According to data from The CMO Survey, overall marketing budget devoted to social media is expected to more than double over the next five years, from 11 percent now to 24 percent by 2020. Unfortunately, 53 percent of businesses do not know whether social media is working for them.
Also, recent statistics show that social media is now the No. 1 source of traffic to websites, accounting for more than search engines.
This–coupled with the fact that 83 percent of Americans use social media and 59 percent agree that customer service via social media is essential–points to the growing dominance of social media.
The statistics we just looked at point to two things:
- Both for businesses and consumers, social media is absolutely essential: Since many businesses and brands don’t understand social media, there is–and will continue to be–an increase for social media consultants.
- To be efficient as a social media consultant, you need the right applications that encompass every aspect of your social media activity and business: This list includes more than just apps for managing social media activity; instead, right from the get-go, it features pretty much all the apps you need to manage your business as a social media consultant:
When you offer your services as a consultant, one of the very first things you need to think about is getting paid: How do you effectively track work you do for clients and bill them accordingly? For this, Due is a top choice for consultants and freelancers, allowing you to create customized invoices in a matter of minutes.
You can link your Due account with PayPal and Stripe, and you can also set it up to be paid via Automated Clearing House or cryptocurrencies. More important, you can integrate with BaseCamp to make communication with your clients easy.
Some other essential features include the ability to track time spent on projects, monitor cash flow, set up automated payment reminders and schedule recurring payments. And it’s free.
As a social media consultant, one of your biggest challenges will be customer acquisition. GetResponse makes this easy with email marketing automation, drag-and-drop work flows and integration with essential apps that will make it easy to attract leads and close deals. GetResponse’s strength lies in is its rich features at an affordable price–you get quality features without having to break the bank on marketing automation software like HubSpot or Marketo.
An enterprise-grade social-media-management tool, Oktopost comes packed with features that can help any aspiring social media consultant aiming to make a splash with bigger clients.
Unlike less sophisticated social schedulers, Oktopost allows marketing consultants to structure series of assets and social posts around campaigns. You can automate the scheduling of a campaign’s posts, build a calendar around campaign activity and repurpose the most effective assets as new post iterations. This is extremely powerful when it comes to attribution and return on investment tracking, both of which are areas that can make or break a consultant’s perceived value.
Oktopost also integrates with the industry’s top customer-relationship-management systems and email marketing automation tools so you can use data relating to social interactions with prospects to inform your clients’ audience segmentation constructs, manual nurturing and automated email work flows.
If you’re working with companies that have many team members, you can also use the employee advocacy module, which can help boost buzz via peer-to-peer sharing. With Oktopost’s employee advocacy solution, you can post recent brand content to a board, where your client’s employees can choose the links, wording and social channels they connect with most.
One of the very first things real business leaders worry about is how their social media activities integrate with their overall business and marketing strategies. How can you know if social media is working? How do your clients know how much sales and traffic your activities as a consultant are generating?
With Cyfe, letting your clients see the results of what you’re doing is extraordinarily easy. Cyfe is a dashboard builder that allows you to monitor all of your business data in one visualization; this can include social media activity, website traffic analytics and other essential data. Reports are also updated in real-time, and you can share them privately with anybody you want, including your clients.
Some key features include the ability to see historical data, schedule email reports of your data and export your data in a variety of formats.
Social media thrives on content. More important, you should be able to update all the right channels with the right content with lightning speed. With CoSchedule, you get to do just that.
CoSchedule has many features, including the ability to create a simplified calendar for your marketing activities. This allows you to plan and execute your social media strategy, and to monitor it all in one place.
The difference between a successful social media strategy and an unsuccessful one often lies in the involvement of influencers. Have the support of the right influencers, and your reach suddenly expands–you can make your message heard at any time.
With GroupHigh, you can find bloggers and social media influencers at any time; you can also sort these influencers by their influence, segment influencers with filters and have regularly up-to-date information on the influencers you research. This makes it easy for you to be more efficient about who you connect with.
It’s a well-established fact that 72 percent of customers expect a response on social media when they complain about a brand. Part of your work as a social media consultant is to help brands track complaints and facilitate a response as soon as possible, and nothing can damage a brand more than a complaint–in which you’re not tagged–that goes viral.
Mention does just one thing: It helps you track mentions of your brand everywhere online, especially on social media. It also helps you find influencers in your clients’ niches that they can connect with. With their dashboard, you can monitor what people are saying about your brand in real-time, and you can respond accordingly. More important, you can create reports to share with your clients so that they see that you’re actually working and getting them results.
Harald Merckel is a freelance writer whose primary focuses are business, e-gaming and marketing.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.