Haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon yet because you’re not exactly sure where to start? Or, have you built out social platforms that you can’t keep up with?
In either scenario, you may consider hiring a social media consultant. Having someone else on deck to create a targeted social media strategy and provide extra hands for creating and posting content may be exactly what you need to build successful social media platforms. I know I did. I had platforms that I knew were important to post content on, but never had that time to create a post or even know what types of posts to create to get traffic coming to my sites.
But before you do, it’s helpful to understand exactly how social media consultants can help—and to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a consultant rather than hiring a resource internally. Luckily, I’ve been there and I’ve got you covered.
How Do They Help
No social media consultant should ever come in and begin building platforms or creating content without providing you with a meaty strategy document (or helping you update your own). This should include guidance on the platforms you should focus on (and why!), what your voice is, archetypes of your audience, suggested content types and timing, thoughts on hashtags and SEO, and how you gauge your success of this.
Some organizations choose to bring on social media consultants to just create this strategy, then take the implementation from there. But if you need a little extra support, like actually creating graphics and finding the time to post this great content, read on.
2. Creating Content
Getting your social media strategy nailed down is one thing. Creating unique, compelling content every day? That can be a whole different beast. If you don’t have the resources internally, social media consultants can create that content for you—whether it’s YouTube videos, Instagram pics, or blog posts—and deliver it daily, weekly or monthly based on your needs.
3. Posting Content
Most social media consultants offer a tiered approach to helping their clients. The full service package usually includes building a social media strategy, creating content, and then posting it on your behalf. If you’re strapped for time and eager to build your social media platforms efficiently, this could be a great option.
How many visitors is your Facebook page driving to your website? What’s the increase in engagement on your Instagram? Social media consultants can help you weed through Google Analytics data (and set you up with other great analytics tools!) so you can best measure—and promote—your social media victories. And while providing analytics certainly rounds out a full service offering, this is reason enough on its own to hire a social media consultant. Just make sure the analytics come in easily digestible, nicely designed reports that you (and your key stakeholders) can understand and use.
Pros and Cons
Hiring a social media consultant can (and should!) greatly improve your social media offering while saving you time. So why hesitate? Because, in some cases, you might be better off hiring a resource internally. Before you do any of the above, ask yourself these questions:
1. Why Do I Want to Create, Tweak, or Enhance my Social Strategy?
Is it to raise brand awareness within the next year? Hit certain traffic numbers in the next three months? Or work through a social media crisis in the next week? The more aggressive your reasoning, the better is it to bring in a social media consultant—and fast!
2. What Financial Resources do I Have to Put Toward Social Media?
If you have enough to pay a mid- to high-level internal resource, that’s probably your best bet. One of the only downsides to bringing in consultants is that they’re not living and breathing your brand every day. Having a person sit in your morning meetings, engage with your audience on a daily basis, and be privy to internal and external conversations will only make your platforms stronger.
3. Where do I Need the Most Help?
The must-have social media platforms are certainly changing, but it doesn’t seem like social media as a whole is going away anytime soon. If you need the full suite of services—strategy, content creation, content posting, and analytics—you’ll likely pay less to hire someone internally than you would to hire a consultant to do all of that work for you. However, if you just need guidance on getting your platforms off the ground, or you need some help creating content but are available to post and promote it, a social media consultant could quickly and effectively elevate your platforms.
If you do decide to hire a social media consultant, here’s one last thing to consider: What’s this person’s background? Is it in marketing? Journalism? Data? Understanding what brought someone to social media will be helpful in evaluating the best candidate for your company. For example, if you really just need help sifting through the analytics, bringing in a social media consultant who’s heavily focused on creating content probably isn’t the way to go. But bringing in a consultant with a background in performance marketing? Now we’re talking.
4. Social Media Takes Time
As a client, do not expect to see results right away. The first step is getting on social media, but realize that it takes time to build a community. Be prepared to devote at least six months on your social media strategy to see results. Your audience needs to be engaged with your brand, so be prepared to give them quality content, tips and news they can use -- all information that appeals to your customer base.
Just remember that this is your brand and your business. You know your current clients and may or may not know what clients you want to bring on, which a consultant can help with. Make sure to always stay in contact with them and know in which direction your business is going, this will make a seamless transition when bringing on a social media coordinator into your business.
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