Do you have a Strong Social Media Consultant?

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction” Albert Einstein

I wonder what Albert Einstein would of said about Social Media today? His quote above is appropriate because Social Media Consultants, strong ones, tend to go in the opposite direction of accepted, traditional,  business practices.

So continuing with our next 5 Signs “You’ve Got a Strong SM-(Social Media) – Consultant or Agency”  Please see the first 15 signs of 25 in previous blogs on MySylbert.com

Here we go:

“16.) Listens to you when you are discussing your challenges (example: Connie Reece)”

This is a very important one. Make sure that the consultant is using a methodology similar to POST created by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff  that can be found in the book Groundswell.

P eople = audience

O bjective = what do they want their audience to do, what behavior change?

S trategy = the strategy to affect a behavior change and action and build trust

T echnology = implementing the strategy where your audience is.

The only way you can do this effectively is to listen to the challenges and truly listen through active listening not waiting to sell you their platform.

“17. Helps and guides clients so that they can understand the benefit of social media and implement it properly (themselves) (example: Amber Naslund)”

This one goes against what most so-called consultants are telling you, but the goal of a strong consultant should be to build an internal team around them that allows the company, or organization, to implement and maintain any social media strategy themselves, internally.

They should work with those currently involved in the company’s social media implementation and help them improve or focus what they are already doing into a true strategic part of the companies communication to employees, vendors, prospects and customers.

“18. Knows that social networking works best when they are conversing, sharing, and being human (i.e. doesn’t self promote)” (example Chris Brogan)

Remember there are other ways to promote your organization and business. Social Media is more about building Trust, and this involves adding value to your audience without self promotion.

I was asked the other day about companies that do Social Media but provide a proprietary platform. My thought is that although some of them may provide great knowledge their ultimate goal is to sell their own platform whether it fits your needs or not. Beware the platform based Social Media pitch.

“19. Educates clients on understanding that they no longer own or control their brand and educate them on how to create customer evangelists (example: Ben Mcconnell & Jackie Huba)”

This is a hard one,  but one that any strong consultant should be conveying to their client. As we have said previously it goes against that old traditional business model of control, control, control and protect your brand.

“20. Won’t act as your social media ‘voice’ or ghostwrite for you (example Laura Bergells)

This debate is continuing as I write this, as there are several agencies doing this and making quite a lot of money. The question is really of time and resources for the company. I do agree with #20 very strongly and if you must have another agency or someone else write your posts, make sure they are writing “on your behalf” and that is stated clearly. Don’t let them make it look like it is coming from you!

Work with a consultant to define your audience, form your message and strategy but ultimately you or your internal staff need to do the actual implementation. You can always consult but beware having someone else do all of it for you.

Tomorrow we will disclose the final 5. Have a great day!

Les Adkins –  Orange SMS CEO Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant, author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn