Self-proclaimed social media consultants are running rampant! Just because a person can utilize Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms to create a corporate brand presence online, it does not mean they are qualified to effectively direct that brand’s presence.
Below are 3 things I think are important in utilizing a person that can make a difference in the web 2.0 world. Whether you are hiring a social media consultant or a full-time social media employee, keep these in mind.
Innovative—This person must be willing to be internally motivated to get things done. Relying on others for direction is not recommended (although all social media activities should be consistent with and dovetail into the entity’s business’s strategy at large). This medium is unlike any others, and this person cannot wait for others to blaze the trail. The social media consultant must be out on the front lines and try different things to get results and see the ROI on social media.
Strategically Sound—Hire/retain your social media consultant requesting they help create the strategy (and ensuing underlying tactics) and then give them the freedom and ability to execute and get things done. This person must be a good tactician and understand the overall picture but also should be able to help execute (or oversee those executing) in the trenches.Again, there is no silver bullet in marketing, so this is just one tool in the toolbox and should be dovetailed into the overall marketing plan.
Ability to test things, fail fast, and rebound rapidly—The most true maxim I have heard in the social media industry is “make mistakes quickly.” That way, you learn quickly as well.
I have always subscribed to the funnel analogy of marketing. Use multiple marketing mediums (e.g. direct mail, social media marketing, broadcast, print, etc.) and drop them into the top of funnel. Carefully examine their ROI at the bottom of the funnel. Some will be well worth the investment, others will be lacking.
Take those that perform well, and drop them back into the funnel (along with two or three new mediums not tried on teh first pass down the funnel), then reexamine results.
Do this over and over and your marketing mix will become refined with only those mediums that make the cut over time.
Do you find these three characteristics important in an effective social media consultant? What did I miss? Drop in your comments below.