Guidelines For Using Social Media Experts
Because social media is relatively new we can find quite some generalists on the one side, and on the other side we have so-called specialists who focus on one or more areas of expertise.
So do we choose for a specialist, a generalist or a company that does it all?
Let’s start by describing some of the areas of expertise we can encounter:
– Research/ Monitoring
– Buzz & PR
– Media & Advertising
– Big Ideas & Programmes
– Tracking & ROI
It is imperative for a company or a person to know when their knowledge ends and where they can find people suited to do job. But how can you find out that or if they know it themselves?
Simply ask them for a RFI, also known as a Request For Information. This way for example you can find out if they are knowledgeable, capable, if they comply to general rules (such as; WOMMA) and if they have capabilities beyond just social media tools.
A quick and easy way to check if someone is the right person/ organisation; is to look at their track record and their references. A solid company will have several business cases and they will explain to you how they got the results. Some organisations or “specialists” will simply glue some company logos on their site; so don’t focus on the names but on the cases.
So should you choose the organisation or specialist with the most extensive experience within your branch? No.
Ex. You are a FMCG and you want gain valuable insights: It is probably more sensible to choose for a monitoring specialist; than to choose someone who has worked for several FMCG’s but has less case experience.
For branch specific knowledge it could prove useful; however it could be an obstacle with conflicting accounts and you won’t be sure they have the speciality you need.
Try to find out what percentage of the organisation handles social media on a daily bases or for how long social media has been one of their core-activities.
Another way to check an organisation’s or specialist’s experience is to see whether and to what extent they are active on social media platforms themselves.
Naturally it is wiser to choose for quality over quantity; what do they post, how are their social media surroundings designed etc. This indicates the difference between mere interest or profession.
Now that you have chosen your possible candidate; make a list for yourself to determine your success outcomes. Also known as ROI – Return On Investment.
Your targets could be on sales, branding, exposure, engagement, cost cutting, insights/ key-learnings. Finally; define how success can be measured.
Tools vs. Strategy
Social media isn’t only about Twitter, Hyves, Facebook or other platforms. These are just tools that help you realise your goals. If you choose wisely your social media partner will focus on realising your goals instead of picking a platform to communicate.
Do yourself a favour and create a long term vision for your social activities.
All your stakeholders will benefit; cutting costs in R&D, making a connection with your audience, delivering better products to your clients or even helping your HR department connect with your personnel.
In the end it is always advisable to look for organisations or people that are affiliated to branch organisations.
So why do you need a social media company or expert? Here are a few points they can help you with:
- earning attention, desired information vs. Unwanted information
- learning from your peers/ target audience
- creating relationships based on trust; a handshake is worth more than a letter
- Gain more sales and maximise your longtail
- Be more effective in all activities involving people
source: Marketing Tribune