In this article, I explore hiring a social media consultant? And what to look for in your process. The first thing to dispel is the concept of expertise. A lot of practitioners use the term “social media expert.” But are you taking to an expert? And does an expert even exist?
I am not a fan of the term, for two reasons.
1. Social media is constantly changing. What worked yesterday, may no longer work today, or may work differently tomorrow. Expertise to me denotes mastery.
2. We are only at the beginning of what is possible or even available. There are new platforms still emerging all the time, and each platform works differently and it feels like the options in existing platforms are changing weekly.
Let's look at just some of the changes in 2018.
Instagram Shoppable Stories and Posts. Instagram has once again revolutionized the way we view social media by allowing you to do your shopping on Instagram Stories.
Pinterest promoted carousel ad formats. Advertisers can now promote their pins with multiple images, giving them more freedom to provide information and enticing visuals.
YouTube is now allowing viewers to book tickets, vacations and more directly from ads.
Facebook Continuous Algorithm Changes. Continuously changing is the best way to describe the algorithm. At many different points, some content has outperformed others, images, articles, then videos. However, if you want to be effective on this platform, you need to advertise, and the days of great organic reach are gone.
A competent social media consultant will understand this, and advise you accordingly. Also to this end, they will also be knowledgeable on what form of advertising works best on the platform. Not only is Facebook continuously changing the algorithm. They are also changing the ways to deliver the ads to consumers. With some formats outperforming others.
- The ability to serve video ads to consumers sequentially and then convert them. For example if they watch the 1st ad all the way to the end, then you can serve them the second ad and so on.
- Facebook dynamic ads - "Facebook dynamic ads automatically promote products to people who have expressed interest on your website, in your app or elsewhere on the Internet. Simply upload your product catalogue and set up your campaign one time, and it will continue working for you for as long as you want –finding the right people for each product and always using up-to-date pricing and availability."
- Facebook Canvas Ads Lead Ads - Facebook canvas ads have been a remarkable way for brands to communicate in an immersive social storytelling capacity. They take over the mobile screen, and allow you to include video, images, long-form text and now even capture sign-ups.
Pinterest. Any social media consultant who is not discussing Pinterest with you should be shown the door. The only visual platform to link straight out to your website. Some suggest could one-day rival Google for search marketing, and as validated by Mary Meeker's State of the Internet report one in two people who have seen a promoted pin have made a purchase.
If you think about the imagery on the platform and how well it is curated, this is not surprising. With the recent development of the buy now button, Pinterest is going to have a massive impact on e-commerce sales.
Twitter. With Jack Dorsey (one of Twitter founder’s) and Founder of Square, recently coming back as the CEO, I believe he will re-invent the company, and perhaps make it a stronger social force.
Twitter's advertising capabilities are close to rivalling Facebook’s.
Instagram is now an advertising powerhouse. They have buy now buttons in stories and post, deep video capability, carousel ads, and some brands have recently done 3d ad formats.
Any social media consultant will know this is now the fastest growing social media platform in the world. Half of all 18-29-year-olds (53%) use the platform. And they use it daily. And the organic reach of brands on this platform is still great.
So are you talking to a social media consultant - expert? Most of the above relate to developments in 2018.
Other ideas a social media consultant should discuss include conversion rate optimisation, content hubs, inbound marketing strategies, podcasting, and voice.
So what do you look for in a social media consultant?
✓ Current knowledge on all social media platforms, emerging and existing.
✓ Advertising expertise across all of the platforms, current and emerging.
✓ A social media consultant knows the platforms and architectures that can be leveraged
✓ They understand the right type of content to use on each platform
Ultimately they will direct your efforts towards maximum leverage for your brand. They understand the combination of technology and people scale in an unprecedented way today.
Social media marketing is complex and ever-changing. I contest no social media consultant is an expert, but rather a player in a bigger game.
Some players are just better than others.