Hiring a Social Media Consultant: Expanding Your Team
Last month we brought you an article on how small businesses can effectively use social media as a marketing and customer service tool. In this article, we follow up by discussing the benefits of hiring a social media consultant or manager to join your team. Many companies are finding that it is no longer adequate to assign social media duties to employees with other responsibilities. Looking for someone to serve as the eyes, ears and voice of the company, businesses are either hiring full-time social media managers or outsourcing the work to public relations firms or freelancers. Below are some of the factors to consider when deciding what type of social media consultant best suits your business.
Take stock of your needs. The first step is to assess the needs of your company. Deciding what type of role a social media consultant will play in your company will determine whether you need an in-house employee or an outside consultant. If you are a relatively new company and need to develop a customer base, your social media needs may be more substantial than a company that already has an infrastructure in place. If your company’s primary source of advertising is done online, you will also need someone who can regularly post content and information about your company. It is also important to examine the types of marketing and customer outreach your company utilized in the past. If a significant portion of the budget was spent on TV, print, and/or radio ads, it may prove beneficial to cut the budget on more traditional forms of advertising and focus those resources and attention on social media.
Shop for a consultant. If your company cannot afford to have someone on staff, another viable option is to hire a freelancer or keep a PR company on retainer. According to Glassdoor.com, social media managers have an average annual salary of $62,000 but charge anywhere from $150-$250.00 an hour. Hiring a consultant who can work on a project or hourly basis will allow you to retain professional services without the cost or commitment of a full-time employee.
Evaluate Skills. The next step is finding a solid skill set in your social media manager. If you rely heavily on social media to market your business, you will likely need a manager who has experience. Often companies aim to cut costs by hiring interns to manage their social media accounts. Although young people are generally social media savvy, it is not always wise to rely on the skills of someone who does not have the requisite marketing experience to manage an entire brand or deal with a public relations crisis. Creative candidates with strong writing, networking, and marketing skills will make an effective social media manager. Always keep in mind that your social media manager needs to best represent your brand to your customer base.
Build a strategy. After hiring, you should establish a general strategy for tackling social media with the manager or consultant. Together you should decide which platforms best suit your company, the types of content they will present, and the overall image of the company. A consultant should also be able to provide you with a well-defined plan on building an online presence and advise you on how to stimulate growth. Another key responsibility of a social media manager is analyzing your metrics. A shrewd consultant will be able to analyze your target audience and deliver information about your demographics. Finding out who your key audience is will aid the company in tailoring the content you distribute on social media.
Companies ranging from food services to software have found social media to be an inseparable and vital part of brand management, advertising, and customer service. Spending resources on someone who can exclusively dedicate their time to managing multiple platforms may be well worth the investment.
Business Insights is hosted by the Law Firm of Kumar, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee, LLC (KPPB).
Bidisha Idnani is of counsel at KPPB, and provides litigation and corporate support.
Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice.
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