Once you’ve made the decision that outsourcing your social media is the best fit for your needs, the next step is to prepare to work with a social media consultant. Just like with any vendor, there are certain things you as the business owner need to be prepared for in order to make your new working relationship a positive one, and your new social media strategy an effective one.
Here are the 5 things you need before hiring a social media consultant.
5 Things you Need before Hiring a Social Media Consultant
- To be ready to share your other marketing and advertising plans It can be easy to think of social media as a separate and unrelated function. However, your social media profiles are just more tools in your marketing toolbox and should be integrated into the rest of your marketing plan. Social media can and should be treated as a complementary approach to other marketing tactics you’re already employing. You have no control over how someone will first come in contact with your business, so social media needs to mirror all the other messaging coming from your brand. That means that mailed out coupon code, in-store sale and email newsletter should all be publicized through social media as well as the other ways you’ve traditionally spread the word.
- To be ready to actively participate Building off the previous point…the only and best way to do amazing things with your social media presence is by you actively participating in your social media strategy and implementation. Yes, any social media consultant worth his or her weight can and should keep your social media platforms running even without contributions from you. However, you aren’t going to see the level of social success anywhere close to where it could be if you were communicating with your social media consultant about promotions, events, new products or services, announcements, testimonials, and sending photos and videos. Think of your social media as an online, living and breathing, dynamic extension of your brand.
- To be ready to ask questions One of the reasons you hired a social media consultant is because you don’t know (and don’t want to know) all of the ins and outs of each social media platform. That’s why it’s important that if you aren’t sure how things are going or if something coming up for your business should be mentioned on your social media accounts, you should ask your social media consultant. Do you have Facebook ads sending traffic to your site? Ask how many clicks your completed campaign received. Are you looking at the number of Facebook post likes or tweet favorites you get? Ask instead about how many link clicks your Facebook posts received or how many click-throughs your tweets are getting or what your Reach is. Have you noticed the crazy fluctuation of Instagram followers? Ask your social media consultant about that so he or she can explain that the follow/unfollow game + bot behavior is very prevalent on Instagram. There are a lot of superficial metrics with social media as well as more concrete data often “hidden” from plain sight. Openly asking questions of your consultant ensures you are drawing the correct conclusions about what’s happening on your brand’s platforms.
- To give it time Social media moves fast, but the Know, Like, Trust cycle is just the same as it is in the offline business world. Would you expect your newspaper ad or radio ad to create a significant uptick in calls or sales in a matter of weeks or only a couple months?
- To hold social media to the same level of accountability as other marketing and advertising Building off the previous point, there are actually some great ways to “connect the dots”, so to speak, between your social media efforts and things like web traffic, foot traffic, and direct sales. In fact, I’d say there are better ways to connect those dots with social media than with other forms of marketing and advertising. However, it’s important that you don’t hold social media to some higher standard. If you are questioning the pay-off of social media, ask yourself this: How have you judged the direct effectiveness of your billboard purchases? Or those mailers? Or newspaper coupons or radio ads? Chances are, you didn’t evaluate the worth of those things beyond some basic info like the number of listeners, subscribers, or drive-bys. So why do the direct pay-offs from social media need to be so much more tangible?
If you are hiring a consultant to help you with your business, it’s critical to make sure that you are providing the things that consultant needs to do the best job he or she can for you.