Shawn Christenson's
You don't have to just be someones 'Web Guy'

Become a Social Media Consultant – A 12 Step Guide

General

Are you a Social Media Consultant? Why Not?

Have you learned how to use Twitter and Facebook?  If so, you’ve qualified to call yourself a consultant.

Now that you know how to use Twitter and Facebook, you can use it to build your social media business. But first, you need proof that you rock.  You need to show your potential clients you know what you’re doing.

  • You need 10,000 followers on Twitter (Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter if you are following 20,000 people).
  • You need at least 500 friends on Facebook (You don’t have to personally know any of them)
  • You need 100+ Connections on LinkedIn (Ask for connections to Big Players)
  • You should start a blog and write at least once a week. (Only write about the success of your business)

How do you do all that?  Just go out there and start following and friending as many people as you can. Tell them all you’re a consultant.  Eventually, one of them will be dumb enough to give you some money to do the same for them.

Don’t Do The Above Please

Seriously – I am followed on Twitter by at least 2 ‘Social Media Consultants’ a DAY.  If I don’t follow them back I am un-followed soon after.  These people learned ‘How To Become a Social Media Consultant’ by taking someones $2,000 course.  They’re following a system and they’re just muddying up the aspects that actually make Social Media so effective.

These Social Media Consultants ‘proof’ is only around how they’re building their OWN business using the tactics and strategies they learned.  Most haven’t done a single thing for any other business but their own.

So here’s how to REALLY become a Social Media Consultant

I want you to first ask yourself WHY you’re contemplating becoming a professional in the Social Media Consulting business.  The challenges are plenty.  To do it effectively and with integrity – you need to put in time and effort in the beginning, like any other business worth doing.

Go read this article about the 12 Things that Suck about Social Media Consulting and then come back here.

Still want to do this?  Ready to build a Social Media Consulting Business? Okay, here goes!

12 Steps to Becoming an Effective (and Awesome) Social Media Consultant

1 – Find a family member or friend who could use some help getting started in the Social Media realm

  • Pick someone who doesn’t have a business.  Just someone who will use it for personal use.
  • Help them get interested in something they love.  Movie Buff? Get them involved in the Film Scene.
  • Offer to do it with them for free. (You’re working WITH people, not FOR people)
  • Get used to doing the steps you took for yourself, for someone else.
  • Keep a journal about what it’s like to do this with someone that isn’t you.
  • Highlight the points that you realize you’ll deal with each and every time.
  • Do this with as many people as you can.

2 – Now pick a family member or friend with a business

  • You’re now going to help someone use Social Media professionally.
  • Again, you’re going to offer to do this for free.  You’re just learning this stuff, and this is the best way to learn.
  • Let them know you’ve never done this professionally, and that they know their business better than you do.
  • You’ll discover quickly how personal use of Social Media is different from professional and corporate use.

3 – Map out a path to Social Media success

  • I can’t teach you this, this has to come from within you
  • This is the part that you need to be AMAZING at.  This is where it’s going to be hard before it gets easy.
  • Keep In Mind: You want to find out what their customer funnel is.  How do they go from no lead to a lead to a sale?
  • Try thinking about it as a potential customer of theirs as much as possible.
  • Be prepared for strong objections to ideas you have – this is all very new to them!
  • It’s new to you too!  In the beginning, you’re not the expert.  Let some things go – don’t be stubborn.

4 – Communicate Efficiently

  • You need to be clear and concise every step of the way.
  • If you have questions that need answered – make it easy for them to answer them.
  • In email I re-state my questions at the end in point form, and I say ‘AnswerThese’.
  • Whenever you get anything new ready – get it approved BEFORE making it ‘live’.
  • Ask lots of questions.
  • Answer lots of questions.

5 – Track all your time spent

  • Discovering how long tasks take you is key to turning this into a business.
  • Pinpoint places that seem to be taking longer than they should be (Too long in face to face meetings).
  • You can go simple by just watching the clock.
  • Or you can use desktop widgets, time-tracking systems and invoicing software.
  • I think Freshbooks is pretty awesome (They have a free version, but if you ever pay them, i’d make a small cut)

6 – Keep a Journal

  • You need to write down what is working and what isn’t.
  • Write out the processes and steps you take to complete all tasks.
  • Make note of what aspects seem especially hard for the business to overcome (Writing Blog Posts? Responding to Inquiries on Twitter?)
  • Keep a page that is ONLY for writing what you are LOVING about doing this.

