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How to Select a Social Media Partner

Author: Susan Rice Lincoln   |   August 24th, 2010

How do you pick a person or company to help you outsource your social media?

Your choice of a social media outsourcing partner is crucial.  There are thousands of people out there hawking their wares so you need to be very, very careful whom you select.

Here are seven steps I suggest you go through so that you can find the person (or company) that is a perfect fit for your needs.

1. Define carefully what you want to outsource.social media outsourcing
As I outlined in my previous blog post, you can outsource just a portion or all of your social media needs depending on time and budget.  The more you outsource, the more you will want to be sure that the person who handles your program really knows what they are doing.

The first step therefore is to write a detailed list of exactly what you want them to do:  setting up your profiles, monitoring followers, writing content, answering tweets, adding Facebook Fan Page comments and creating podcasts and/or videos.  You may want to start off with a more conservative list to see how your chosen resource actually works out rather than handing over your whole social media program in one fell swoop

2. Decide whether you want someone who is task-based or who will serve more as an online social media partner, providing strategy and task fulfillment.
For example, a task-based resource will be someone you will say “Post 3 Tweets a day which say such-and-such.”  And that is all they will do.  An online social media partner will be much more proactive and will help you develop an overall strategy in addition to fulfilling tasks.

Decide which style corresponds best to your needs and working style.  I personally believe that an online social media partner in the long run will save you much more time as well as provide better results.  The downside to an online social media partner is they may be a bit pricier.

3. To find names, first tap into your network of business friends and colleagues.
Find out if they are outsourcing any part of their social media and who they are working with (and what they really think).  A truthful and comprehensive recommendation from someone you trust is worth its weight in gold.

4. You can also look for help on some of the key social media sites like Twitter and Face book simply by typing in social media virtual assistant or social media outsourcing.
There are thousands offering services though.  You will need to very carefully examine the people you find.

5. To make a shortlist, be sure you identify someone who really understands social media and specializes in that.
You should look at the work they have done for other clients, evaluate their own presence on the key social media networks (i.e. LinkedIn, Face book, Twitter, YouTube) and examine their testimonials carefully.

6. Be sure that you talk to the person you are considering hiring by telephone.
You can tell a lot by talking to someone and make sure that what they look like on paper is coherent with what you are hearing over the telephone.  Have a list of questions ready which ask them about their experience as well as how they would precisely help you.  .

7. When you have finally selected your resource, I would highly recommend that you give them a trial period of at least 3 months before deciding definitively to work with them.
One month is too short.  Three months should give you a good idea about whether your working styles are compatible and their services match your quality industries.

In closing, on the subject of outsourcing social media, I found this very interesting article on conversationagent.com which I believe will help you decide whether outsourcing social media is really something for you.

Susan

About Susan Rice Lincoln
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