Make no mistake; social media is not a fad. It’s a powerful marketing tool and one no copywriter can afford to ignore. We rightly encourage everyone on our copywriting course to use social media.
But not every copywriter has the inclination or the time to spend on a Twitter or Facebook campaign, let alone master LinkedIn or Pinterest. A few years ago I attended an event where Nicola Cairncross was the speaker. Her advice was: ‘If you have time, do it yourself. If you don’t have the time, outsource it.’
When it comes to social media outsourcing, the words ‘caveat emptor’ come to mind. Translated, this means ‘let the buyer beware’. This is good advice for anyone looking for a social media consultant or trainer. You see, social media, as well as being a powerful marketing tool, is a bandwagon. The business world is littered with so-called specialists. Frankly, many of them don’t know their Twitter from their tennis elbow.
As a freelance worker, or perhaps a copywriter in training, you can’t afford to spend money on spurious social media experts. So how can you sort out the self-professed gurus from the savvy social media professionals?
Check your social media consultant’s credentials. Do they have a Twitter account? How many followers do they have? These are experts, so you’d expect them to have thousands. If it’s hundreds, ask yourself (or better still, ask them), why so few followers? How many lists do they appear on? Genuine, authoritative people will have a high list value – simply because people want to separate them from the crowd and listen to what they say.
Do they have a Facebook page? How many fans does it have? What about LinkedIn – how many connections do they have there?
If your potential social media consultant or trainer is worth their salt, they will be influential on all the major social media channels. If they can’t promote themselves, they won’t be much help to you.
Ask your prospective social media consultant for some of their clients’ Twitter IDs or links to Facebook pages and look them up. How many followers or fans do they have? Social media is about communication and engagement. Does the consultant engage with others on behalf of clients?
Do they listen, help others and generally communicate, or is it a one-way conversation? Someone who just sends sales messages on your behalf will do you no favours.
If your social media consultant is worth their salt, you can expect them to blog. They will understand the importance of using external links on their blog to engage with other sites. A good consultant will know the social media trends and changes, and happily offer advice on them.
If any copywriter is planning to outsource their social media, it’s vital they select their consultant carefully. We’ve just looked at a few of the considerations but you’ll find some more tips on choosing a social media consultant here.
When you’re doing your homework, don’t forget to check the consultant’s spelling and language. As a copywriter, even a trainee one, you can’t afford to damage your reputation with sloppy spelling, typos and text-speak.
Finally, remember social media is like any other marketing activity, it should give you a return on investment. So choose your consultant with care.
Blog post by Joy McCarthy