Let’s face it. These days anyone can become a social media consultant. There are no formal qualifications needed and there are minimal barriers to entry into the profession. If you were to hire an accountant to file your taxes or a physiotherapist to fix your bad back, you’d of course expect some level of formal exam to have been passed before these people handle some of your most precious assets. It’s just not quite as rigid within the social media world.
But why does that matter?
Well, in a nutshell, a lot is riding on your business social media accounts. Customer loyalty is significantly increased when you have a social media presence, and 75% of companies that engage in social media increase their sales. But given that there are so many self-professed social media experts out there, you need to be extra vigilant when deciding who is made of good stuff and who is merely pedalling fluff.
So what exactly should you be looking out for in a good social media consultant? Here are some ideas.
They Know The Industry And Can Set KPIs Accordingly
The social management strategy for a small business ERP software consultant will be different to the social management strategy for a global electronics franchise. You know that, but does your social media consultant know it too? Having a one-size-fits-all approach to a social media campaign is no good. Your consultant should be well researched in the space they’ve been assigned. Furthermore, the consultant should know where your target audience are more likely to engage (for example, they may prefer Facebook and have very little interest in Pinterest) and set realistic KPIs accordingly. An understanding of how to measure the click-through to conversion is also critical to ensure KPIs are being met.
Furthermore, the consultant should know where your target audience are more likely to engage (for example, they may prefer Facebook and have very little interest in Pinterest) and set realistic KPIs accordingly. An understanding of how to measure the click-through to conversion is also critical to ensure KPIs are being met.
They Focus On Quality Followers, Not Quantity Of Followers
If you’re interviewing a social media consultant and they say they want to increase your twitter following then that’s clearly a good first step. But a consultant worth their salt will also mention the need for good quality followers. This means followers with influence, for example, well-known industry bloggers with a huge fan base of potential customers.
Websites like socialstatistics.com are a good place to look for the most vocal online presence related to your field. Furthermore, a strong grip on Facebook Ad Campaigns and the creation of custom audiences is critical to expanding your overall reach in the right direction.
They Know What A Good Social Media Campaign Looks Like
There’s every possibility that at some point in 2014 you sat down on a chair and allowed another person to throw a bucket of icy water all over you. This was, of course, known as the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ and it was designed by a rather clever marketing team to raise awareness and money for ASL, a charity for motor neuron disease.
The challenge was a huge success and as a result, $115 Million was raised. All that money was generated thanks to one person’s smart idea, and it’s a social media campaign that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. When you hire a consultant, they need to be thinking creatively and should have a list of similar campaigns that have inspired them over the years.
They Practise What They Preach
A good social media consultant will have personal sociable attributes – such as friendliness, a fluent communication style and an interest in the wider conversation. If you can’t even get hold of your potential consultant for an interview, it might be they’re simply not switched on enough for the job. It’s also worth doing some homework. Social media consultants with a passion for their job will most likely have their own blog, a twitter page and/or Instagram following and will incorporate their skills into their own online presence.
They Can Work With Numbers
Many fresh-faced consultants dabble in social media jobs without understanding the maths that are involved. There’s more to keeping up to date with Twitter than writing a few hashtags and retweeting cool pictures. Twitter analytics, Hootsuite, and many other dashboards give a range of complex data which your consultant will need to understand, measure and improve upon. Furthermore, they need to be confident in understanding ROI and implement measurement techniques to prove that your marketing spend is going to good use.
When used correctly, social media has the potential to boost business revenue as well as your customer base and presence. Such a responsibility should not be underestimated, and only the best social media consultants should be considered for the position.