Note: I’m back…. Having completed my MFA in Media Design, I can now get back to writing. Hope you didn’t miss me too much. Or, wait… I hope you did.
With the growth in social media of all types, there’s a growing demand for service providers who can help businesses – small ones in particular – navigate the often confusing and always changing social landscape. This bodes well for those who have knowledge and experience in social media, and I’ve recently heard from several students and graduates of Full Sail’s Internet Marketing programs who are launching social media consulting businesses.
One thing I caution them is to remember that social media for a business isn’t the same as managing your personal social profiles. While I’ve mentioned before that you should have a strategy for using social media for personal branding, you really must have a strategy if you’re a business.
Beyond that, it’s vital for a social media consultant to be realistic about how he or she can help another organization. Just setting up a Facebook Page or a Twitter account is often not enough for a small biz. They need training on the technical elements of how to post, but, more importantly, many of them need training on what kind of content to share to help build an audience.
Here’s a brief recap of my advice to those up and coming social media consultants:
- Be realistic. If your client manufactures something you can’t even pronounce, understand that you’re going to be relying on them to produce the content – or you’re going to be traveling up a steep learning curve pretty quickly.
- Take a holistic approach. Don’t just focus on social media, but build a strategy that ensures what you’re doing aligns with the rest of the client’s marketing efforts.
- Know that common sense is not all that common. It may seem obvious to you that every Tweet shouldn’t be a sales pitch, but we’ve all seen that happen. Explain the value of building relationships, not just making sales.
- Understand the time commitment required to use social media effectively and don’t underprice your services just because it’s ‘fun’ to be on Facebook and Twitter; the fun will wear off pretty quickly when you feel like you’re working for pennies.
Obviously, another very important thing is to stay current. Things change (have you seen the new MySpace everyone’s buzzing about?), and it’s your responsibility to know what’s happening in the industry.