How do you tell if your social media consultant is the real deal?

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Awhile I ago I suggested that it might not be a brilliant plan to hire a consultant or agency to help you with your social media strategy if they can't document that they've done more than learn the buzz words

Would you want to be a surgeon's first patient?  On a pilot's first flight?  So why should you be someone's social media guinea pig?

But if you're new to social media, how do you determine who's blowing smoke up your skirt and who's the real deal?  Beth Harte put together a remarkable checklist of what you should be looking for and you're going to want to read her whole list. 

But here are some basics, in my own words:

  1. Does not believe that every company should (or can) blog.  Nor do they believe that the blog is the be all and end all.
  2. Constantly reminds you (if you need reminding) that social media is a tool, a medium.  Marketing basics like understanding your brand and having something of value to share/say still apply.
  3. Have a proven, successful  social media strategy for themselves/their agency.  If they can't or haven't done it for themselves, why in the world would you think they can do it for you?
  4. Helps you weave your social media strategies into the rest of your marketing plan.  Social media should be a part of the whole, not a whole new thing.
  5. Doesn't promise that social media efforts are so incredible they're going to protect you from the recession, a mediocre product or male pattern baldness.

Bottom line….you want an agency or consultant who is bullish on social media but doesn't believe it's the holy grail.  They can integrate these tools with the rest of your marketing efforts and you know they can do it for you….because they did it/are doing it for themselves.

I just scraped the surface.  Check out Beth's post for the drill down.

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