Too many companies try to outsource their social media in hopes that a social media expert, like me, will care about their brand just as much as they do. I hate to break it to you, but no consultant will ever care as much about your brand as you do… even those of us who get paid a pretty handsome penny for our services. When you outsource, you lose touch. There’s no way around it. Out of sight, out of mind.
One of my goals as a social media marketing consultant is to help as many companies as possible train their own teams to take the reins on social media—even though I can make more money doing it myself.
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
I’m trying to work myself out of a job with most of my clients because once their marketing team learns the basics of social, they can personalize their strategy and make it dynamic, rather than relying on a social media consultant to notice opportunities for them.
Sure, social media consultants may have the best of intentions, but most of them are juggling multiple clients. And, unless that consultant cares deeply about your project on a personal level (one reason I am VERY picky about my client base), they will likely promise you grand results at the start, but quickly lose interest. Once the initial setup is done, very few consultants focus on how they can grow your channels exponentially over time. Consultants may settle for paltry growth or revert to using dubious social growth hacking tactics to inflate their numbers.
Most social media consultants cannot communicate the passion and deep subject matter expertise that you yourself can breathe into your brand. And, believe-it-or-not, your social media followers can tell if you care or are putting your social channels on auto-pilot.
When does it make sense to hire a consultant?
You may wonder when it makes sense to hire a social media consultant to oversee social media marketing efforts if most of them “don’t care” about your brand. I’m glad you asked!
- You don’t have the internal resources (manpower and budget) to put behind an effective social media program.
- Your customers aren’t on social (very few and far between, but there are still some laggards out there.)
- Your marketing team is either spread too thinly or does not have the branding experience necessary to run an effective social media program.
Does your company fall into any of these categories? If you’re in the market for a social media consultant, you’d be smart to add these six questions to your list before you shell out any cash.
- What’s their track record? (It pays to hire someone who’s been there, done that.)
- Can they provide any current or past examples of their work? (Some may be under NDA, so ask for them to describe a project similar to yours.)
- How do they measure ROI for the programs they offer? (If they feel uncomfortable with this question, run the other way!)
- What’s their reporting process like? (They should tell you exactly how often and which metrics will be included in the reports.)
- Are there any additional fees or services that are not covered within the retainer/fee? (Be sure you know what is covered and isn’t covered in your agreement. Don’t assume that social media ads are part of an ongoing retainer, unless specified.)
- Do they share a passion for your products or services? If what you offer is not on their hobbies list or related to their domain expertise, you should look elsewhere.
Social media is easy to learn and implement IF you have the inclination for it. That’s the trick. All you need is ONE person at your company who eats, lives, breathes social media (or wants to) to make your social media program successful. Either find that person within your company and get them trained, or find a social media consultant with a passion for what you do.
Bottom Line: Stop wasting your hard-earned dollars on generic consultants who generate standard issue results and a poor return on investment. You deserve better.