There’s more to being a social media consultant than merely an expert user. Don’t get me wrong – skills are important, no question. But social media isn’t only about product promotion.
It’s about understanding the needs, preferences and behavior of a target group and then offering a unique response to those needs, preferences and behavior patterns. In many ways, it has a lot to do with empathy.
It may take some time, but here are 6 ways to spot a rookie:
- A rookie lacks patience. He knows how to set up a solid fan page and how to quickly build an impressive Twitter following. But a rookie will not take the time to study your followers and provide the kind of content that appeals to them. That’s because engaging content takes time to build and the rookie doesn’t have time. He’s concerned with numbers and formulas not conversations and relationships.
- A rookie doesn’t have anything interesting to say. Of course he is skillful at employing social media tools (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc) to schedule and manage self-promotional updates. But he’s too busy to listen to his audience and probably won’t check back to see if that content generated any conversation. To him, social media is like an ’email blast’.
- A rookie’s content does not apply the 80/20 rule. For social media to be successful, 80% is about giving and 20% is about receiving. A rookie doesn’t get that. The vast majority of his updates are about his brand, his brand and his brand.
- A rookie does not measure performance. Studying and analyzing social media metrics should be top priority for all consultants or page administrators. Facebook in particular offers sophisticated analytics that may be used to capture crucial information about content quality (impressions) and type of followers (insights). These are important to measure the success or failure of the content strategy and ultimately the social media strategy. Rookies are not overly concerned with analysis.
- A rookie does not interact with influencers. Sure he’ll follow them, retweet their tweets and make small talk with them. But he doesn’t know how to capitalize on an opportunity to represent your brand in a positive light that creates win-win situations for both parties. This is a missed opportunity to attract attention (in a good way), generate buzz and build credibility for your brand.
- Community building is a lost concept on a rookie. One of the most fascinating opportunities that social media offers is the ability to build a community of ‘brand believers’. A rookie doesn’t understand that. He believes that by showing up and putting in time, he has fulfilled his role as a social media consultant. Whether your goal is to generate brand awareness or to generate quality leads, an integral part of your social media strategy is to build and sustain an energized group of followers who believe in your brand and are willing to evangelize others on your behalf. When that happens, you know you’re doing something right.
So when you’re out shopping for a social media consultant, remember that it’s not enough that they know just a little more than you do. What’s important is to find someone who understands your strategic business goals and who applies social media to facilitate those objectives.
Have you hired a consultant that was able to offer this kind of direction?