7 – Decide what Metrics you’ll use to measure success

  • There’s plenty of aspects to measure a Social Media campaigns success, so pick the ones that make the most sense.
  • Some good examples are: Leads Generated (and from what network), Bounce Rate, Activity Ratio, Conversions, Loyalty, Interaction,
  • You want to find WHAT the business wants and then HOW you’re making that happen.
  • You’ll run into plenty of resistance if your success isn’t producing cold hard SALES.
  • To get over this, you need to illustrate how what you’re doing is leading to long term sales.
  • Possibly, illustrate how it’s lowered Customer Service time, or Salesman time.

8 – Set up a Monitoring Dashboard

  • Develop something that you can use to track and showcase the results.
  • A spreadsheet could work
  • A Mind Map can work and be very visually effective too

9 – Results. Results. Results.

  • You’re doing these first ones for free so you can start to get paid. The only way a customer will keep paying is if you’re producing results.
  • With your Metrics and Monitoring Dashboard in place, showcase the results whenever possible.
  • If you can show a solid statistic, don’t wait till the end of the month.  Set up a meeting and show it to them the very next day.
  • If you’re excited about the results your producing, they will be too.

10 – Do This for at least 3 more businesses

  • You want to be an expert at this.  There’s no point in building this business if you’re not going to be the best.
  • Having Case Studies to showcase your RESULTS to others, who will PAY you, if going to be integral.
  • It would be better to do this for free, than to do this for cheap.  Doing this for cheap just makes you cheap.  Doing this for free makes you generous.

11 – Start your Business/Blog/Website and your OWN Social Media campaign

  • What? AFTER you’ve done all that?  Heck yeah – now you have stuff to write about, from an Authority mindset.
  • Go back to your journal you kept, and pull out the best bits and write about them.
  • Give away all the knowledge you’ve learned.  Teach others how to do what you’re doing.
  • You only want the clients that want to pay you what you’re worth.
  • Not the clients that are only paying you because they don’t know how to do it themselves (they’ll hate you every step of the way)
  • Figure out how much you want to make a month, and divide up your hours accordingly.

12 – Get to know other AMAZING Social Media Consultants

  • You still have lots to learn.
  • Meeting others in your field of expertise, and being friends with them, will help you feel better about what you’re doing
  • There is no competition.  The other Social Media Consultants can be your best friends.
  • You can refer business to them when you are not comfortable taking on a client.
  • Go to Social Media gatherings around the world and meet them in person.

Being a Social Media Consultant is going to be a lot of work.  You really need to know what you’re doing and be prepared for it, before you start expecting the ‘big bucks’.  Your biggest fans will be those you help in the beginning.  You are free to ask them for referalls and testimonials – and they will happily do both for you because of what you did for them.  You brought them (kicking and screaming) into the ‘New Fangled Internets’ and also increased their bottom line.

If you have any other aspects you think people reading this should take into account, please leave them in the comments.  And if you’re just starting out and ready to build your Social Media Consultant Business – then make sure to read all the comments below too!  There’s bound to be some amazing additions i didn’t think of.

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  • Dizzybusymamas

    Do you need to have a degree or certification to call yourself a Social media Strategist or consultant? I seem to have tapped into a talent all on my own and it differs from my original path.

  • No degree or certification needed.  But this is why I illustrate above how to go about it effectively so that you can still instill confidence and professionalism, without the degree.  

  • I like to be a social consultant, but i am still working on internet marketing, but i am hopeful of getting this tittle soon, and i will be achieving this. Thanks for sharing your concerns about social media consultation and nice techniques have been discussed above.

  • I am just about to begin consulting work for a few different businesses and organizations.  This article helped very much!  

  • Prowler2117

    I am currently a stay-at-home mom to a 17 month old and used to be a clinical social worker.  I can't imagine going back to that mess right now and my mother, who is in the marketing business with her husband, suggested I look into social media marketing and such and basically learn how to do things for them as an "internship" of sorts.  I hear you about putting in a lot of time...as with anything...but do you think it is doable?  Should I focus more on one aspect right now, like e-mail marketing right now, as I am still a stay-at-home mom too?  

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