How to Utilize Your Social Media Consultants

Are you at the stage of incorporating social media into your small business strategy?  If you’re considering using a social media consultant to guide you through your strategy, utilize your consultant in the following ways:

  • Ask your consultants what type of social media consulting they do.  Social Media is such a broad term.  What specific social media do you want your consultant to be proficient with?
  • Ask your consultants what are their 3 major strengths?
  • Discuss your presumptions and goals about social media with your consultants.  (Look at the SMART social media article I wrote as a precursor exercise).
  • Ask your consultants what they can and cannot do with your social media proposal.
  • Once you begin working with your social media consultant, set clear deadlines and times to connect and discuss the progress of your social media.
  • Decide a cost effective model with your consultant.  Will paying by the hour work or a will a fixed contract fee be more efficient?
  • Doing some thinking beforehand and asking your social media consultants the right questions will all lead to ‘a better social media fix’ for your small business!
  • If your social media consultant fails to answer these questions, or doesn’t take the initiative to tell you themselves, you might want to move onto another consultant.

No one size fits all solution:

In the world of social media, there is no out of box solution in which one size fits all.  In my consulting, I’ve come across clients who are completely perplexed about social media.  They don’t know where to begin.  The idea of a social media consultant to take care of it all becomes desirable.  But don’t fall into the illusion of a consultant having the magic wand to make you a one night wonder.

Asking yourself questions beforehand:

It sounds like an oxymoron to ask yourself questions about your social media strategy if you’re clueless.  But even if they are abstract goals, write them down. I’ve seen business owners getting irritated when the questions begin to roll out.  They were pressed for time and didn’t have the time to even think about what they wanted.  Do you see where these types of campaigns end up going?

The solutions that your consultant should come up with you are:

-Where can you automate certain tasks?

-Where will you need a more genuine, authentic engagement that will require either you or another person to monitor and engage with your target audience?

Having a sound social media strategy is not impossible – but it won’t be possible without assessing and asking the right questions from both you and your consultant!

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About Sana Ahmed

Formerly at Mashable, Sana Ahmed is a Social Technology Consultant who streamlines technology strategies for business, learning, and personal productivity. She trains digital users on how to take back their technology and get down to business! Sana also contributes to AppAdvice.com, and works on her startups in her spare time.

  • http://www.TheMarketingSpot.com Jay Ehret

    Sana, You raise an excellent point about knowing your social media strategy. You should be able to clearly define it to your social media consultant. I’ve found most SM consultants are more implementer than strategist. A social media strategy is not just about how many follows and likes you get, it’s also about how you can grow your business through social media. Agree on a defined strategy with your consultant that includes business growth.

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      So I guess the consultants need to be better trained

      • http://twitter.com/sanaahmed Sana Ahmed

        Ramon,  I would suggest consultants get paid training from other experienced consultants.  Being a consultant means you have to be willing to stay on top of your feet and remain updated in the field.  Good training is a mixture between R&D and professional development!

    • http://twitter.com/sanaahmed Sana Ahmed

      Jay, you’re absolutely right!  A consultant must using their comprehension to understand the product and know how to communicate that back to the customers.  It’s as simple as that but finding the right talent to work with takes some time!

  • http://www.invgate.com Amelia Stevenson

    Social media is good but businessmen should give a lot of thought in deciding to make it a part of their life.  Not all businesses can use it efficiently and it does more harm than good.

    Consultants should be honest.  Don’t force anyone to use social media for the sake of using social media.

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      Amelia – you are so right!

    • http://twitter.com/sanaahmed Sana Ahmed

      Amelia, you’re absolutely right!  Social media experts don’t pressure everyone into thinking social media is a good idea for everyone, then better social media best practices will be shared!  Intelligent media users like yourself can really pick up on the credibility of what’s being said on the web!  As a result, there needs to be more “think before you share and type” mindsets on the topics of social media!

  • http://www.businessandsoftwarestrategyforglobalisation.com Mae Loraine Jacobs

    I would like to work with a social media consultant who just doesn’t send me a list of social media accounts she likes to sign up. I want one who lets me understand why. Why should I join Facebook? Why should I be in Twitter? Unless a businessperson finds importance and benefit from these social media websites, all efforts and money are a waste.

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      Hi Mae, I would HIGHLY suggest you speak with Adria Richards (http://adriarichards.com/) or Sana Ahmed sanadotcom@gmail.com 

    • http://twitter.com/sanaahmed Sana Ahmed

      Hi Mae, you’re absolutely right.  To do successful consulting, a  consultant must step out of the user mindset and step into more of the marketing role.  Once you can evaluate a consultant on that level, you can choose the right consultant for yourself!

  • http://www.bossagain.com/ Small Business Consulting

    I always like your blog post because you always comes with different ideas and information. I always shared your site post with my friends. Keep posting and i will follow you.

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      Thanks for your kind comments – Sana is awesome

    • http://twitter.com/sanaahmed Sana Ahmed

      Thank you so much for the encouragement!  It makes my work more worthwhile knowing it was of use to someone!

  • http://www.gowebbaby.com/ecommerce Ecommerce Developer

    The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lot of great information which can be helpful in some or the other way. Keep updating the blog,looking forward for more contents…Great job, keep it up..