Asking pertinent questions when sourcing a social media expert is essential. Chris Street suggests six questions to help you find the best person for the job
If I was tasked with the onerous job of sourcing and hiring a social media consultant, it might appear at first to be a thoroughly daunting task. But it doesn't have to be, if you ask the right questions when you interview them.
So, to help you on your way to finding the right person to assist you with your social media marketing, here are my top six questions to ask:
1. Do they write a blog - and update it regularly?
A well-written, consistent and effective blogging presence is the lynchpin of any social media expert. If the individual in front of you isn't blogging, or has been writing a blog for less than three years, it's worth asking them the simple question, "why?".
2. How long have they been involved in social media?
If the answer is less than six years, it's questionable if they really are a social media expert - or if it's just another individual/agency which has jumped on the social media bandwagon to make money from delivering little.
3. Are they proficient in marketing to business and consumer clients?
A truly versatile, adaptable and savvy social media expert should be able to work effectively with businesses and consumer-based organisations to deliver stunning social media marketing. If they can't demonstrate this, be wary.
4. Will they let you speak to their current social media clients?
One of the acid tests of a good social media marketer is their willingness to allow potential clients to talk to their existing client base about their work. If they are reticent, or talk about "confidentiality" of clients, be insistent.
5. Do they have a range of prominent social media profiles?
Ask if they are present on the main social media platforms, and are active on them. I've seen so-called social media experts without effective Twitter profiles, without blogs, and even without Facebook profiles in the past.
6. Are they willing to highlight definitive ROI from social media campaigns?
Insist on seeing examples and case studies from them, highlighting ROI from their social media marketing for clients. If they can't or won't, be aware that you might be in front of nothing more than a snake-oil salesman on the social web.
So, if you get the right answers, the chances are you're sitting opposite a reputable, passionate and professional advocate of social media marketing. If not - keep searching.
Chris is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and editor, with more than 12 years' experience on daily newspapers, business magazines and online portals. He launched the first corporate managed-blogging service in 2005, devised media relations strategies for firms including Apple and Mitel Networks, and