Whether you know nothing about it (which is why you’re seeking help), or your company is growing so much that you can’t keep up with everything on your own, the benefits of social media marketing are powerful. But before you hand your brand over to someone who knows the ins and outs of the digital game, you’ll want to be sure your money (and time) are well spent. Just like preparing your baby for their first day of school, there are a few things you can do to prepare to hire a social media consultant to ensure you get the most out of the contract.
The ‘Musts’ Before Hiring a Social Media Consultant
Have a Plan
Before choosing a school for your child, you researched teaching methods, checked schools’ results, and spoke to other parents, right? Before you start meeting with social media consultants to send your labor-of-love to, there are similar decisions that need to be made. Know what your company’s social media goals and challenges are, what platforms you are currently on and the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each, and who is in your target audience. (Spoiler alert: that last one is the most important because social media isn’t actually about you, it’s about your customer. Knowing who your customer is is key to designing and implementing an effective digital strategy.)
Do some research and educate yourself if need be. Knowing some basic lingo (fans, likes, shares, RT, mentions, comments, pins, boards, hashtags, twitter chat, insights, analytics) will make it easier for you and the consultant. Your consultant will want to be able to talk to you about how well your baby’s doing, and it’s important to understand what they’re saying – and it’s important for you to know enough to check the consultant’s work and ensure they are giving an accurate analysis of the data.
In addition to knowing your customer and having a basic understanding of the digital game, you should also know why you’re there to begin with. Why do you want to be on social media and for what goals are you using theses platforms? Is your goal brand awareness, sales, customer service, engaging influencers, and/or driving traffic to your website? And how much are you willing to pay for it? An integral part of said game plan is a budget and desired price range. Understanding why and what you’re hiring a social media consultant for will simplify your search for a good fit.
Have a Handle on your Brand
Branding strategy is a key piece to any successful business, but especially on social media. Having a firm grasp on your brand will make it much easier to give it a social media voice. Just like your baby has its own unique personality that comes through in pictures and videos, your social media consultant should create content that accurately portrays the brand’s voice online.
What are your brand’s greatest strengths and weaknesses? How are you different from your competitors? How does your business live out its mission? Are you comfortable using humor or posting about controversial topics? The more individualized and full of character your brand’s voice is, the better. A good social media consultant can help you answer these questions and create content accordingly.
Have the Right Tools in Place
With a plan and a handle on your brand, you can shift your focus to the next important step. As far as ‘musts’ before hiring a social media consultant, tools for monitoring, publishing, and reporting are a top priority. Just like you ensure your baby has pencils, markers, backpack and everything else on their first day of school, your brand should have the tools to create and measure results. Plus, since you’re investing in digital content marketing, you’ll want to be able to see your ROI (return on investment)!
Like paper to write on is a necessity of attending school, ensuring Google Analytics (GA) is set up correctly on every page of your website is a necessity for measuring social media ROI. You’d be surprised how many people think their site is set up correctly to track data when it’s not. Don’t be that guy (or gal). Work with a website developer who knows the basics of GA, SEO (search engine optimization), and UX (user experience).
If you already use a content management system (CMS) like Everypost, Buffer, or Hootsuite; let your consultant know. Don’t have such a system? A good consultant will already have one and can set you up faster than your kid can break a crayon.
Expect Regular Updates
Even with all of the tools and strategy you can get, your content will need to be fresh. There are only so many times your social media consultant will be able to link to the same stuff. Before you hire someone, it’s a good idea to take stock of your current digital marketing. Your website is a top online asset that should have key marketing strategy built into it and be updated regularly (hello, blogging). Your website UX and social media campaign will need to work seamlessly with each other to guide your visitors into converting. Consider what other assets you have, like original content and images. Do you have articles and videos created? If not, what kind of stock photos will need to be purchased? And just as importantly, who is responsible for purchasing them?
In addition to new content, you should also expect monthly – if not more frequently – reports from your consultant on KPIs. How well is the strategy working that he or she laid out? What needs to pivot? Are you reaching the intended customers? What’s the quality of traffic social media is driving? Is your engagement on social media mostly with bots instead of real people? If your consultant can’t answer these questions, run away faster than your kid runs from vegetables on his dinner plate.
Do Good. Be Social.
Your social media marketing consultant will be able to provide help with strategy and execution. However, in order to maximize your ROI, it is always a good idea to be prepared for the help. Knowing the traits your baby/brand is bringing to the game can help set proper expectations. The effect of successful social media on your bigger marketing campaign is undeniable, but turning your mission into a mission accomplished in 140 characters or less is no small feat. The more prepared you are, the more effective a social media consultant will be.
Implementing these tips on how to prepare to hire a social media consultant will help save you time and money. It will allow you to provide feedback to the consultant in order to pivot and refine the strategy for the best results. Follow these steps and your company’s grandchildren will thank you!