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Tips on how to pick a Social Media Consultant

Group of Chinese friends hanging out together, one man ignoring group and using his phone

Social media is the latest buzzword in internet marketing. You hear it everywhere. Now often, you’ll hear about the newest industry offering “Social Media Consulting”.

The idea behind social media is to help businesses promote their companies and websites by constructing an online “community” through social media networks. These networks are more commonly known as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Myspace, high5, etc…

Because the whole social media marketing concept is fairly new, the ground rules for what constitutes an “expert” are still very vague and many people that are billing themselves as social media consultants have gained their “knowledge” from using Facebook, Myspace, and similar social media tools for personal use. They have very little, if any experiences in the corporate world. The words “snake and oil” are becoming as synonymous with social media consulting as the words “Internet and Marketing”.

So if you are looking into using the services of a company that offer social media consulting then you need to be aware that, as with any industry there are those that talk the talk, and those that can actually walk the walk. Here are a few tips on how to find a good social media consulting firm:

The do’s:

  • Find out what experience they have in managing Facebook profile pages as opposed to just having a Facebook profile.
  • Check into the corporate blogs they have written, again a corporate blog is much different from a personal/family blog – ask for the URLs and or examples.
  • Research the Twitter accounts they have managed, and compare them to the corporate image you want to portray.
  • Have a plan of what you want to achieve from your campaign, and ask them their thoughts.

The don’ts:

  • Don’t hire someone if the have no corporate experience, or their corporate experience is an industry that is not conducive to yours. – If your company sells automobile parts, don’t hire a social media consultant who has only worked with crafts sites!
  • Don’t hire someone if their Twitter and Facebook accounts are not written in a style that will fit your company’s persona.
  • Don’t go for the cheapest option. As with any marketing, you get what you pay for with social media marketing.
  • Don’t commit to a long term agreement. The better social media consultancy companies will work on a month to month basis. This is so that they can continue to “earn” your business. You on the other hand have to realize that – as with most things on the internet – they take time.