Yesterday I was drawn into a discussion on the value of social media consultancy. I came across a conversation which suggested that people should not be paying “so called” social media consultants to provide a service around tools which are free, specifically social networking sites.
It may well be a fair point, the sites are all free to use after all so why pay someone to use them for you?
Well, I can think of plenty of reasons
Not least of which is that it’s nothing new to pay someone for a service that you don’t have the time or the will to do for yourself. Cleaner, taxi driver, nanny, PA, website designer, kitchen fitter…the list is probably without end. We pay these people for their time which allows us, in turn, the time to do whatever it is that we do best. We also pay them for their skill and experience, knowing that, in most cases, they will do a much better job than us.
I can only speak of my own practise when it comes to social media “consultancy” but I firmly believe that my skills and experience make me worth paying for. I’m not setting up a twitter account for you and telling to you to tweet before holding out my cap. In fact, I’m kind of assuming that you’re willing to at least make that step for yourself because from that point on you’re going to be using it a lot more.
What do I do?
What I offer clients is an analysis of their communications and marketing efforts. From there I can then advise as to what I feel would best suit them in terms of improving their visibility online.
I spend time learning about their business, then I spend time learning about their clients. I then spend more time thinking about how they might be better engaged in conversation. I set up search feeds to listen to the conversations, after which I draw up plans for how best to join them.
I help them improve their websites to include more relevant and up-to-date content. I edit their blogs for them. I hold their hands and I prompt them, I reassure them and keep their best interests at the heart of my own. I represent them to other clients. I pitch them ideas to help them tie online and offline together. I travel in buses, taxis and trains to meet them in cafes and talk to them about improving what they do.
And, as if that’s not enough, I then come on here and blog about how I’m doing it.
I do all of the above very well
I do it very well because I have 15 years experience of digital communications. You seriously can’t underestimate that when you’re poised to press send on an email campaign which is going to roll out to 50,000 people. I’ve worked for an enormous cross section of clients and understand the marketplace online for anything from whisky to community food initiatives. I also love what I do.
Now, believe it or not, all of this “so called” stuff takes up a lot of time. My time which I’m spending to improve business for my clients. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I prefer to be compensated for that.