By now most every business owner knows they need to have a Facebook page at minimum. Search engine optimization, Tweeting, email marketing, online advertisements; these are all a few of the things to consider when positioning your business on the Internet. Most entrepreneurs don’t have the time or bandwidth to do it themselves. Most don’t know what to look for or how to hire an internet marketing consultant either. Hopefully this article will help with that.
Whether they call themselves a social media expert, inbound marketing strategist or internet marketing consultant, they should bring the following to the table:
1. Knowledge of more than Facebook and Twitter
Just about everyone nowadays has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media account. And most people are fluent in utilizing these sites personally. But what about search engine optimization or positioning your website for conversions? Do they know how to devise and implement strategies that position your business in the best light? If a disgruntled client posts about you, are they versed in listening, reputation management and responding? Just because someone is active on Facebook and Twitter and understands how to use the sites it doesn’t make them an effective internet marketing consultant.
2. Understanding of your business, the industry and its audience
To take it a step further, the person you hire should have a solid understanding of your industry and your business. They should know how to talk the talk and relate to the audience you are trying to attract. Social media marketing is less formal than other more traditional marketing strategies and it is very interactive. You don’t want someone representing you the wrong way or not communicating your message in a way that appeals to potential and current clients.
3. Hands-on experience
This should go without saying. In qualifying them, ask them what experience they have (whether its internships, volunteer or paid) and what the outcomes of those experiences were. They should be able to demonstrate that they aren’t just practicing on your behalf and your dime. Think return on investment. Your company’s reputation isn’t a playing field or experiment. Ask them what tools they use. Give them a scenario or current problem your business is facing and ask how they would solve it. They should be a strategic thinker and also be able to implement.
4. References or Portfolio
To go with the hands-on experience, what kind of references does the person have? Can they demonstrate what the outcomes of previous campaigns were? Most internet marketing consultants worth their salt will have some proof that they can back up their claims.
A final thought to this is, cheaper isn’t always better. A lot of people are parading about claiming to be experts in social media who shouldn’t be. If you ask all of the right questions and they seem to know what they’re talking about but their price seems off, find out why. Sure, it may be your lucky day, but chances are they haven’t done the research to know what the market is. Conversely, if the price seems steep, find out what this person is bringing to the table in experience, education, references and if they have some kind of guarantee.