From boosting brand awareness to increasing engagement with potential customers and clients, social media can play a critical role in your company’s marketing strategy.
But sometimes bringing in a full-time social media manager isn’t possible (because of a hiring freeze) or necessary (due to an in-house social media expert returning from leave in a few months). In situations such as these, hiring a skilled social media consultant might be just what you need.
CONSIDER WHAT YOU NEED FROM A SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT
Social media consultants can offer strategic guidance to help clients improve, optimize, and grow their presence on various channels from LinkedIn to TikTok. They can also create content, develop timelines and calendars, and measure analytics to track wins.
Before you begin your search for a social media consultant, think through exactly what you will need from this person. Do you need someone to execute by creating and scheduling content? Or do you need someone to develop a high-level strategy to be carried out by freelancers or other members of your marketing team? Maybe you need a mix of both.
Setting clear parameters will be incredibly helpful in your search for a social media consultant and when the time comes to finalize your project.
LOOK FOR A SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT WITH SOLID EXPERIENCE
When hiring a social media consultant, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of people who call themselves “social media gurus.” But remember that being active on these platforms does not necessarily equate to being successful in driving business through social media. As such, when reviewing candidate resumes, websites and portfolios, look for those who can demonstrate how they’ve leveraged social channels to achieve bottom-line results.
A successful social media consultant should have strong experience driving growth and engagement across various channels. Social media performance can be measured by active user engagements, conversions, audience reach, and follower growth. This person should be well-versed in developing and launching social media campaigns, utilizing analytics tools to track and measure metrics, and driving lead-generation efforts. An expert in the space should, by default, know which approach to take to obtain the utmost engagement and interaction for each brand that they represent.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO ASK A SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT CANDIDATE
When interviewing social media consultants, ask questions that will elicit greater insights into their experience and capabilities, but also try to get a feel for their working style to see if they are a suitable fit for your organization.
Here are examples of interview questions you might want to ask each social media consultant candidate:
How well do you understand our industry, market, and target audience?
Which social media channel or channels could we be using more effectively?
What tools have you used to measure the impact of your past social media campaigns?
Which metrics do you think are the most important to review when tracking social media performance?
Tell us about a time when a social media campaign did not perform as you hoped. What were your biggest takeaways from this experience?
How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in social media?
How do you incorporate SEO thinking into your social media strategy?
How have you and/or would you deal with a brand crisis via social media?
What are some of the most common contributors to poor social media management?
Which industry influencers or brands do you follow most closely for social media management tips?
HOW A SPECIALIZED CONSULTING AGENCY CAN STREAMLINE YOUR SEARCH
If you’re hiring a social media consultant but can’t find the right candidates or don’t have the time to manage the search, partner with Simplicity. As a long-standing leader in the industry, we have access to a deep pool of social media consultants who can help you level up your social media game.
Our team will be right there with you through every step of the process. We’ll help you to identify your organization’s specific social media needs, develop a detailed project outline, create a shortlist of consultants based on your goals, coordinate working sessions with the experts you’re most interested in, and guide you through the selection process.
Once you select a social media consultant, you’ll work with one of our dedicated client success managers to ensure smooth sailing from kickoff to completion.
IN THE MARKET FOR MARKETING CONSULTING SERVICES?
There is no shortage of reasons why you may be looking into hiring a marketing consultant. Whether your organization is experiencing a hiring freeze, a specialized skills gap in your department or organization, a sudden departure of a top performer, or maybe your company just needs a fresh perspective on your marketing efforts from an expert – working with a marketing consultant can help ensure your business goals remain on track.
Depending on your needs, marketing consulting services can connect you with a generalist who can help you with big-picture marketing strategy or a consultant who can hone in on more specialized areas of focus, such as content strategy, executive communications, paid advertising, email marketing, social media, or branding.
If you’re considering bringing on a marketing consultant, here are six tips to consider:
DETERMINE WHAT YOU NEED FROM A MARKETING CONSULTANT
Marketing consulting services can offer help in an array of focus areas. Saying you need a marketing consultant is similar to saying you need to go to the doctor. Do you need a general check-up and some actionable advice? Or do you need a highly specific marketing issue addressed? In this case, think of what marketing pain points you need assistance with. Is it your overall marketing strategy or a highly focused need around your content marketing plan, for example. Once you know what you need, consider your desired timeframe and end goal.
Establishing clear parameters can help in your search for a marketing consultant as well as when finalizing the project.
