Three years ago you would have been hard-pressed to find one, but today many people are calling themselves "social media consultants." As blogs, social networks, and social sites explode in popularity, companies are looking for help in navigating the often-confusing world of social media.
But does your business really need a social media consultant? And, if so, how do you find the right one?
This article will help you determine what your needs are and how to find someone who can help you successfully integrate social media into your current business efforts.
Why do you need a consultant?
Before you begin contacting consultants, consider why you think you need one. What does your business want to do with social media? And how do you know that you should be launching a social media initiative to begin with? You may be considering launching a company blog, when in fact creating and maintaining a Twitter presence makes more sense.
Regardless of why you want to hire a social media consultant, you should make sure that the consultant is willing to provide training as part of the services. For example, if you hire a consultant to create and execute a blogging strategy, you want that consultant to spend some time training you during the entire process. Otherwise, you will have to continue to work with a consultant after the blog has launched: Though you now have a blog, you still aren't sure how to use it effectively. Ideally, training will be a core element of any project that a consultant performs, so that when they walk away it's because you are ready to take over and use the tools correctly.