There are a lot of social media ‘experts’ out there. almost everywhere you turn, there are people that tout themselves as experts in social media, and who are ready to help you get online, enhance your presence, configure your profile. you name it, an ‘expert’ is ready to help you with your online challenges.
They baffle you with acronyms, have the latest devices, hardware and terminology. They live on LinkedIn, talk on Twitter and frequent Facebook far more than you think you will ever be.
So what questions do you ask them before you hire them so you can spot the social media snake oil salesman.
Here are some strategic questions to ask.
- What influencer programs have you had success with? Influencers are the core of a successful business relationship with the community. There are several ways of discovering, organising and managing influencers. Good social media companies should be able to highlight several success stories for managing influencers.
- What are our objectives? A consultant should have spent time listening to you and should understand your business goals and objectives. Unless the social media company understands your business, it will not be able to work well with you.
- How will you measure ROI? Success is tied to sales for companies. I know social media is all about engagement and relationships but spending hard earned money needs to provide a positive return. Scorecards measure sales. The other stuff is just a ‘nice to have’
- Who will be doing the work? Will it be a junior member of staff, social media savvy but not business savvy? Will it be someone with good business knowledge who can deal appropriately with any crisis that might happen? Choosing the wrong member of the team to deliver the outbound communications can rebound badly.
- What components should be need in our social media strategy? The key thing here is to focus on frameworks instead of tools. Beware of someone who talks about Twitter or Facebook all the time. Often your strategy will be multi layered, multi-channel, with several approaches
- How will you measure our performance? Good social media companies will use a selection of reporting tools and add a manual component into each of their analysis reports. Often the hunch gives extra measurement insight to a bland set of reports
- How do you manage content? Successful companies will tie content into a specific content calendar to align with your product development cycle, marketing or business plans. It always needs to be organised and structured and in line with the organisational needs and strategy. Ensure that the marketing communications plan is also included in the content strategy.
Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.