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT OF YOUR MARKETING CONSULTANT
Expanding upon the points above, it’s important to outline the expectations you have in mind for the marketing consultant to ensure they can deliver what you need. Is there a key performance indicator you will be relying on them to help you meet? For example, if they’re coming in to develop your social media strategy, are you looking at streamlining your brand messaging across multiple platforms? Or are you trying to target a new audience on a specific platform to help expand your overall reach?
You will likely want to talk through these expectations and goals with marketing consultant candidates to make sure that you are aligned in your goals and on the same page before moving forward.
LOOK FOR EXPERIENCE BACKED WITH A STRONG REPUTATION
Once you start your search, you might find that you are feeling overwhelmed with potential options. But experience and reputation in the industry should take precedence when narrowing down your pool of candidates. Your marketing consultant should understand your specific niche within the industry and ideally have experience implementing successful marketing strategies for brands like yours.
Once you’ve identified your top marketing consultant picks, it’s time to start reaching out so you can learn more about their full range of service offerings.
ASK FOR CASE STUDIES FROM THE MARKETING CONSULTANT
Beyond providing insights into their process, potential marketing consultant candidates should be able to provide real-world examples of how they were able to successfully implement a strategy that led to meaningful bottom-line results.
If you’re looking for a consultant with expertise in brand management, for example, you should ask them to share past strategies that contributed to building awareness around a specific brand or protecting the overall health of a client’s brand. These case studies should line up with your needs and expectations.
And make sure to ask for multiple references that you can follow up with to learn more about the strengths of a marketing consultant candidate.
REVIEW YOUR MARKETING CONSULTANT CANDIDATE’S PORTFOLIO
In addition to talking to your candidates and their referrals, closely review their actual work and get a feel for the depth and breadth of their capabilities. Depending on their expertise, not all marketing consultant candidates will have a designated portfolio, but it’s important to ask for examples of their work whether that be writing samples, social-media and/or email marketing campaign launches, or a branding strategy kick-off presentation, just to name a few.
If you see work that impresses you, ask questions about the context behind it and most importantly, how it helped the client move business forward.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE QUESTIONS ASKED OF YOU
While we’ve unpacked a lot of information to help you navigate your search for a marketing consultant, it’s also wise to note what questions each potential consultant asks you.
These questions can provide a lot of insight into the dedication and interest the consultant has in both your business and your organization's objectives. Some things to consider might be, did the marketing consultant candidate ask insightful follow-up questions that indicate they did their research on your company and actively listened to both the needs and primary marketing pain points you addressed?
For a marketing consultant to achieve success, they must dedicate time to learn everything they can about their clients, their short and long-term goals, and their core objectives. The relationship is a two-way investment, your investment in their work and their investment in your success, so it is critical to look for a marketing consultant that can demonstrate a commitment to your specific needs early on.
HOW SIMPLICITY CAN HELP
Simplicity has years of experience matching clients with experts who have a proven track record in the Digital Marketing, Project and Program Management, and Communications spaces.
We have access to a wide pool of strategic consultants who thrive on driving impact through project-based work. These experts are available to tackle your most complex marketing challenges and pressing projects.
When you partner with Simplicity, we will first work with you to identify your organization’s needs and then help you outline the project so that we can determine the skillset and experience you need to meet your goals. From there we will make a shortlist of consultants that will best suit your needs based on your project and budget. Next, you pick your top consultant candidates, and we will set up a working session where you can get a feel for their thought process, strategic approach, and working style. Finally, we work with you to select the right fit for your organization.
We like to say matchmaking is our superpower, but we don’t stop there. Once you select a candidate, our team ensures you get to remain the client; you don’t also have to be a coach. As a leader, your managerial plate is likely full. We manage our consultants to ensure that your business needs are being met. You’ll work with one of our dedicated client success managers to ensure satisfaction from the consulting engagement kickoff through the delivery of the final products.
HOW AND WHY TO HIRE A COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT
You might have the best service or product in the industry and an equally stellar brand image – but if you don’t know how to tell your story and communicate with your audience – how is anyone supposed to know what makes you special?
With that said, a clear and engaging communication strategy should not be exclusive to reaching your external audience – it’s also is important to prioritize internal communications. Doing so helps create and improve the connection between your employees and your organization’s vision and values.
How your company communicates with its audience on the outside and its employees on the inside is foundational to your organization’s overall success. As such, hiring a communications consultant might be just what you need to help take your business to the next level.
