The digital marketing and social media industry has quickly become the wild, wild, west and a lot of people are jumping in the game and becoming “newfound experts” believing it’s an easy way to make some quick cash.
Social media is such an important part of your brand and it’s imperative that when looking for expert advice, you are doing your homework on these agencies/consultants.
Before you decide to bring someone on board with helping you build your brand, here are six things you should look out for when considering to hire a social media consultant.
Now, this is one of the most critical things to look out for. Is the consultant an ACTIVE participant in social media themselves? If all they have is a Facebook page, then no, that doesn’t count.
Every single day, a new “marketing” company from the Caribbean pops up on my Facebook feed, stating that they offer social media services. But when I go to their actual page they have about 100 followers and put out a new post once a month.
Then I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and look up to see if they are active on any other platforms like Instagram, Twitter, etc and they are nowhere to be found.
So I’m supposed to “trust” that an agency/consultant with an absurdly small following, that is only semi-active on ONE platform, and is consistently inconsistent with posting, can provide social media services for me?!?
A social media consultant’s best cover letter is their own social media accounts. Never trust a social media expert who has fewer followers than you. And if they do, then that is bad news for you indeed.
You can’t expect them to lead you to success if they don’t even practice what they preach.
2. CASE STUDIES / PORTFOLIO
A reputable social media consultant should be able to show you examples of the work they’ve done for previous clients. Ask for at least a minimum of 3 previous examples of the people they’ve worked with, along with details of the results they provided.
If the consultant is giving you the runaround and you know Caribbean people love a good runaround, then this is not an ideal person to work with.
Social media is constantly changing and it’s important to find out what the consultant is doing to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest trends.
With the power of the internet, the consultant doesn’t need formal education but if they are invested in their craft, they should at least have an online certificate or two to their name. There are several online programs like HootSuite University, Hubspot Academy, Co-Schedule Courses, and more.
Having a course or program on their resume demonstrates their willingness to explore different avenues to increase their expertise on the subject.
And test them. Ask your consultant what brands in your industry have the best social media presence and why.
True story: I was doing some market research and called a social media agency in Trinidad who had a meager following of 200 people on Facebook and Instagram COMBINED and asked them what social media blogs they follow to stay up-to-date on the latest information.
The person responded: “We don’t follow any blogs, we know everyting.”
Me: “So how do you learn about social media?”
Person: “Don’t worry, we know everyting. It’ll only cost TT$1000 a month and we’ll post.”
TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.
Moral of the story: Make sure to ask the right questions to sniff out the frauds.
4. BRAND PRESENCE
The whole idea of social media marketing is to help you build your visibility online. Someone who does not have a significant online presence, cannot help you achieve the same.
By good online presence, I mean someone who has a decent number of followers on the most important social networks. Someone that you can easily find on Google who has a professional website that is regularly updated.
If they do have a website, does it include a well-written and regularly updated blog with good industry information and insights?
Are they transparent and list out their services and prices?
Business professionalism is extremely poor in the Caribbean and we have convinced ourselves that we just have to take what we can get.
This needs to stop.
And with Trinidadians disappointingly known as “Trickadadians”, it’s even more important that you do your due diligence and make sure you’re working with reputable consultants.
Never trust a consultant with no proven ability to create visibility on search and social media, either for themselves or for their clients.
5. PASSION FOR THEIR WORK
The digital and social media industry is growing in the Caribbean and lots of people are claiming they are social media experts because they know they can make a quick buck from it.
When someone is passionate about their work, it shows in everything they do.
If a social media consultant is just in it for the money, their goal is to do the least so they can gain the most and they won’t help you get the results you need.
It’s very sad that there are lots of selfish and bad-mind business people in the Caribbean who have no problem ripping you off. But if you don’t do your homework before handing these frauds your hard-earned cash, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Hope these tips can be of assistance if you decide to hire a social media consultant to help with your brand or business. What other things should people look out for when hiring a social media expert? Have you ever had a bad experience with one? Let me know in the comments below.