A great social media consultant or social media strategist can skyrocket the success of your business.
Or, it can be a complete waste of your time and money.
I say this as a social media consultant myself and I’m fully aware this post may be a bad career move for me.
But so many people hire social media strategists who don’t deliver meaningful results, and I’d like to help you avoid that.
Here are a few things to consider before you hire a social media expert…
What Is A Social Media Consultant?
The first thing you need to understand is that a social media consultant’s job probably isn’t what you think it is.
Social media isn’t a goal. It’s a tactic used to achieve other goals.
There’s a LOT of hype around social media and it’s easy to convince yourself you need to conquer it to succeed.
It’s tempting to compare your followers, Likes, views, and “engagement” to your competitors and believe your social media strategy is a failure.
But your true goal isn’t social media success — it’s to sell a product, create an opportunity, or further a cause.
Social media is just a tactic you can use to help achieve that goal.
A good social media consultant knows the point of a social media strategy is to accomplish a real goal, not to just be “good” at social media.
So before you hire a social media strategist, make sure they can explain how their approach to social media marketing will help you accomplish your actual goals and not just improve your social media metrics.
Speaking of which…
Social Media Metrics Don’t Matter
Once you recognize social media itself isn’t a goal, you’ll discover most social media metrics are often misleading vanity metrics.
If your goal is to sell more widgets, then it’s not your social media engagement that matters — it’s how many widgets you sell.
Some social media metrics may correlate to the metrics that actually matter, but often they don’t.
You can triple your Twitter following, but if those followers don’t buy your widget, then who cares?
That’s not a social media success story, but too often it’s presented like it is by social media consultants who don’t actually know how to use social media to drive truly meaningful results.
Social Media Content Strategy Is More Valuable Than A Social Media Manager
Most people overpay for social media management and underpay for social media strategy.
I recently saw a social media agency’s proposal to manage a celebrity’s social media presence.
It was a fancy deck, filled with detailed plans about what types of social media content they would post, the frequency on each platform, and even a promise to do monthly photo shoots to ensure they had fresh content for each of the platforms.
You know what wasn’t in the proposal?
An explanation of the creative approach to the content, how it would help the celebrity accomplish a goal (beyond just attracting more random followers), who the target audience would be, and how this investment in social media would further the celebrity’s career.
The proposal lacked any real strategic vision. This is true of most social media consulting proposals I’ve seen.
Social media experts are often so focused on social media management, that they ignore the more important social media strategy.
Here’s the truth:
It’s not hard to post on social media platforms (no matter how social media consultant tries to make it seem complicated).
What’s hard is to develop a social media strategy that uses that content to accomplish your actual goals.
Make sure you don’t pay for social media management without a clear strategy behind it.
To help you start to think about your own approach to social media strategy, here’s a tweet thread with a collection of concepts I often share with clients:
Hire A Social Media Strategist Who’s More Than Just A Social Media Expert
Non-social media experience is as important as social media experience.
Since the strategy piece is more crucial than the management piece, look for someone who understands your industry as well as they do social media platforms.
Just because a social media strategist knows the latest Instagram tricks doesn’t mean they understand how your industry works and what your customers are looking for.
The latter is just as important — maybe more so — than the former.
The social media consultant you hire can only be as good as their understanding of your business.
A Social Media Strategist Is An Amplifier, Not A Magician
If your product, service, or creation doesn’t provide actual value, the best social media consultant in the world won’t be able to help you.
Social media’s not a shortcut to success — it’s just a way to amplify things that deserve amplification.
So if you hire a social media expert to help you with it, you better make sure what you give them to amplify is worth it.
Your Social Media Consultant Should Give You A Conversion Strategy
A social media strategy without a conversion strategy is meaningless.
Social media is an entry point. It’s the beginning — or continuation — of a conversation with your customer and audience.
But that conversation has to ultimately lead somewhere. To a purchase or an action. To a conversion.
A social media strategy that doesn’t include a conversion strategy is a beginning without an end.
The greatest beginning in the world is meaningless if it doesn’t lead to anything.
So make sure you hire a social media strategist who can not only tell you how to attract attention for your creation, but also has a plan to convert that attention into action.
How I Can Help You With Your Social Media Strategy
It may not seem like it from this post, but I believe social media marketing is an incredibly valuable tool if used the right way.
If what I’ve said above resonates with you and you’d like some help from me approaching social media marketing in an effective way, here’s how I can help you.
You also may find my 80-Minute Social Media Mastery presentation helpful.