Sep 02

Finding the right social media specialist and avoiding snake oil salesmen.

Choosing social media specialists- avoid snake oil salesmenHow do you find the right social media trainer, coach or consultant?

The market seems full of ‘social media specialists’, so it can be a real problem finding the person or company who can really deliver what you want. So where do you start?

First decide what you want.

Social media specialists are not all the same. For example, trainers are good at teaching and passing on knowledge. This is a very different skill from that of a consultant who will help you actually do the job. Think of the brilliant mathematician who may be a poor communicator – this is not the teacher you would want. If you are looking for a trainer, choose a professional with good communication skills, not just a clever blogger.

Coaching is not the same as training. A coach will work with individuals or companies to develop based upon their specific skills or resources. For an individual or small business who needs to do their own social networking, a coach may be a better though slightly more costly choice.

Consultants come in many flavours too, based upon their specialisms and experience. Check out that their skills match what you need.

Write a spec.

Put down on a piece of paper what you want from your ideal supplier.

  • Do you want training, coaching, consultancy or someone to do the work for you?
  • Do you want a single person or a company?
  • What skills do you expect your supplier to have?
  • What experience do you expect?
  • Match your profile – do you want someone with experience in, say, B2B or B2C, particular sector specialism, local, national or international expertise?

Use your network

Ask colleagues, suppliers, people you know, for recommendations. If you are member of an organisation or professional society – ask them.

Prepare your questions.

Okay, so you have your short list of possible providers – what are the key questions you want them to answer? Note down as many as you can think of then narrow them down to, say, three killer questions.
Most important, you want evidence. Recommendations from people you know, references from people who have had good experiences. Past projects, client lists. Unfortunately there are no accreditation bodies or professional associations for social media specialists so make sure you do your homework.

Social Media Workshops from the Social Good Guy