Well, that all depends. You could learn the ropes and manage social media marketing for your small business yourself. But if you’re unsure as to whether social media is right for your business at all, you don’t know much about navigating the channels or you’re already busy enough just running your company, a social media consultant may not be such a bad idea.
Ok, perhaps I’m a little biased given that I actually am a social media consultant. But hear me out. This isn’t a pitch for me (well, maybe little)… But it is absolutely a pitch for you.
Like so many, I am rooting for the success of small business owners. I believe you are the innovators, the change-makers, the heart & soul of every community. And depending on your business type, style, personality and target audience, social media marketing may be a great way to build your audience, connect with clients, promote your brand and/or sell your products/services. Social media marketing may help drive your future succes.
Or it may not. In fact, social media marketing may not be right for your business at all.
But if you are a small business owner, busy running your company in these challenging economic times, do you have the time or energy to explore the potential and evaluate the pros & cons yourself? Do you have time to learn Facebook, create YouTube channels, promote company events or monitor engagement scores?
Social media consultants (good ones) provide a few things:
At first glance, social media consultants do seem expensive. But your time is expensive too, and that is an expense that directly hurts the business you are trying to run. Let’s look at one example of how social media consultant fees might be justified:
You own a restaurant. You have a decent base of loyal clients, but rarely is there a waiting list for tables. You hire a social media consultant with the objectives of promoting your brand, connecting with current clients (for eventual referrals), advertising deals & specials and ultimately filling the restaurant with patrons Friday & Saturday nights.
Your consultant charges $15,000 to set up an maintain your Facebook page, Twitter account, FourSquare venue for a period of 3 months.
$15,000 for 3 months = $5,000/month = $1,250/week = $625 per night (Friday & Saturday)
The average spent at your restaurant is, let’s say, $60/table.
Need 10 additional clients per day (Friday & Saturday) for 3 months to offset consultant fee.
Feasible? Absolutely. But that’s not how the social media consultant math really works. Your Facebook page, Twitter profile and FourSquare venue have a life long beyond that 3-month period. Those channels will continue to promote your brand and drive traffic after the initial start-up period. And if your consultant was good, he/she would have taught you valuable lessons about the types of content to post, the frequency of posts, how to respond to clients, how to measure interactions and how to inspire your fans to visit your establishment. These are lessons that are now with you, and the tools are now in your hands. Ask yourself, “How valuable is that, long-term?”
Instead, perhaps you could look at it like this:
$15,000 = $2,000/month for first 3 months =$1,000/month for next 3 months = $500/month for next year
This equates to 3 new clients per Friday and Saturday night in the first 3 months, just more than 1 new client per Friday and Saturday night in the next 3 months and less than 1 new client per Friday and Saturday night for the next year.
The reality is that IF your company is suited for social media marketing and IF if you have a great consultant who shares knowledge, tools and tips that not only expand your social media presence, but also educate you on how to effectively manage social media, a social media consultant is well worth the investment.
That’s up to you. But I hope I’ve provided a little insight as to why it might make sense to consider bringing one in to pitch YOU and YOUR COMPANY.
And oh yeah, in case you’re interested, here’s my pitch: Social Amateur’s Consulting Packages and Services
You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free. — David Meerman Scott