Hiring A Social Media Consultant? How To Get The Best Out of It

This week we were tasked with training a new hire for one of our clients. This company understood the importance of Google+ Pages for their business, and also wanted to revamp their LinkedIn presence. (Thanks in part to Lisa Barone). They knew it would take more hours to keep additional profiles updated and were looking to save money by hiring somebody internally.

Before we go into the details of the training, it is important to highlight the differences between having a social media consultant and starting an internal social media department. Each have their own pitfalls, but together, you get the best of both worlds.

Immediate Setbacks with Social Media Departments

These are the most common hurdles we experience when helping clients that already have a social media department:

  • Not knowing where to find content within their business
  • Trouble knowing where to post such content
  • Understanding and engaging different platforms appropriately (Twitter vs Facebook vs LinkedIn, for example)
  • Finding industry-specific networks/communities to interact with

And, even with departments that have been around for a while, the common phenomena of social media silos (the sm department becomes isolated) hurts their performance.

See also – Your Social Media Silo X Your Social Media Source [Conciliation]

However, there are important benefits to an internal department that you need to ponder when hiring a consultant.

Obstacles To Overcome When Hiring a Social Media Consultant

These are somewhat obvious, but we’ve had clients fail to understand:

  • Being away from the office (sometimes in a different country), consultants will need a point of contact that is able to provide the resources needed
  • Consultants will need help understanding the structure of the company and who to contact in order to clear proper content
  • Successful campaigns such as live tweeting or a Reddit AMA are extremely hard to pull off remotely

And just to be clear – the obstacles I listed above are not impossible to overcome. They just require more time, which can make a campaign more expensive. So, how can you make the best of both both worlds?

Get Your Consultant To Install Your Social Media Deparment

This week, we didnt really install anything. We set the foundations to what will become a full-on social department in 12-18 months. We found applicants that were web savvy, had excellent writing skills, and were willing to work part-time, at least initially. We had amazing applicants, actually. But that is not about them.

For those of you that are affected by TL;DR, get this: Our agreement with client remains the same – no increased charges. As part of the agreement, we create a plan that suits their structure. They hire somebody part-time, hourly, to execute such plan. They get our know-how, but save considerably on labor.

In the end, we’re still fully responsible for the success of the campaigns – which makes us in charge of the part-time helper. But we save on travel time, because that part-time help can act as an “arm” for us. The company doesnt need to fear a part-timer screwing things up.

Would that apply to your company? The comments are yours – let us know how you maximize your sm department.

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