How To Choose a Social Media Consultant

Social Media Consultant

Image from Esthr via Flickr

Before I talk about tips in selecting a social media consultant, the question should be asked; should you even be outsourcing my company’s social media efforts?

The short answer is no. But it’s not that simple.  For many companies, social media still seems to be a foreign concept.  But according to MC Hammer it shouldn’t, because social media “is just an extension of what we do naturally.”

Would you send a friend to a party to talk on your behalf? No, and the same is true for social media.  While you may need a consultant to help develop strategy, provide training and build campaigns, you never want to use consultants to provide messaging on your behalf. It just isn’t authentic.  Just because a social media consultant may be more knowledgable and have more experience, doesn’t mean there will not be mistakes.  Take for example the blogging mistake done by a PR company for Wal-Mart. Make sure you do your homework before choosing a social media consultant and that their ideas won’t be disastrous, it is your company after all.

So if you need to hire a social media consultant, here are a few points to consider:

  • Do they engage their clients using social media?
    If their social media accounts are grossly outdated, run away.
  • Do they talk strictly about increasing your fans or followers?
    While the number of fans or followers does impact your reach, it doesn’t qualify as success or even a valuable metric.
  • Is their idea of strategy simply suggesting best practices?
    Together, best practices help ensure success.  They are  not to be mistaken as true strategy.
  • Can they provide examples of social media campaigns they worked on?
    Talking about all the right things to do and demonstrating they work are different. If they can’t prove practical experience, don’t waste your time.  Your business is too important.
  • Do they call themselves an ‘expert’ or ‘guru’?
    I read in the book, UnMarketing, that you cannot call yourself an expert.  Only others can and then they tell others. The minute you call yourself an expert is the minute you admit there is nothing more to learn. Stay away from social media ‘experts’ or ‘gurus.’
  • What do others say about them?
    Use the tools they are trying to help you with and ask about them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.  If you get a positive reply, they may be worth a shot.

If you are a Lethbridge area business and want to learn more about social media, visit LethbridgeSocialMedia.com; a new resource for Lethbridge area businesses, providing social media education and resources.