Step #1 in Choosing a Social Media Consultant

Step #1 in Choosing a Social Media Consultant

In her book “Strategically Social – A Real World Roadmap To Using Social Media to Improve and Grow Your Business,” Author Jan Hyatt asserts: “I’ve researched many companies that are in the business of advising others about social media strategies and tools. I have been surprised by how few of them have implemented an effective social media strategy for themselves.” So does your social media consultant have a viable presence in social media or chat with a stranger? Have they implemented an effective social media strategy for themselves?

I’m a Social Media Expert

By now, most smart business owners realize that social media is no longer a choice and are taking steps to establish or improve their social media presence. And with social media still in its infancy, the demand for help with social media is on the rise. With business owners busy managing the day-to-day operations of their businesses, few have the time or patience to sort through the growing number of choices, learn how to navigate social networking sites, or keep up with all the tools necessary for building an effective online presence. Most small business owners simply prefer to outsource their solutions for social media to someone who already understands it.

But how do you choose the right person for the job? Telling the difference between a consultant who can deliver measurable results and one who is seeking on the job training requires your due diligence. The marketplace has become littered with people who think that because they know how to customize a Facebook business page or open a twitter account they are qualified to call themselves social media consultants. And, actually, they are … if they are offering their services as a virtual assistant or someone who knows how to build a Facebook page. However, if their use of the title Social Media Consultant insinuates they can deliver anything more, they are misleading their clients/prospects. Given that there are very loose definitions of exactly what a “social media consultant” is or does, a little research may be in order.

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all in social media. What a business needs will vary from company to company. Social media is so new and broad-based, that what works for one business is not necessarily the right mix or strategy for the next. There isn’t a viable social media model that is repeatable and sustainable for all businesses. In fact, even a Facebook business page should take into consideration a company’s unique social media objectives and clearly defined goals (i.e. increase in sales, customer loyalty, brand awareness, customer support, etc.).

When deciding on the right person (or company) to help build your social media footprint, there are many things you need to consider (i.e. his/her experience in social media, their understanding of business concepts and principle, your budget limits, how well you can work with them, etc.). The truth is, there are a host of good social media consultants to choose from, that know what they are doing and can deliver the results you are expecting. Consultants that can not only clarify the noise for you and offer sound advice and guidance, but are qualifying to grow with you and your company when you’re ready to take the next step. So how can you tell the difference?

Why not start with the obvious. Do they have a social media presence themselves? Why not start by taking a look at how they use social media to promote their own business – their social media footprint. Do you find it impressive? Are they using the sites they’re recommending? Did it give you the impression you want your customers to have when they visit your sites? Does it look like a successful implementation? Maybe you should begin the process by filtering out the “social media consultants” that don’t have a viable social media presence themselves. Anyone can learn how to retweet, how to tag, etc. These are necessary skills, but they do not in and of themselves yield business results. After all, would you pay someone for marriage advice if they’ve never been married?