If you are like more than two-thirds of Americans, you probably hop on social media at lunch or at the end of your day.

On Facebook you notice some high school friend has gotten a divorce, on Instagram you get inspired to travel to Bali, and on Pinterest you drool over the “very best” banana bread — no thinking required. Personal use of social media can be a great way to decompress.

Closeup of female hand using smart phone

What you may not realize is that it can also be used strategically to help you grow your practice. But this professional or business use of social media doesn’t usually help you unwind. That’s because it’s work. The good news is that social media management, like much of what needs to get done for your business, can be outsourced.

A social media manager (SMM) is someone you hire to develop a strategy, create content and manage responses for your business on your choice of social media platforms. You can read a much more comprehensive description of what an SMM does here on the job site Monster.

Of course, you can be your own SMM, but there are some distinct advantages to hiring a professional: You will be freed up to do higher value work, and frankly, the job might be done a bit better. SMMs know the ins and outs of the different social media platforms in ways that personal users rarely do.

Here are some of the things an SMM can help you do:

Identify your social media goals and find the right audience

There are a lot of social media platforms out there. Choosing the right ones for you depends on your goals and the specific audience you want to reach.

Dr. Michael Apa, a dentist based out of New York City, has chosen Instagram. He is letting his work speak for itself while strategically appealing to the interests of several different audiences. He reaches 208,000 people a day.

Whether or not a visual platform like Instagram is right for a neurologist depends on the audience he or she is trying to reach. An SMM can help you understand the demographics of each platform and choose the right one for your practice.

Create a successful strategy

Once you have chosen a platform, an SMM can develop a strategy to make the most of it. Based on your goals, he or she will carefully consider what and when to post, and how to respond to feedback.

It is important to remember that your online reputation (webutation) is built, not only by the things you say, but also by what is being said about you. Having an SMM keep on top of this can go a long way toward managing that.

No social media platform is static. An SMM can keep up with changes as they arise and adapt your strategy.

Perform analytics and adapt

Social media platforms keep track of the information on how people respond to your messages. Your SMM can easily track the number of views, likes, and impressions your posts are receiving to see what has made the biggest impact. An analysis of this information will give your SMM a path to follow to create even better content going forward.

Sample Facebook analytics

Each social media platform has its own complexities and can take a long time to master. An SMM has already climbed that learning curve so you don’t have to. Even if that is not an issue for you, running a successful and consistent social media campaign will take time. That’s probably time you don’t have. Besides, wouldn’t you rather use any spare time you have to actually MAKE that banana bread you saw on Pinterest?