It happens. You know exactly how to use blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks to attract and retain business … only thing is, until we find a way to add more hours in the day, we’re stuck with the same old 24, and most of those are already spent before your day even starts.
So you bite the bullet and bring in a hired gun to handle your social media for you … but how do you know whether you’re getting a hero or a zero?
The good news is, your due diligence has a natural starting point: look at the consultant’s own social media activity first, and if you like what you see, then it’s time for a meeting. And when you do sit down face to face (or phone to phone), here are a few questions to get you started:
1. What did you do before social media?
Much as I dislike the term “social media marketing,” when you’re looking to outsource, it does help to work with someone who has a marketing or PR background. They’ve worked with brands, they’ve built campaigns, and they probably know a thing or two about damage control should it ever be needed (not something we like to think about, but we all need to be prepared for it).
2. How would you sum up your approach to social media?
There is no “right answer” to this question, but it should be clear, concise, and free of jargon.
3. When’s the last time you blogged?
You wouldn’t go to a dentist with neglected teeth, would you? Same with social media: you need someone who’s walking the walk, no matter how busy they are working for their clients. If more than a month has gone by since their last post, move on.
4. How do you stay current with changes in social media?
If the answer to this question involves a book or even a magazine, it’s time to hit the ejector-seat button. This is an environment that changes at the speed of light, and by the time those changes get to the printed page, they’re already outdated. The only way to really stay current with social media is through the media itself: blogs, Facebook, Twitter, webinars, podcasts, you get the idea.
5. How are you with analytics?
I have a confession to make: for me, working with social media analytics is about as much fun as watching paint dry. And that’s just too damn bad, because my clients need it. You need something concrete at the end of each month that tells you what’s working well and what needs improvement, so that you can continuously adjust and improve.
Did I miss any? If you have other questions that have helped in your quest for a social media resource, let us know in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!