Social selling has transformed the way that businesses find new customers and clients. Social media platforms have also become an integral part of the marketing media mix, allowing businesses to tell their stories and build relationships with the market. Yet navigating social media can be a challenge, especially for business owners who already have significant workloads. A social media consultant can be a worthwhile investment. Here is a closer look at what business owners need to consider when hiring social media talent.
Putting Social Media Consultants in Context
Many business owners hesitate to hire social media consultants because it requires an upfront cost. In the long-term, paying for a social media consultant now can generate a positive ROI when considered in the context of customer acquisition costs, socially driven sales and time savings. However, smart business owners are quickly realizing that they need to do a cost-benefit analysis on their social media activities. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you dedicating too much time to social media and instead losing out on revenue-generating activities?
- Are in-house efforts maximizing the potential of social media channels?
- Do you have a clear strategy and plan in place to measure your results?
How a Social Media Consultant Can Help You Grow
If there’s room for improvement in your social activities, a social media consultant may be the right choice for your business. Social media consultants have a wide range of expertise and can help you:
- Define Your Audience Demographics: How well have you segmented your customers? Do you understand where they’re spending time online and why? Establishing this basic information helps ensure that your social media efforts are reaching the right people.
- Conduct a Social Media Platform Audit: There are dozens of social media platforms. It is important to understand which ones are the right fit for your business. A consultant can conduct a social media platform audit and make informed recommendations about which platforms will help you most effectively reach potential customers. Conducting an audit ensures you’re not wasting time on social networks that don’t generate results.
- Develop a Social Media Strategy: Many business owners simply update their Facebook or Twitter pages and consider their social media obligations handled. It’s important to stop and ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you building brand recognition? Are you trying to attract new customers? Do you want to establish yourself as a thought leader within a competitive industry? Whatever your goals may be, a social media strategy can help you develop an action plan that leads to specific business outcomes.
- Set Key Performance Indicators: As the saying goes, what gets measured gets managed. Without key performance indicators, it’s difficult to know if your social media efforts are a success. For example, if you’re interested in growing your brand, you could look at new followers, brand mentions and engagement as data that demonstrates your strategy is working. Develop a plan of what you’re going to measure and put the tools in place that will help you monitor your social media progress on an ongoing basis.
- Drive Original Content Creation, Repurposing and Curation: Being active on social media requires a constant stream of content. From written LinkedIn updates to visual content for Instagram and Pinterest, businesses need to have a plan for developing the content. A social media consultant can handle original content creation, repurposing existing content and curating content from the broader market.
- Look for Ways to Grow Reach and Engagement: Actively publishing on social media is only half the battle. Accounts need to be monitored. Social is the key word here, and stimulating engagement requires several activities: responding to comments, monitoring channels for customer service issues, sharing other people’s content and much more. This can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of social media. A social media consultant can oversee this critical function for busy businesses.
What Does It Cost and How Do I Get Started?
The cost of social media consultants varies widely, from $20 per hour to write content for social updates to thousands of dollars monthly for fully framed and executed strategic plans. Before hiring a social media consultant, it’s important to define your budget, goals and how long you will invest to test the results. Social media consultants can be found through recommendations from other business owners, on social media and through websites.
It is important to note that unlike a CPA or lawyer, there is no central recognition organization or even training and credentials for a social media consultant. Take the time to look at a consultant’s background. Speak to references and look at sample campaigns they have managed. Due diligence will ensure that you are hiring the right talent for your business’ social media needs.
Have you worked with a social media consultant? What advice do you have for other business owners considering this important strategic move? Let us know in the comments below or join in the conversation on one of our social media channels.