What to Look for in a Social Media Consultant
This is Part 3 of my outsourcing series. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.
How do you figure out if the social media consultant you see online is the perfect one for you? This article is going to go into tips on what to look for in a consultant and manager. The content creation part of outsourcing, like photography, is a little easier since you can see tangible products (e.g. photos) and evaluate fit through there.
The easiest way to find a good social media manager is through referrals. Do you know anyone in the industry who is using one or might know of someone who uses one? As I mentioned in Part 2, I tend to recommend someone on staff to handle the daily management. But if you must outsource, then you should first look via referrals.
Knowledge of the Industry
If you’re going to go for someone outside your company, one of the first things you need to consider is how knowledgeable they are of the industry and if this is important to you. Someone with past experience managing a restaurant’s social profiles might be able to get away with managing a cafe’s profiles. But someone with past experience managing a brewery will certainly only be able to get so far with a roastery’s profiles.
It’s easy to pick out the cafes who are using agencies or freelancers who have never worked behind bar. Terms aren’t used or if used, they’re used incorrectly. The content, if that’s also outsourced, are your standard photos of latte art.
My biggest tip here is to find someone who is familiar with the industry that you are in.
Proven Experience with Managing Business Profiles
I wrote “business profiles” because it is certainly easy to say you have experience with Instagram. But how you manage your personal profile is very different from how you manage a business profile.
Your ideal person should give you clients that they’ve worked with in the past that are similar to you. If they’re not able to give client names for whatever reason, then you should ask for examples of what they’ve worked on. This includes campaigns, growth statistics, and/or engagement rates (depending on what your goals are).
Ask for Analytics
How are you going to measure how successful your outsourced work is? If you want to increase your sales and they agree to help with that, how will you track it? How do they define it? Asking how they define success and what the metrics are for it is one key to finding the right person.
What to Avoid
There is a myriad of things to watch out for when you’re hiring on a freelancer. If social media and metrics are unfamiliar to you, I recommend reading up on some basic articles. This way, you can at least grasp the concepts when you’re on that exploratory call. My Feedly lists some great sources for social media.
Here are some warning signs that they may not be the best fit for you:
- They don’t have a process. So you might’ve had an exploratory call already. What are the next steps?
- Their familiarity with your industry is only customer-deep. They don’t know the difference between a caramel macchiato and a macchiato.
- They don’t ask about your goals. If they’re going to be managing your social media, they should know what you’re looking for.
- They don’t ask for your budget or don’t go into details on pricing. Everyone prices their services differently. Some people have set packages, others work by the hour, and others are custom made. If they ask for a budget, you should give a range and they should be able to tell you if they’d fit into your budget. They should either send you a proposal with pricing intact or give you a price list.
- Lack of communication or lots of typos. Working with a freelancer is communication driven and social media is heavy on the writing. If they aren’t communicating clearly or responding in a timely manner, then you should take it as a warning sign. For me, I tell people when my working hours are and when to expect a response. I personally only check email three times a day during the week and I communicate this in my proposal, contract, and onboarding documents.
- Fiverr or Upwork. Any site that pits freelancers against each other in a bidding war means that work quality drops exponentially. It may take you more time to find the right person through referrals or Google searching but the work is worth it. If you are on these sites, it means you’re valuing costs first and anytime you do that, your quality is sacrificed.
Hopefully, this served up a few tips that will be helpful on your search! If you’re looking for a consultant, my services page is here. I am not a social media manager, though. If you’re forming a job description, I wrote an article on skills that the ideal manager will have.