A lot of businesses have struggled with social media. They have struggled to see it's importance and understand how it benefits their business. And given the way many agencies go about charging for social media and seeing how they implement it- it's no surprise.
Depending on how someone implements your social media can drastically change results. Social media is not a plug and play solution.
I often see small businesses struggle because they know they need social media so they hire someone that often charges an arm and a leg to implement a social strategy.
Unfortunately, this strategy often falls flat of producing results. Here are 7 questions to ask a social media consultant before you hire them:
- How do you manage your own social media accounts?
This is always a good place to start. Look at their own personal social media accounts. How are they managing them? What platforms are they on? How often do they post? Take some notes and then ask them.
- What do your clients say about working with you?
Check out their website. Are their statistics and testimonials from clients? Can you talk to one of them for a reference? This is REALLY important. You're going to be working with this person closely and this person is going to be communicating the messages of your business. You need to be able to work with them.
- How are you going to help me differentiate from the competition?
This is a good one. The answer will obviously vary from business to business, but one thing you should be looking for is the word "engagement." So many marketers and small businesses aren't taking advantage of social media to continuously engage with their target audience. A good marketer will know this.
- How do you handle one-on-one engagement?
This is a great follow up to the previous question. A social media consultant should definitely have one-on-one engagement with your target audience as a part of their program. Knowing how that will role out is important. How often will they respond? Once a day? Once a week? What's an acceptable number for you and your business?
But engaging with your audience and building trust does get people to at least listen. THAT's when you can start to tell them the benefits of your business vs. someone else's.
- Are my objectives realistic?
This is a good way for the two of you to get on the same page. And if your objectives are outlandish, you should hope they give you some guidance on that. Someone who promises you all your social media wishes and dreams can come true in just a few months and seems a little too good to be true- probably is. Plus- they're the expert. They should be able to look at where you currently are with your social marketing efforts and provide realistic objectives.
- What types of content will you post? How will you get it?
This system should be clear right out the gate. Your consultant will need to have engaging photos and content that accurately represents your brand and your business. Do you have brand guidelines you want to share? Or do you need to have several meetings to catch them up to speed on your business and what you'd like to have posted about your business?
- What's a good anecdote you would use to describe social media?
Okay this one isn't as important and is a little silly- but still- can be very informative. Whoever you are hiring to be your social media consultant should feel confident and comfortable understanding their industry. They should be able to easily convey that bigger picture in a clear anecdote that appeals to you.
Here's one I use:
To me, social media is like a dive bar. Why do people love dive bars? Because they're unpretentious. There's usually a good mix of people there. You don't have to be a specific type of person to "fit in." There are regulars. The bartender remembers your drink and gives you a free round every once and a while because you're a good tipper. There's a sense of comfort, of trust, even of home.
Think of everyone's social media accounts will be like a different dive bar. That's where you get to create special types of content for your audience. You want to create a place your audience can trust and can feel comfortable in. Trust, after all, is key to selling.