If you were to "Google" the words "Social Media Strategist" you would find an endless stream of people selling their knowledge about this new media. LinkedIn offers this definition: "Social media strategists are marketing professionals who specialize in the research, planning, development and (often) implementation of a business' social media program. Companies need to understand that social media is not a single campaign. They must "socialize" in the arenas where they create a presence."
I agree and it is that final sentence that you and your business needs to understand.
Over the past few years we've run into dozens of "social media strategists" or at least they bill themselves as such. Not long ago we asked on our agency Facebook Page and on Twitter for a recommendation or two so we might visit with them to learn exactly what they....do.
The response was underwhelming.
So here are a couple of tips when and if your business goes out seeking a "social media strategist" to help your marketing efforts:
- Investigate - It's pretty easy to find out who is and who is simply posing. Check their social media feeds and see exactly how active they are. What kind of content do they deliver and are they the right fit for your business;
- Understand Marketing - Look again at the definition. "...social media is not a single campaign." In other words it will not replace all existing marketing efforts. Anybody who suggests it will...show them the door;
- One Trick Pony - If the person who is pitching you understands only Facebook or only uses Twitter and isn't able to talk the many other forms of social media...beware;
- Coach or Take Over - Some in the field offer "coaching". They realize the best social media program comes from people deeply involved with the product or service. We tend to favor that method rather than simply being the "voice" long term.
- A Good Fit - Whomever you choose to help needs to have an understanding of your business and your market. On the job training of your social media strategist takes time...and money.
Not every person involved in social media is a "strategist". While anybody can throw together a few Tweets, a Facebook Post or a Blog...not everybody understands how to plan and make it...work. Good luck out there and be careful.