We’ve all seen them – the bad spelling, the passive-aggressive status updates, the online emotional breakdowns… With nearly seventy percent of Americans being connected to social media and similar numbers in the rest of the world, social media is driven by people. But just because your Aunt Margaret post incessant updates about… well, everything, and just because all her friends compulsively like or react to every post doesn’t mean she’s an expert social media marketer.
We’re often asked for advice on how to hire a social media specialist, so we’ve come up with a few Do’s and Don’ts that will help you choose the right partner.
All You Need is Social Media
Marketing today is much more complex than it was twenty years ago. Where you used to get by perfectly well with printed flyers, posters and a few local radio ads, any company without an online presence today is going to suffer for it.
Do: Invest wisely in your social media strategy. It pays to hire someone to do social media who understands the medium well.
Don’t: Believe a social media marketer who tells you social media is all you need. They’re promising something they can’t deliver, because even though social media can be an important part of your brand identity, it should form part of your marketing and advertising strategy, not replace it.
The most experienced team in the world
Aunt Margaret has tons of social media experience. She posts to Facebook every day, has a rather unique Instagram account and even occasionally sells something on her Etsy store. She has plenty of social media experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean she is qualified to run your company social media accounts.
Do: Hire a social media consultant who has a clear plan, strategy and understanding of your industry. Look for a social media specialist who has a clear track record of effective strategies.
Don’t: Take their stated experience at face value. Just because someone says they have ten years’ experience doesn’t mean they do – they could have ten people with one year’s experience each. And, like with Aunt Margaret, just because someone posts thirty times a day, doesn’t mean they’re engaging with their followers, or generating any real interest.
You have 10,000 followers!
Of course you want people to follow your social media accounts. That’s what they’re there for. Zero followers equal zero engagement. But just having thousands of followers doesn’t mean your social media strategy is working.
Do: Ask to see numbers… engagement numbers. It’s much more effective to have 500 followers who actively engage with you on social media, that 10,000 who passively follow.
Don’t: Hire a social media marketer who focuses on quantity over quality of followers. It’s dead-easy to buy likes and claim your strategy is effective, but it takes actual effort and commitment to attract an active, engaged following.
You don’t have to do a thing
Once you hire someone to do social media for you, you can just sit back and relax – or at least focus on your business, right? Well, not exactly. A good social media marketing partner will be actively engaged with your company’s marketing and advertising departments, as well as other key people who provide ongoing insight into the company culture, issues you face and your brand’s identity. Anyone who doesn’t engage with your people is just going to be posting ads – which isn’t very effective.
Do: Hire a social media specialist who embraces and understands your company culture. You need someone who can bring that across in your social media, because SM isn’t about hard sales, it’s about building your brand.
Don’t: Engage a social media marketing “expert” who says they’ll take care of everything and you can just let it happen. Social media is effective when it’s a genuine, authentic reflection of how the company thinks, feels and reacts. It isn’t a pure advertising platform. In fact, at least eighty percent, if not more, of your social media posts should be non-revenue-generating, and should be brand-building instead. That means you need to be involved, because your voice is your brand.
What failures or successes have you had with your social media strategy? Let us know in the comments.
Struggling to find the right social media marketing match? Enter your details below and we’ll be in touch.