Are you thinking of hiring a social media consultant for your personal brand or your business’ marketing strategy? Finding her can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you are smart with your approach, however, you can attract a credible consultant who can take your social presence to the next level. Here are eight things to be mindful of during your search.
They’ve done the job before.
There are so many “social media gurus” out there who fail to deliver or are superficial in their approach. You’ll gain 10,000 followers in just months! and Build your email list hassle free! can be empty promises. It’s important that you’re aware of and confident in their expertise, so do some digging first. Check out their LinkedIn profile to assess their credibility. Do they have social media career experience in a corporate setting or have they owned their consultancy for a lengthy amount of time? Get a feel for their past accomplishments as it pertains to what they’ve promised you.
Their own social media presence is active & credible.
Use their LinkedIn profile to learn about other social media channels they are present on, and seek them out. A Tumblr page with recent blog posts or a Twitter handle with a growing follower base shows they practice what they preach. In contract, if their own activity on social is sparse, how will they successfully build your online presence? Too, be mindful of the content they post. You should learn something new about social media upon visiting their online profiles. You want a social media consultant who lives, eats and breathes this stuff. That’s how you’ll know they are good at what they do.
They know or are willing to learn your niche.
If the social media expert you want to hire doesn’t know your industry well, he better be willing to learn it from the inside out. Things can go sour quickly if he recommends you set up a Periscope profile when your customers would rather engage with you on Facebook, or if you missed out on an opportunity to align your recent blog post with a trending hashtag because he wasn’t aware of it. If he doesn’t know your business niche, how can he fully understand your ideal customer and make the appropriate recommendations?
They can tell you “HOW” and “Why.”
Today, it’s easy to claim social media expertise. Just jump online, takes some weekend-long online courses and obtain a certification or two. I urge you to be cautious of hiring these folks. They may be able to regurgitate what “reach” and “impressions” mean, but make sure they can offer you insight into how the LinkedIn algorithm works to promote your status update or why it’s important to know when your Facebook fans are online. When you’re talking to a potential marketing consultant, be curious and ask questions to gage their depth of knowledge.
They are transparent about their process.
Regardless of what type of consulting service you’re evaluating, make sure they divulge the details about their process. How do they go about collecting necessary information upfront? How many touch-points do they promise and how available are they for questions during the process? How do they plan to execute and then evaluate the success of the campaign? Be weary if by the end of the consultation, you aren’t crystal clear about their approach.
Their approach isn’t Spammy or Too Cost-Heavy.
If your consultant wants to start you off with paid advertising, make sure you have first exhausted all free forms of social media promotion. There are hundreds of ways you can leverage social media before you take out your wallet. That said, if you’ve laid a solid foundation and want to up your game, Facebook Ads, Buyable Pins or Sponsored Posts can be great options. Too, while volume is important when it comes to content curation, be careful not to spam your viewers. Your content should be rich, high-quality, and most importantly, valuable to your consumers. Be weary of someone who advises you to post too often in one day to any social media channel (other than Twitter) and always exercise a quality over quantity approach.
Also, never trade dollars for followers.
They are focused on the big picture.
A good social media consultant looks at your program from a holistic perspective. She’ll suggest ways to cross-promote your social profiles and show you how your efforts to improve visibility on one platform will not only pay dividends but have a tangential impact on your other channels.
They are metrics driven.
The only way you’ll successfully improve your social media marketing strategy for you or your business is if you know where you started from. A good social media consultant knows this and is mindful of your starting point. For example, your consultant should be aware of the average number of likes your Instagram posts typically garner and be responsible for measuring any changes in that number throughout the campaign. Not only should your consultant be metrics driven but she should know the appropriate metrics to use to measure success.
The best partnership between you and your consultant is one built on communication and a mutual understanding of the goals you want to accomplish for your social media presence. Be mindful of what makes an effective social media consultant, and you'll be sure to hire the right one.
What concern(s) do you have about hiring a social media consultant?
List them here; I may be able to dispel some of them.