Washington Graphic has discussed the importance of branding through social media in prior blog posts, using a hands on approach. But some businesses are not ready or able to commit the kind of time and personnel to managing a full-force social media campaign for their brand. This is where outsourcing comes into play. Businesses can instead find outside experts to help them run their social media. The question is, how can you do it in a way that will not harm your brand and ensure that it is truly successful?
Choose a Consultant You Can Trust
One of the most important things to remember is that your social media marketing company or consultant will be creating messages for your brand or business. The firm you choose should have a clear strategy and schedule to post all content, video, images and press releases. Don’t think of it as someone who is just “handling” your Twitter account. Realize that anything they say on your behalf might be the first (or last) thing someone sees from your brand. With these things in mind, you will want to hire a consultant you can trust.
So how do you know you can trust them? My first suggestions would be to ask for client lists and client referrals.
- Start with their website to see what project examples they have posted.
- Search Google for the company or consultant’s name to see if you can find mentions of them across the web – if they’ve done a bad job, someone might have already complained about it.
- Look for their business in Google Places by visiting Google Maps and search for their name or website domain to see local reviews.
- Find the consultant on LinkedIn and read their reviews, both for the main company, the company’s owner, and the employees within it. An additional bonus would be to find the profile of the social media marketers working within their company and read their reviews.
Another great way to find a good consultant is to simply see who your industry peers are using.
Work Closely With Your Social Media Consultant
If you do want your social media consultant to handle all of the work for you, thus being the voice of your brand through your social media outlets, then you will want to work closely with them. This doesn’t mean just a monthly meeting to discuss your plans for the next 30 days. This means having someone that you can email when you have questions about your social media.
There are a lot of different things that can come up on your social media accounts that a consultant might need you to deal with, or at least needs to work with you to deal with. Responding to specific customer complaints, for example, is something that you as the business would need to possibly respond to yourself so you can research the problem and find a great solution. If your business is legally regulated and cannot say certain things, you will need to make sure that your consultant knows those things before allowing them to start updating on your behalf.
Monitor Your Social Media Consultant’s Work
Regardless of how hands-on or hands-off you want to be with your social media, you must always monitor your consultant’s work. Look at the updates they send to ensure they are timely and relevant. Be sure that your consultant seems to have a firm understanding of your business and your industry.