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October 27, 2009

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It is a great posting. I find it so help. I will come back and see how it goes on

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Great Information !! Thank you for telling all the criteria for Qualifying Social Media Consultants. One of my friend is practicing for it from long time. And It is my pleasure I get information here. Thank you very much.

Julie Tyios

These are all great questions - I feel that any consultant should be able to provide a history of published and proven results. The interesting thing about social media is that it's only relatively recently gained a lot of momentum as a widely-accepted marketing tool - Had you told businesses to jump on Facebook as soon as it went public, for example, you probably would have been a very rare exception (and perhaps even touted as psychic, today).

There are always trailblazers who set the precedent, and new opportunities for businesses to adapt to the online marketspace and use social media as a marketing tool pop up constantly. Social media's still a very new field, and I think it's very hard to find gurus or even many true hardcore practitioners. Social media is not a mystery, it's just another form of communication - One that anyone who is indeed a master communicator can adapt to and utilize. In short, it's not so much the medium that matters, it's a person's ability to communicate using it or any other tool.

An example? @RogersKeith, a former journalist who's now the senior director of social media and digital communications at Rogers Communications. There are many more - I think that if you know how to engage an audience for business, you can apply your skills and knowledge to social media as well.

Gil Yehuda

Whereas the 5 questions are a good start, I think you are neglecting to take advantage of all the differences between Social Media consulting and any other consulting. Your questions apply to any consultant or service provider (e.g. a good corporate lawyer, etc.). They are frontal and reflect the past. In other words, you are asking direct questions to the consultant about what he or she did. - i.e. Self-reported qualifications. Sure, you can ask, but you are ignoring all the other evidence.

In addition to Qualification data, you should assess Reputation data, which you can find by going online. Discover where your consultant has been found (do they blog, speak at conferences, get quoted in trade magazines, etc.) This alone won't do the trick, but it's more evidence. Also, what do others say about this consultant? Are they influential and respected by their peers (do they get blogged about?) Also how do they respond online to their comments? Do they get comments on their blogs? do they ignore them? act defensively?

And perhaps the biggest omission -- what have they shared freely? Social Media folks are measured by what they give freely -- which you can see and evaluate.

So, yes, asking frontal questions about things they did in the past is a good idea, but it's hardly enough to qualify the real legit voices from the snake-oil salesmen. I suggest you leverage the very capability of the social internet -- the listening capability -- and use that to help you determine if you have the right consultant. In other words -- if a Social Media consultant does not pass the social media test, then that should tell you much more than any frontal question.

Diane

I agree with the comments above. And though "specialism" is a word, it's not in common usage, so I would also use "specialty" instead. ;-)

I think these questions are a good start, but I would want to ask more qualitative questions as well - why should my business get involved with soial media? There is more to it than ROI and much of the ROI is not easy to quantify.

Allen Mireles

These are good questions and I appreciate your inclusion of some of the 90's vehicles (Compuserve--I loved Compuserve) if only for old time's sake.

I would agree with Tom that the issue of social media ROI is a hot topic right now and one that pulls opinions from across the board. Return on Investment vs Return on Engagement, for example.

Also, we need to remember that social media can effectively touch most areas of an enterprise and is not, or should not, be restricted to marketing/PR or corporate communications. A good social media consultant will be aware of that and able to suggest appropriate activities for HR and R&D departments for example.

Tom Pick

Good questions, though I would caution that measuring the ROI of social media engagement is a challenging and inexact science (see http://blogs.business.com/b2b-online-marketing/2009/challenges-measuring-b2b-social-media-roi/).

That said, this is a great start on a list of questions to help companies make a solid decision in a market with its share of snake oil types.

Jim FitzGerald

Specialism? Do you mean speciality?

Good list, though I don't think social media for business/ROI has really been practiced for more than three years, so finding many people with three or more years experience would be pretty tough. I disagree that Compuserve or Usenet qualify as social media platforms, as we define the term today.

Most candidates right now are either going to be deep in business experience (4 & 5) or social media tactics (the other questions). That will change, but the pool of candidates who can

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