Social media is not a fad. These days, investing time in social media is
essential to a business's online success. For this, many companies are
social media experts to manage their online accounts.
The problem is that everyone nowadays claims to know a thing or two
about social media. So with the ever-growing number of self-proclaimed
gurus out there, how do businesses weed out the fakes and the
Here are five steps to take:
1. Set parameters prior to hiring.
Before embarking on the hunt for a social media consultant, determine
the amount of time and, more specifically, the amount of control your
willing to give your consultant.
Good questions to think about: Is my social media consultant going to
work independently, or will it be a team effort? Do I want my consultant
to be a
creative figurehead for developing and executing social media
strategies, or do I expect that he or she will simply manage and oversee
Answering these questions first will help you decide on the type of consultant you're looking for.
2. Do your homework.
Doing your homework could be the most important step. As experts in the
field of social media, consultants' activity on social networks affords
glimpse at what should be considered their unofficial resume.
A potential candidate for the job should have a strong personal social
media presence, and the person's online activity should display
experience, and contacts gained in the field.
3. Contact through social media.
Platforms such Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great places to
research, find and, yes, contact good applicants. Social media is their
all, so use it as a means for getting in touch with potential
This can also be a test. If, after having contacted prospective
consultants, it takes them more than 24 hours to respond, consider them
out of the running.
You want a consultant who is timely with his or her online
4. Ask about experience.
Experience matters, period. The more references and the more case
studies of social media work that can be provided, the better. As great
consultants know: With every client, results need to follow.
So go ahead, ask for specifics. Has the social media consultant been
able to increase a Facebook page "like" count by 15 percent within three
hosting a contest or promotion via Twitter prove to be successful with
past clients? Again, experience matters, and good results will be the
mark of a
great social media consultant.
5. Learn the consultant's expectations for your business.
Once you've found the social media consultant you're interested in, the
last step before making the hire is to evaluate expectations of the
expert. If the
consultant is as experienced and knowledgeable as he or she claims to
be, then the person will be able to communicate clearly his or her
Social media consulting is not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all type
of job. Each job is to be approached differently, according to the
according to the client—you. If your potential applicant is able to
demonstrate understanding of this, as well as pass all of the above
tests, it's time to
shake hands, because you've found yourself a social media consultant.
Chelsea Hejny is a social media writer at ShortStack. A version of this post first appeared on
SmartBlog on Social Media.