Hiring a social media marketing consultant is easier said than done for for more than one reason. First, the one size fits all approach just does not work in dynamic, fast paced world of social media.
Firstly, What works perfectly for another business may be a recipe of disaster for your business.
Secondly, a number of internet marketers and SEO professionals pitch themselves as social media experts.
If you are a business pondering over how or why you should work with a social media marketing provider/consultant, consider the following 5 key points before you take the plunge.
1. Business Goals
At the end of the day, you have a business to be run. And no business is successful unless it generates profits. You MUST have crystal clear objectives in mind about your social media campaign before you start working on it. Are you trying to revive your company’s online reputation with social media? Do you want to use social media as an alternative means of customer service? Or is brand-awareness the primary objective of your social media plans. Once you have clear goals, it’s much easier to evaluate and choose a relevant social media marketing provider/consultant for your business needs. An if the social media provider consults you and helps you decide your objectives then your definitely on to a winner as they are likely to know a great deal about branding and business development as well.
Social Media Marketing can help grow your business BUT it’s not all point and click.
Working with a social media marketing provider/consultant helps streamline your social media strategy. However, there’s a cost associated with it. And it’s not just the monetary aspect, there’s a time investment as well. If you are fully committed to social media, a provider/consultant can help you succeed. If you are unsure and adopt half measures, the results will be half as good. Of course, hiring a social media marketing provider saves you valuable time which is better spent on managing your business.
In-house or External?
Will your business benefit from creating an in-house social media marketing team or hiring an external provider/consultant? For starters, I strongly advise working with an external provider/consultant till your in-house team has developed the required expertise, not just about how to operate social media platforms but also how to use them effectively for your business. A provider/consultant makes you aware of the best practices as well as crucial pitfalls that your business should avoid. Working with a “Been there, done that” provider/consultant minimizes risk and also helps groom your in-house social media team,.
Social Media Marketing Skills
I’m often quizzed about what specific social media skills are crucial to be labeled as a social media marketing provider/consultant. While there is no definitive answer to that question, a social media provider/consultant should know how to leverage the leading social networks including Facebook, Twitter and others for boosting your business. They should also have knowledge in Branding, Marketing and Business Development, after all when you think about you want social media marketing to grow your business. One of the key considerations before working with a social media marketing provider/consultant is determining their ability to measure performance or ROI of the planned social media strategy.
I strongly believe that social media marketing thrives on innovation. Just being able to build an impressive Twitter profile or Facebook Fan page or show people how to operate social media networks isn’t equivalent to being a social media provider/consultant. Unless they have a “wow factor” associated with thier social media marketing campaign, it’s just another member in the crowd. Seek a social media provider/consultant with a proven track record of innovation, it pays!