There are a variety of reasons you might look to a consultant for your communication needs instead of a full-time employee; your organization could be in the midst of a hiring freeze, your communication’s wizard might be on leave during a critical stretch, or perhaps your company is just getting started and you need help getting a communications strategy in order.
If you’re looking to hire a communications consultant, here are a tips to consider as you begin your search.
DETERMINE WHAT YOU NEED FROM A COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT
Before you officially start your search for a communications consultant it’s helpful to first evaluate your specific communications needs and goals. Do you need help with external or internal communications – or both?
Below are examples of some areas in which a communications consultant can help:
Big-picture communications strategy: This could include a mix of internal and external communications, and involve building a program from the ground up or overhauling an existing one. A consultant’s first step might be be to perform a holistic big-picture audit of your organization’s approach to communications, identification of core communication needs, and to then develop a tailored strategy to meet your specific goals.
Executive thought leadership: A communications consultant can help you develop a strategic thought leadership program (or even ghostwrite certain pieces of content) to help you build and grow the reputations of key leaders, which will in turn boosts awareness and credibility around your organization and brand.
Content marketing strategy: This might include developing an editorial and promotion calendar for blog posts and articles or creating a strategy for email marketing campaigns and social media content. A communications consultant could be hired to develop a plan to be carried out by others or to help produce the actual marketing content material.
Public relations: Building relationships with media, industry publications and influencers in your field can take a lot of time and effort. And developing a message that will resonate with journalists and assignment editors as a worthy pitch – requires thoughtful curation. Oftentimes a communications consultant with experience in this field will already have established relationships with these sources and will know what to pitch to whom and how.
Crisis communications. Some communication consultants focus on PR crisis management. They can provide messaging guidance on how and when to share information with the public while protecting your organization’s reputation and best interests.
Internal communications: This could include general HR communications informing employees of key company updates, new hire announcements, and health and safety information. Or it might be higher-level executive messaging like CEO town hall presentations and quarterly KPI overviews. If your organization is experiencing a big transformation, a communications consultant could help with change management communications. Examples could include mergers, acquisitions, layoffs/hiring freezes, or changes in leadership.
Whether your needs are larger in scale or more specialized, a communications consultant can be hired to do high-level strategy or execution work such as writing white papers and speeches or creating PowerPoint pitch presentations and crafting press releases, and in some cases, a mix of both.
LOOK FOR A CONSULTANT WITH EXPERIENCE AND A STRONG REPUTATION
There are plenty of people out there today marketing themselves as communication experts, but not all communication consultants are created equally.
Seek out those who have experience specific to your needs. For example, if you need help with media relations, make sure that your communications consultant candidate has experience with media and public relations specifically. In addition to experience writing press releases, they should be able to demonstrate how the ideas they pitched led to positive media coverage, whether it be published articles, on-air spots, or interviews.
Once you have identified a pool of communication consultant candidates that match your needs, it’s time to start conducting interviews.
Before you start the interview process, pull together a list of questions to ask all your potential candidates to better understand what value they could bring to your organization.
These questions should be tailored to your organization and your specific communication needs. They could include general queries as well as opportunities for candidates to talk about the value their work has provided to past clients and employers.
Some communication consultant interview questions to consider include:
How would you help our company establish an impactful communications strategy that aligns with our overall business goals?
If we bring you on board as a communications consultant, what would be the first step in your process?
What is the most critical skill or trait for a communications consultant to possess?
How would you describe your personal communications style?
How do you tailor communications for target audiences?
Aside from metrics identified by a client company, how do you measure your own success at the completion of a consulting project?
What do you think is the most important goal of an internal communications strategy?
Describe a situation in which you successfully coordinated a complex communications project. What made it a success?
Have you ever had to deal with a challenging PR problem or crisis management? How did you handle the situation?
While the questions you ask of your communications consultant candidate are important, just as telling are the questions they ask of you. What they ask you can shed light on the level of dedication and interest the candidate has in your organization and your communication objectives. Above all, you want the communications consultant you hire to be an expert communicator and the interview process is your first chance to get some meaningful insights.
REVIEW PORTFOLIOS AND CASE STUDIES CAREFULLY
Next, it’s time to see what kind of work your communications consultant candidate has produced. This could include previous communication strategy kick-off presentations, press releases, editorial calendar plans, blog posts and newsletters, internal communication reports, and executive presentations just to name a few. If you see examples that pique your interest, ask the candidate questions about their process and the success of those projects.
