June 16, 2014

6 things to keep in mind when hiring a social media expert

Social media managers implement the strategy themselves. Consultants build, teach and move on.

Social media managers implement the strategy themselves. Consultants build, teach and move on.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, entrepreneurs, educators.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaIf you’re spending too much time on social media – or too little – you may want to consider hiring a social marketing expert. Your business’s most direct link to customers, social media gives your business personality, voice and – most importantly – reach. If you can’t do it yourself, be honest about your own talents and limitations and bring a pro into the picture. But first, consider the following.

Unless you need a manager, get a consultant

1There are different kinds of experts. Managers construct, implement and maintain a social media strategy. Their services are ongoing. Consultants, on the other hand, immerse themselves in a business, analyze what they have and what they need, and then they teach dedicated staff members how to implement and run the strategy. Once they’re confident that the client business has it down, they – and their fee – move on.

Make sure they know your business as well as theirs

2Social media is about connecting. In order for a manager or consultant to succeed, they have to know not only the ins and outs of social media, but they also have to be passionate and experienced about your specific industry. This person will be the public voice of your business; without intimate industry knowledge, it can easily come off as inauthentic.

Social media marketing can be measured

3When asked about past results, a common response from inexperienced or ineffective social media “experts” is that there is no way to quantify results through hard data, that the medium is too new to measure. That simply isn’t true. Marketing analytics and metrics can show hard numbers.

Social media is a distinct methodology

4Social media is not a new phenomenon. True experts will be privy to enough of the many case histories, articles and studies to have developed their own philosophy and methodology.

Don’t keep it in the family

5Resist the urge to hire your friend who’s really into Facebook. As discussed in “3 Career Options for People Who Master Social Media,” social marketing is a skill. The people who are good at it bring education and professional experience to the job.

If you’re anything like me, you’re bound to have a cousin or someone with a ton of Twitter followers. That person will insist that you don’t need professional social media marketing services. Don’t listen to them. You do need a pro.

You probably don’t need a full-time expert

6Like anything else, full-time help comes with full-time cost. Many great social marketing pros work on a contract, freelance basis. It’s not necessarily something that requires a physical presence in the office. Save time and money by hiring a part-time social media pro.

Social media marketing is a skill – one that you may not posses. If that’s the case, fine – just make sure that if you hire a pro, you fully vet them. Don’t forget to ask yourself if they know your business as well as they know social media. Both are equally important.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers social media and the blogosphere. Follow him on Twitter.
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2 thoughts on “6 things to keep in mind when hiring a social media expert

  1. Andrew, great list to consider. I think #2 can be the most important. You want to make sure that the social media conversations relate to your audience. Just because someone can develop a social media program for high tech clients doesn’t mean they can talk to a movie audience, as an example.