While popular culture would have you believe that a social media consultant is a made-up job title, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. These professionals serve an essential function in today's world, working with business owners to help target potential customers with ads, boost loyalty among established markets and manage various social media profiles. And while a small or midsize business may recognize the need to hire such an expert, what separates an average social media consultant from a real expert? Here are three things to look for:
When you're looking for a social media consultant, check experience right off the bat. Has this person run successful campaigns before? What kind of ROI have they produced for other clients? Though a simple resume should tell you the basics about a potential candidate for this position, a great candidate will take a deep dive into their work history with you, pointing out big successes in their past and even things they might have done differently along the way.
2. Knowledge of Your Business
While it would be unreasonable to expect a potential consultant to know every single detail of your business before they even land the job, they should have completed preliminary research on your industry before heading in for a call or an interview. For instance, if you own a carpet installation company, it would be good if the candidate knew about new construction in the area, statistics on renovations in your community or information about income and demographic distribution by neighborhood. One of the essential functions of a social media consultant is to research and hone in on potential customers who are most likely to convert. A consultant who completed preliminary research — or is experienced in the industry — would be an asset.
3. Measurable ROI
While not everything has an immediate return that's trackable you want to know that this consultant isn't simply looking to add likes, followers or fans, but is able to analyze conversion rates. Be sure to understand if there's a standard monitoring and reporting process in place that works for both you and the consultant.
4. An Eye Towards the Future
Forward-thinking vision is essential for small and midsize businesses. Where do you want to be in six months or even six years? An effective consultant should ask these questions, and craft campaigns that work toward a long-term goal. It's not enough to boost purchases in November. Social media consultants should think about how every campaign fits together to reach your business' goals.
No matter whether you're looking to take on a freelance, part-time or full-time social media professional, it's essential to look for these key attributes. Though you might encounter a lot of folks who think a Facebook profile and a four-digit Twitter following make them an expert, true professionals in this industry do exist and are ready to help your small or midsize business get to the next level.