no.” A lot of business owners aren’t into social media, even if they know it’s the key to finding new customers. And that’s okay. But don’t let your own fear or dislike of social media keep you from connecting with those customers. Hire someone who’s competent and breathes social media.

Do I struggle with managing my accounts?

You may be game to manage your social media, but find it difficult to know what to post. Or you’re not seeing the kinds of numbers you want in terms of followers and shares. If you’re willing to do a little more legwork, you can probably improve your results, but it will cost you in time and effort.

If you don’t have time to spare to bone up on social media strategy, hiring a social media management firm that knows the best ways to reach your customers might be a better use of your resources.

Am I a micromanager?

Do you feel the need to be involved with every. single. little. nuance. of. your. business? If so, hiring social media help probably will make you veeery uncomfortable. And your consultant will hate you.

I’d suggest first of all spending some time learning to let go, because whether it’s now or later, you will need to ask for help in your business. Delegating work can hurt like the dickens if you’re a Type-A micromanager, but in the long run, you’ll be better for it.

If you’re not ready for this lesson quite yet, keep managing your own social media.

Can I afford help?

Before you automatically reply “nope,” hear me out. Hiring social media help can be more affordable than you’d think. For one, you don’t need to hire a full-time staffer to do it. You can hire a social media marketing firm or freelancer and just pay for the work they do. Usually they’ll bid a flat rate for a set amount of work each month. It’s at least worth considering. And if you can’t afford to outsource now, at least you’ll know what it will cost you later and you can plan to hand over the work then.

Social media is essential if you’re going to have any sort of digital presence. If you’re getting in your own way, get help, and get it quickly.