So how do you hire the right person?
=> First you find out how successful is this person in their own social media networks? It’s very important to know how actively engaged consultants are in their own personal and professional social media networks. If they can’t effectively market themselves on social media, they probably can’t do it for you either. Observe them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to see if they promptly and appropriately reply to people who engage them and regularly share valuable content. Look out for red flags like if consultants share offensive tweets, status updates or photos; don’t do business with them.
=> Do they understand your market? A Social media consultants should thoroughly understand your industry and your specific target market. You can quiz them about general knowledge of your market, as well as determine whether they have written any significant papers, case studies, articles or blog posts about trends in your industry.
=> How connected are they to influencers in your industry? Ideally, consultants will already be connected to industry influencers, who can help build awareness of your products and services. To find out how well connected consultants are, check out their list of Twitter followers and people they are following. If they have a Facebook Timeline, scan their “likes” and the people who have “liked” them.
=> Let them share names of they clients? Qualified candidates should readily share a list of existing and past clients. People usually only point you to past clients that they know were happy with their work; so directly calling or emailing their current clients to find out if they’re pleased with their services is paramount.
=> Find out where you can find current and past examples of they work. Ask for links to current online work examples, as well as past portfolio samples, so you can evaluate social media initiatives that the consultant created or played a central role in. Look for engaging campaigns that resulted in quantifiable increases in brand exposure, sales leads and seem suited to your target market.
=> A consultant should be readily available with tools used to measure ROI of for their campaigns, ask for these. It’s important for social media managers to back up their accomplishments with metrics and analytics that quantify return on investment. You want to go beyond simple tallies of likes, followers and fans and actually analyze lead conversion rates. Ask the consultant if they use their own custom tracking methods or popular tools like Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights and Klout.
=> They should be readily available with some social media campaign ideas for your business. Without showing all of their cards for free, candidates should be willing to discuss the types of social media strategies they could develop for you. How would they spark social media actions, reactions and interactions on your behalf to benefit your business? What kinds of Facebook ads, Instagram contests or Twitter hashtag campaigns could they roll out and when?
=> Every consultant has a type of social media specialty. It’s important to be as specific as possible during the hiring process if you hope to focus on a certain social network. For example, if you’re especially interested in encouraging Tweeps to use a particular hashtag for your products, you don’t want someone who excels mostly in Facebook coupon code promotions.
=> How would they handle a social media crisis? Social marketing campaigns backfire all the time as was the hashtag #OccupyMtn last year . It’s crucial to know how consultants would react to a social media disaster, as well as how they would avoid one in the first place. Your consultant should be foresighted with knowledge on how to react to any social media back fires. There should be a policy to respond to negative tweets and Facebook comments.
=> What are your payment terms and are they negotiable? You need to know whether consultants get paid a retainer or simply charge by the hour or by the project. Other payment-related questions: How often are invoice payments due ever how long? Do consultants offer a discount for referring additional clients? Do they require a minimum contract period?