According to Social Media Today, the rate of social media usage rose by 18% in 2013. This brings to nearly 25% the number of subscribers using social media today. This includes personal and business accounts. Social media has defined the marketing fronts of most companies with many of them registering phenomenal success. With this rapid growth in social media uptake, the demand for social media training and consulting has risen tremendously. Business, individuals, and even governmental institutions are all looking to hire experts to help them in their social media functions.
The question, however, remains, “what do you ask when seeking to hire social media consultants?” Well, there are many professionals out there and they do not come in black and white as many would imagine. You need to interrogate them and establish various aspects that will make them fit for the task ahead. Below are some of the questions that you need to ask:
How well do you understand my business environment?
Competent consultants need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of your marketing niche. The reason behind this is that different markets have different approaches as far as social media is concerned. You can ask if he has any articles, blogs or researches done on your industry to demonstrate his competency.
Which clients do you serve?
Knowing the list of current and past clients can help you in drawing a conclusion about their general social media workmanship. You can sample the clients at random and ask them about their experience working with the consulting firm. This should give you an idea of what to expect.
What is your degree of connections with the influencers in my industry?
Influencers generally help in giving a product or service publicity. By looking at the followership on twitter or LinkedIn connections, you should be able to find out how connected the consultants are in the industry. You can also check their Facebook profiles and scrutinize their likes.
How successful are you in your personal and professional networks?
There is a common Latin truism that says, “nemo dat quod non habit” which means you can only give what you have. The consultant needs to provide verifiable evidence of his own personal success in his networks and how often he updates them. If the firm cannot do it on its own networks, it would probably fail on yours too.
Do you have past work that I can look at?
Success leaves identifiable marks and trails. The same case applies to social media consultancy. Looking at links to previous work, analyzing the portfolios provided and studying the social media campaigns that the firm has successfully carried out should give you a clear picture of their industry experience.
What type of social media are you a specialist in?
Social media is a wide discipline with lots of platforms. You need to ask the consultant firm the kind of platforms that they specialize in so that you get the perfect fit. If you need to build professional business networks, the best consultant would be one whose specialization is in LinkedIn.
How do you measure your return on investment?
Return on investment (ROI) is a very crucial parameter in social media performance measurement. The kind of tools and techniques that a client uses to measure social media performance will inform you about their competence and skill base. They need to focus on more insightful metrics such as conversion rates other than leveraging on followers and fans.
What is your approach to solving a social media crisis?
You need to know how the firm will handle a crisis. Social media crisis do occur and how a firm responds is very important. It can either avert a crisis or reduce the damages likely to occur. The consultant you hire should be well versed in such areas.
Can you give a demonstration of the campaigns you will run for me?
A genuine consultant who is up to the task should be able to demonstrate some of the campaigns and strategies that he will develop for your business. The firm should also clearly show how those campaigns will be instrumental in getting the desired results.
How is your payment regime?
Different consultants have different payment terms. Some may request for a retainer while others charge you for the project done in terms of hours. This is very important to establish so that you get things clear from the onset.
These questions may not completely bring into the open every issue but will go a long way into ensuring that you get the right consultant for your task.
Marcus Ho is a highly sought-after Social Media Strategist who specializes in revenue-driven campaigns on social media for businesses. Well known for his cutting-edge, fresh insights and proven strategies, Marcus has successfully helped over 200 corporations and SMEs to rake in hundreds of thousands within very short periods of time. Some of his clients include Qatar Airways, 3M, PernodRicard, DassaultSystèmes, FreshKon, Home-Fix, Scanteak and Singapore Management University. Most recently, his campaigns have also won internationally acclaimed awards such as Smitty’sTravel+Leisure.