Sometimes the best way to figure out what you want is to start by realizing what it is that you don’t want. For example, my colleague recently visited a hairdresser who handed her a few magazines and instead of asking her to bookmark the styles she likes, the hairdresser said, “pick out all of the styles you hate.” Interesting approach, yes? Well since I am looking to provide a social media consultancy service in the coming months, I thought I would do a search to see what people are saying about social media consultants…but then I thought, “hmm…these articles are probably written by social media consultants who only want to tout their own service. I wanted an objective opinion on the matter, so I took this hairdresser’s approach and looked up some reasons why a company should NOT hire a social media consultant - In summary, here’s what I found:
Don’t hire someone who…
- does not use the tools they are recommending. If the social media consultant doesn’t actively use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. – FAIL.
- doesn’t use two-way communication. Consistent re-tweeting, “liking,” and linking does not create a community or any form of conversation. FAIL.
- cannot define social media in their own words. If the consultant can only provide a list of the tools they use, FAIL.
- does not blog. If the consultant does not have an updated blog of their own, they might not have the skills to create a valuable one for your company. FAIL. (Sheesh, glad I started one!)
- claims to be an expert. (see my last post!) Lisa Hoffman says it the best: “the true experts are dismissing the title [of “expert”] while the just-add-water “experts” are scamming people into believing they know the way to social media salvation. I’m now convinced this is a mistake. It’s our responsibility to communicate our level of knowledge and abilities [truthfully].” AMEN TO THAT, LISA!
- has a dial-tone personality and/or no sense of humor. Social media, though serious at times, is meant to be fun and interesting. No one wants to read dry, boring material or feel like the author can’t take a joke. If you can’t sit down and have an interesting conversation with the consultant – FAIL.
- does not understand how to monitor social media. If you hire a consultant to do your social media but they cannot give you any tangible results – FAIL.
- promises instant results. Social media strategies take time to show results. The consultant must monitor, listen, participate in conversations to get feedback. If they promise you results in a “too good to be true” timeframe – FAIL.
- does not have any of their own opinions on the future of social media, its ethical implications or impact, how do you expect them to advise you properly? FAIL.
- has poor spelling and/or grammar. If this person is advising on your behalf and doesn’t recognize the difference between “to,” “too” and “two,” – FAIL.
So, for all of you on a quest to become social media consultants, I hope this list will encourage you to ask yourself where you need to improve.
Please share your comments – especially if you have some other tips that improve the credibility of a social media consultant.