10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Social Media Consultant

LyndonWood
Lyndon Wood CEO and Founder - SunZu, SunZu

Posted on June 25th 2013

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Social Media Consultant

ImageAre you looking to hire a social media consultant? There are plenty of them out there, be sure to ask the right questions to get the best one for you and your business.

How successful are you in your own social media?

I quite often see so-called social media consultants telling us how we could build up thousands of twitter followers or Facebook followers, yet when you look at their own accounts they don't have many followers themselves. Do not get me wrong here, a painter never paints his own house as the saying goes, but if the painter's house is her show home then maybe she should. It is a measure at least.

What do you know of my market?

Most may not know your market, which is why it is important to see if the consultant spends time to understand it before you start paying them. Why would you pay for them to learn after all! See how engaged they are in your market then ask them questions about it to measure how good they will be for you and your company.

How would you engage my audience ?

An interesting question, but for the social media consultant they should easily be able to answer it. Look for answers beyond "We follow some on twitter and some follow back." Any monkey can do that and you do not need to pay for that type of service.

What tools do you use?

There are so many tools out there now and some social media consultants may choose not to reveal the "dark secret" of how and what, which is of course a load of rubbish because all you need to do is Google social media tools and see what comes up. Transparency is key here and so important in this type of relationship. Hootsuite, Tweetadder, Tweepie, Twuffer, Buffer and many more are just some examples and all interact in different ways.

Which social media aspects do you specialise in?

The funny thing with social media is that everyone is an expert, yet no one is. It is still new to us - only dates back around 10 years, which is not a lot on the scale of things. It is not possible for any one person to know all of the social networks, but it is possible for the consultant to identify which one or ones suite your business and objectives, so ask them outright.

How much and how often would you spend time on my campaigns ?

If you get told one hour a day for £1,000 a month, run a mile! Most things you can do yourself, so you are really looking for that extra leap, the extra dimension to assist you developing your social presence. It takes time to build and is a medium- to long-term gain.

What campaigns would you setup for my business?

You are looking for some creativeness here rather than same old same old. Maybe social competition, social gaming or simply social engagement. Test the consultant and ask for examples of work done and check the results and timeframe.

How long will it take?

If you get told "We will get you a zillion connections, followers, friends, links" in two months, again, run a mile. Be realistic about the results and make sure the consultant shares your vision. Just ask them the question and see what they say.

How do you measure the ROI?

This is a great question and one many struggle with. Do you measure by how many friends you have or how many convert to sales? As always it is time times cost times income over lifetime value of a customer. If the consultant has spent time understanding your business and objectives for social media, then they should be able to easily tell you how it will be measured.

Get it in writing

Make sure you get all the above in writing as part of your payment and contract conditions. You want results and the only way you will get them is by dealing with the consultant properly and measuring properly.

What other advice would you give when hiring a social media consultant?

image: questions/shutterstock

LyndonWood

Lyndon Wood

CEO and Founder - SunZu, SunZu

Lyndon Wood inspires business owners to take the shackles and restrictions off their mindset to encourage maximum growth. As Founder and CEO of SunZu.com, a social business network, he is assisting businesses and entrepreneurs in trading, sharing and learning together. SunZu is a global business community with over 500,000 members worldwide. It's about 'Business First'. Lyndon wrote and published his first book Diary of a Fortune Hunter in 2012, sharing 22+ years of his experience in working with and inspiring entrepreneurs. Lyndon setup his first business at 19 at the start of the 1990 recession with zero capital and no qualifications after leaving school at the age of 14. He has built his insurance business Constructaquote.com and Moorhouse Group, a UK top 100 insurance broker specialising in the SME market both online and offline. Lyndon still owns 100% of the business today and employs over 150 staff. "Your earning potential is only limited by your own restrictions" - Lyndon Wood.

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Comments

CT Web Design
Posted on June 25th 2013 at 6:34AM

They should have  in-depth knowledge of the different services

Tez Wu
Posted on June 25th 2013 at 11:56AM

@Lyndon. Great read and some fantastic points. What I don't personally neccessarily agree with:

How successful are you in your own social media?

If I was a business owner, what I'd much rather know is quality over quantity. You stated that 'I quite often see so-called social media consultants telling us how we could build up thousands of twitter followers or Facebook followers, yet when you look at their own accounts they don't have many followers themselves.'

Ok, so your social media consultant or company may only have 500 followers compared to your 1000, but how many of your 1000 followers are targetted by specific geographical locations, services, interests and engagement levels? 

"We follow some on twitter and some follow back." Any monkey can do that and you do not need to pay for that type of service.

Again, the above statement seems a bit vague in the way that, any monkey can press a button...But any monkey can't grow your following by 100 over the space of 4 weeks, naturally, organically (none of this paid spam rubbish) and most importantly, knowing who to target in relation to the business area you're focusing on?


Other than that, it was a great read and you made some interesting points :)

Barrie Le Gall
Posted on June 26th 2013 at 8:44AM

Great article, and agree with most of what you said.

The only question I have is when it comes to looking at the social networks of the consultant, can this really give you a true indication of their performance?

I work with agencies, and a number of companies on a white label basis, so don't really promote myself as much as I could if I was purely B2"C"

Other than that point, amazing insights, and well worth the read.

Ajay Prasad
Posted on June 28th 2013 at 2:20AM

Interesting and informative article Lyndon.

The questions are perfect for hiring a social media consultant. You listed the two questions which I liked the most here.

The tools used and engaging the audience are the most important points to expertise in social media.


Thanks for sharing the article. Keep updating more on social media.