Saturday, January 14, 2012

Social Media Consulting

When someone really understands a client's business, and has solutions for fixing what seems a bit less than fully functional, or enhancing and strengthening the best things that are already being done, it's like looking up at a chilly crisp sky and feeling a strong sense of purpose and promise.

To efficiently apply your expertise to a business problem, and then see how happy the client becomes, that's what the work is all about.

The project well done and super professional throughout.

A marketing sector masterfully entered and starting to see a trend toward dominating the category, as the top of mind choice for consumers.

Social marketing consultants vary greatly in their skills, experience, and technical savvy. Many will recommend many things, but only be able to personally produce a very limited range of marketing strategies and types of web content.

The client typically requires more than just chatting in a status update loop on several hot social networks. A good social media strategy must include a variety of content delivery modules: long-form blogging, micro-blogging, mobile networking, CEO videos, product demonstration videos, audio podcasts, photo galleries, and micro-market nichecasting.

All of which fall under the responsibility of the social media consultant, and preferably, will be accomplished or personally overseen by the consultant.

Armed with a good comprehension of the business, its products, target customer segments, and sales goals, you commit to specific goals, not just doing something in an unsophisticated though enthusiastic manner. The client wants to rest assured that the consultant is doing the right thing, in the right way, all the time.

Improvement in search engine rankings, increased store traffic, sales upsurges directly linked to social media marketing campaigns, and other objectives must be considered and used as quantifiable results in assessing the success of the consultant's work.

Once these goals are in order, the next in importance is for the client to grasp their level of responsibility for helping the project succeed.  Sometimes this responsibility doesn't extend any further than occasionally evaluating your program, ensuring that the main thing remains the main thing, and keeping the project heading in the right direction.

A social media consultant is expected to rely on the client's periodic feedback to engender a confidence that the work is being done in a satisfactory and efficient manner, but even more so: that it's pointed at the exact goal now aimed at, which can change as a project grows, intensifies, and generates ramifications.

Social media must be played like a delicate instrument. Hit the wrong note, even just a few times, and your performance is pretty much over. Your intended audience that you intend to interact with must be accommodated and appeased.

It can be a challenge to get a CEO, or to act on his or her behalf, and still be normal without appearing too slack, to act like a regular person, a typical social network participant, who just happens to own or manage a business.

To behave in a relaxed manner, be a sincere, genuine, warm, caring, very human guy or gal, but also keep strict professional standards and never say anything that could be represented as being inappropriate, insensitive, or unprofessional.

What if accelerated interactions with customers on social networks results in too many customers coming into the store, so that your staff feels temporarily overwhelmed, not being accustomed to that much purchasing power pouring in that quickly?

What if people keep urging the client to get on a certain flavor of the month social media site, but there have been some dubious practices reported over there? What if it's all hype, with a lot of glitches, some unavailability, user dangers, or it's just of very uncertain value to the business?

Often the client clearly comprehends that some amount of assistance may be required, sporadically or consistently, in the form of assessments and guidance input, including answers to questions, responses to customer feedback, and similar interactions.

This compliance by the client to certain new, but mutually agreed upon, conditions and routines that have been duly established in keeping with the consultant's strategy and methodology must be acknowledged and accepted by both parties to the project, client and consultant.

The most effectively handled project loads derive from a good balance of client guidance and consultant research, taking what the sometimes changing or evolving needs of the client into consideration with outside studies of what the competition is doing and what the customer is starting to want.

To meet the changing needs of customers requires a merging of the consultant's expertise with the client's intimate knowledge of products, customers, and industry sector. Together, guided by an ever-increasing understanding of customer needs and interests, the business can thrive, while others are barely surviving.

Growth is possible, even in unfavorable economic conditions.

Let your customers be a primary source of information about how you're doing now, and how you can prepare to remain successful in the future.

This is where a good social media consultant steps in. Customer intelligence is vital and it's happening on social media. People are describing problems, specifying things they want, revealing their conditions and circumstances, and looking for solutions, or someone who can guide them to one.

Know it and show it.

Know what it is they're searching for, and the best way to supply it, and you've got yourself a market share. You can't help but win, even if you do a lot of things not so perfectly. A customer-centric online marketing strategy can separate the triumphant from the tried and giving up.

Having a solid, consistent, altruistic, not-always-commercial presence right where your customers like to hang out, this is the new marketing and it's getting more powerful and pervasive every day.

What's really nice is it's a lot less expensive, and easier to modify on-the-fly, than traditional media, some forms of which are rapidly declining.

It makes sense to use social media for competitive advantage. By the time your competitors really wake up and try to play catch-up, you'll already have the experience and results of social media marketing, occupying a position that will not be easy to usurp.

No comments: