Social Media Do You Need a Professional?
Do you really need to pay someone thousands of dollars for a social media strategy? Should you hand over the social media reigns to your PR person or marketing firm? Why should I pay for something I can do for myself?
I’ve been thinking about this on several fronts lately as I visit local businesses without a social media presence. My first thought is why pay someone money to do something that is free and requires very little technical expertise? Not to mention the vast amount of free information and training available. I mean really, some of these folks charge $50 – $100 per hour. If you’re so ready to throw that kind of money at it, I’ll crown myself an expert and let you pay me. I’ve been in the corporate world long enough to create a pretty damn fancy and impressive resume.
Seriously, it is an interesting question. I was recently talking to a friend and I said it only takes four things to be successful at developing a brand through social media:
To me, this seems simple. I’m passionate about my topic, I’m pretty disciplined to get in and learn the tools and be consistent with my product. I care about interacting with people, I respond to comments, I engage people in conversation. I don’t have the time, I make the time. So far, I’ve been pleased with the results. I’m making money, I’m building a brand, I’m networking with local people, and ideas are coming together.
Anyone can do it! Right?
What if you’re passionate about your product, you just don’t have the time to dedicate to something new? What if you care about interacting with people, you just don’t have the discipline to develop a strategy and learn the tools? I could change the oil in my car myself if I had the time and if I knew how. There are books to teach me, but…See the rub?
Hiring a consultant may be beneficial for folks that are in this situation. Many wineries are 1-3 man/woman operations. Finding even 20 minutes a day to tweet and Facebook may be a challenge. Sometimes the fact that I pay for my gym membership gets me going to the gym. Maybe paying a consultant is the jump start that is needed for some companies.
Here are a few things to consider before hiring someone.
- Don’t let them dazzle you with corporate jargon (buzz word crap). We’re going to analyze this, set baseline that, set up ROI measurement systems, engage, assess, evaluate, monitor, blah blah blah.
a) Determine what you want to accomplish b) find the tools to accomplish it c) repeat the best ways to accomplish it and d) measure your results.
- It’s not rocket science. There is nothing wrong with getting involved and making a few mistakes along the way. The tools are there, the tools are free, no software engineering degree is needed to understand Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, or Linkdin.
- DO NOT hand over the management of your content or customer interaction (unless you’re actually hiring someone to do it full time). A PR firm / marketing team will not be as passionate or as transparent as you can be with your customers. Social Media is connection with your customers. Hiring someone to pretent to be you for a few hours a month is a failure (in my opinion).
- Do your homework. You’re hiring someone as a Social Media Guru / Expert, doesn’t it make sense that you should see if they are using it sucessfully themselves? Visit their blog. Is their content current? What makes you think they’ll keep yours current? Go to their Facebook page. Was their last status update more than a week ago? Are all of their tweets self serving links and ads? If you don’t see any conversation, RUN.
I know you’re reading this and have an opinion. I would love to hear it. Am I way off base? What else can you contribute to the conversation?
P.S. If you want any Social Media help from me, just ask – I’ll probably collect in wine, coffee or guitars!
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