When to Hire a Social Media Consultant

Do you need a social media manager or a social media consultant?

Both? Neither?

It’s not always easy to know.

Whenever you’re looking to outsource or to find someone who can support you in expanding your business’s reach, it’s important to know what exactly you’re looking for. In this blog article, I raise some questions to think about before you start scouring the internet for the right match. Let’s dig in!

What are your goals for social media?

The answer to who you need on your team really comes down to your goals for social media. If you’re like me, you have a love-hate relationship with social media. I love the (“slow motion”) conversations I have on LinkedIn and how it allows me to connect with brilliant people every day. I hate that it makes me play the comparison game and think about small-minded things like the algorithm and vanity metrics. But I’ve found that getting clear on my goals helps me stay in that “love” mindset.

So, what are your goals for social media? For example, consistency may be your biggest challenge. Perhaps you can create great content, but when you get overwhelmed, it’s easy to let content creation fall to the bottom of your list. Or perhaps you’re just not that confident in the content you’re creating, so (again) it’s easy to let content creation fall to the bottom of your list. You have good intentions, but once you fall “off the wagon,” you start to wonder, “what’s the point?”

Besides consistency in terms of frequency of showing up on social media, you also need consistency in your messaging. If this is your biggest challenge, your goal might be to find someone who can help you hone your brand and create content that speaks to your target audience.

Here are some questions to help you determine your social media goals:

  • What benefits have I gained from using social media so far? What prospects, clients, and referrals have come through social media? How can I double-down on these?
  • How does social media fit into my broader branding or marketing strategy?
  • What is my biggest challenge with social media?
  • In what ways do I see others using social media that I may be able to capitalize on?
  • Where does my audience need the most education? What is the one thing I should be talking about on social media?

And if your answer to the first set of questions is “social media has done nothing for me” or your business goals don’t actually align with using social media, it’s perfectly fine to stop using it altogether — regardless of what others are doing. Maybe what works for you is pitching yourself to podcasts and doing strategic one-on-one networking. Great! Don’t let other people’s goals dictate your own.

On the other hand, many of my clients enjoy using LinkedIn (just like me), but they are most interested in figuring out how to use it better. They are looking for someone to help them strategize. So let’s turn to this next.

Do you have a strategy that works for you?

Once you have a rough idea about your goals for social media, you’re in a good position to determine your strategy. I’d say that the decision about whether you need a social media consultant or a social media manager hinges on whether you have a social media strategy that works for you.

When to look for a social media manager: If you have a strategy for LinkedIn or are ready to create a strategy yourself and you’re looking for someone to help you implement that strategy, then a social media manager (who is open to following your strategy, of course) could be a good fit.

When to look for a social media consultant: On the other hand, if you’re looking for someone to help you strategize and you’re able to do the implementation yourself (with a bit of guidance), then you’re probably in the market for a consultant.

Note that in many cases neither a social media manager nor a social media consultant will actually create content for you. I happen to be a social media consultant who also creates content for my clients. But you know, I’m one of those rare unicorns. ;) 

This is why it’s so important to figure out your goals and what you need before you get on a call with anyone. You want to be able to ask the right questions to figure out if this person can solve your problems. Remember, every service provider believes their solution solves your problem and the best ones are good at persuading you to believe it too. But unless you know what you need, you’re vulnerable to getting bamboozled (by the way, that’s the technical term).

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to outsource social media entirely and have all of your goals met. Sure, you may be able to find a social media manager who will create generic content, and post it for you, probably using a scheduler. But you need to do more than post daily to be really successful on a platform like LinkedIn. You need to engage with others and be present on the platform at least five days per week. The algorithm knows how committed you are to your social media success (well, sort of). 

One final word on strategy: LinkedIn is primarily a networking platform. So I encourage all of my clients to use it that way. Just as you wouldn’t walk into an in-person networking event shouting about your latest service offerings, you shouldn’t spend all of your time on LinkedIn making offers. It’s not a billboard. The best strategy for LinkedIn is to start conversations and let the selling unfold naturally. 

The bottom line: Take some time to figure out what you want to get out of social media before you start looking for the support you need to be successful.

Want to know how I work? The LinkedIn Roadmap is your first step: https://thepocketphd.lpages.co/linkedin-roadmap/

Photo credit: https://123rf.com/profile_alend44