While it’s helpful to see a range of work from the communication consultant candidate to better understand their range, pay close attention to examples that align with your particular needs.
Lastly, ask for several professional references you can contact so you can learn more about the working style and strengths of your communications consultant candidate.
HOW SIMPLICITY CAN HELP YOU HIRE A COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT
Simplicity has a long history of matchmaking clients with experts in Communications, Digital Marketing, and Program and Project Management. We have access to a wide array of communication gurus with varied specialties to help you with your most pressing communication needs.
Simplicity uses a high-touch and multipronged approach to ensure you find the right communications consultant for your team.
We work together to help identify your organization’s specific communication needs
We develop a project outline to make sure we find you a communications consultant with the skillset and experience needed to meet your objectives
We develop a shortlist of consultants that best suit your needs based on your project outline and budget
You pick your top communication consultant candidates and we then set up a working session to allow you to get a better feel for their strategic approach and working style
We work with you to select the person who is the best fit for your organization
And it doesn’t stop there. Once you have chosen your communications consultant, we take over the heavy lifting of managing the consultant to ensure your business needs are being met. You’ll work with one of our dedicated client success managers to ensure satisfaction from the consulting engagement kickoff through the delivery of the final products.
HOW TO HIRE A BRAND CONSULTANT
Does your organization need branding help? Working with a brand consultant to help you understand what moves the needle with your target audience could be just what you need to take your business to the next level. A brand consultant is an expert in brand development and management that works with companies to cultivate, fine-tune, and grow their brand.
Whether you need a branding guru who can provide big-picture strategy insights or someone with a specialized area of focus, working with a brand consultant agency like Simplicity can help you streamline your search.
DETERMINE WHAT YOU NEED FROM A BRAND CONSULTANT
Before you begin your search, think through your unique needs. Do you need a complete branding overhaul? This might involve deep branding research, positioning development, and understanding the full customer journey. Or do you need insights into a specific area like branding creative and design where you primarily need to establish better visual cohesion across various platforms?
A brand consultant can help your organization with a variety of key ways, including researching industry trends, conducting brand health audits, strategizing brand architecture, developing and launching marketing campaigns, and optimizing external and internal communication channels to improve brand awareness and reach.
Once you have a full grasp of what you need from a brand consultant, think through your timeline and end goals. Do you need short-term help with the launch of a new product? Or are your needs more long-term regarding preserving brand health and integrity?
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A BRAND CONSULTANT
Brand consultants should be experts in their field, and while they may have a specific niche, they should be experienced in brand research, brand strategy, brand design, and brand management.
As you search for brand consultant candidates, here are some skills and attributes to look for:
Strong research and analytical skills used to identify and predict trends and challenges
Proven ability to extract meaningful information from consumer insight research
Well-versed in leveraging a range of platforms and channels to build brand awareness
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Ability to think creatively and strategically
Keen attention to detail
Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively
Once you’ve identified candidates for a brand consultant role, it’s time to set up an interview to learn more about their specific service offerings. Following are some questions to consider asking brand consultant candidates:
When you begin a brand research project, how do you decide what insights and metrics to target?
What is the biggest mistake a company can make when it comes to brand development and management?
What do you think our organization could gain from your skills and experience?
What are the most important steps an organization can take in preserving its brand health and integrity?
How have you helped a brand improve its reputation after a failed marketing campaign or lackluster product launch?
What are some of your favorite marketing campaigns and how did they improve brand awareness for the organization?
Just as important as how the candidate answers your questions will be what questions they ask of you. These queries should demonstrate a vested interest in your organization, your existing brand, and the success of the goals you’ve communicated to them.
HOW SIMPLICITY CAN HELP YOU FIND THE RIGHT BRAND CONSULTANT
Simplicity is a matchmaking expert, connecting clients with professionals in the Digital Marketing, Project and Program Management, and Communications spaces. We have access to a vast network of brand consultants with a proven track record of success.
We pride ourselves on working with our clients through every step of their journey. We will work with you to create a project outline to fully understand the level of skill and experience you need, compile a shortlist of brand consultants for you to choose from, and then set up working sessions between you and your chosen candidates to help you find the best fit possible. Once you’ve selected a brand consultant, you’ll work with one of our dedicated client success managers to ensure satisfaction from the consulting engagement kickoff through the delivery of the final products.