5 things to consider before working with a social media expert

This article was written by Douglas Idugboe and originally published on Smedio.

A couple of weeks back, I wrote a post on 5 Ways to leverage your social media clout. While I’ve always believed that leveraging social media ain’t rocket science, there are times when a business is better off hiring a social media expert rather than risking a Do-It-Yourself approach. From a business perspective, terms such as social media strategy and best practices can be a whelming, especially for newbies in the social networking world.

Hiring a social media expert is easier said than done for several reasons. First, the one size fits allapproach just doesn’t work in social media world. What works perfectly for another business may be a perfect recipe of disaster for your business. Secondly, a number of internet marketers and SEO professionals pitch themselves as social media experts.

If you are a business pondering over how/ why to work with a social media expert, consider the following 5 key points before you take the plunge.

Business Goals

At the end of the day, there’s a business to be run. And no business is successful unless it generates profits. Have crystal clear objectives in mind about your social media campaign before you start working with an expert. Are you trying to revive your company’s online reputation with social media? Do you want to use social media as an alternative means of customer service? Or is brand-awareness the primary objective of your social media plans. Once you have clear goals, it’s much easier to evaluate and choose a relevant social media expert for your business needs.

Resources

Working with an expert helps streamline your social media strategy. However, there’s a cost associated with it. And it’s not just the monetary aspect, there’s a time investment as well. If you are fully committed to social media, an expert can help you succeed. If you are unsure and adopt half measures, the results will be half as good. Of course, hiring a social media expert saves you valuable time which is better spent on managing your business.

In-house or External?

Will your business benefit by creating an in-house social media team or hiring an external expert. For starters, I strongly advise working with an external expert till your in-house team has developed the required expertise. An expert makes you aware of the best practices as well as crucial pitfalls that your business should avoid. Working with a “Been there, done that” expert minimizes risk and also helps groom your in-house social media team.

Skills

I’m often quizzed about what specific social media skills are crucial to be labeled as a social media expert. While there is no definitive answer to that question, a social media expert should know how to leverage the leading social networks including Facebook, Twitter and others for boosting your business. One of the key considerations before working with a social media expert is determining their ability to measure performance or ROI of the planned social media strategy.

Innovation

I strongly believe that social media thrives on innovation. Just being able to build an impressive Twitter profile or Facebook Fan page isn’t equivalent to being a social media expert. Unless you have a “wow factor” associated with your social media campaign, it’s likely to be labeled as just another member in the crowd. Seek a social media expert with a proven track record of innovation, it pays!

Conclusion

Are you a business planning to work with a social media expert? How do you evaluate prospect candidates? Do you think building an in-house social media team is more effective than hiring external social media experts? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.