[Free Virtual Event] Social Media Summer Camp

Join us and boost your social media potential with our data-led event

Register for free

Published June 27th 2024

Social Media Consultant: Key Strategies for Digital Success

What makes a great social media consultant? Here is a guide with helpful tips for success.

What makes a great social media consultant? Here is a guide with helpful tips for success.

Employing a social media consultant can be a crucial hire for a business looking to elevate their brand online and improve their social media management and strategy.

Consultants can be quicker, more effective, and cheaper than employing a dedicated social media management team. There's certainly value in ditching your paid job and establishing your own business as a consultant.

This guide will take you through the steps to becoming a good social media consultant. You'll need to be an expert of the digital age and be able to help clients understand what their goals are and how to achieve them.

You will play a key role in providing guidance on what makes content engaging, finding the right audiences and how to market to them, and the importance of analyzing data.

Different businesses and brands have entirely different objectives and may prioritize different platforms. So, you'll need to have a profound understanding of the current industry trends and know the types of content that work across multiple channels.

As a result, a successful social media consultant will be able to understand the nuances of different platforms and create a tailored approach to meet clients’ needs.

The role of a social media consultant

Being a social media consultant can be a full-time job, even if you only have one or two clients. You are hired to optimize a business’ online presence by providing advice and expertise.

As a consultant, your goal is to provide a strategic overview of how to improve your clients’ social media pages and turn them into a digital marketing success.

The basics of social media consulting

The primary focus of a social media consultant is to help a client develop and apply a powerful strategy that aligns with their values and objectives.

Using your expertise, you will tailor campaigns that will enhance the clients’ brand and drive impactful engagement from their target audience. The strategy must be robust and customized to clearly define and address the clients’ objectives.

It’s also important to advise the client on which platforms to prioritize. Do a full analysis of which ones they are currently using, address what is working well, and identify where there are gaps for improvement across their social media channels.

You should also be skilled in content creation so that you can develop content ideas that resonate with the audience they are targeting.

Start looking at data analytics and how the audience is currently behaving. This will give you a strong insight into the type of content creation the client needs, and help them predict future audience behavior based on that data.

Social media is a very fast-paced landscape that is constantly changing. Staying on top of the latest trends and technological advancements is crucial to your success in the social media marketing industry.

Types of social media consultants

There are many areas that social media consultants can specialize in. You may choose to be a platform-specific consultant such as TikTok, or you may opt to have a more comprehensive approach.

Platform-specific social media consultant

As a platform-specific expert, you will have expertise in a specific social site. So, you might have a deep understanding of how to best market a business on Instagram, for instance.

You might be an expert on visual storytelling, which means you can focus on how to create visually impactful content, whether it's stills, videos, or graphics.

Another area of expertise is the B2B aspect of consulting, where you would focus on LinkedIn and how the client can leverage the business side of their brand.

Influencer consultant

If you’re well-connected in the influencer world, you could specialize in helping brands build online relationships with social media influencers to reach a larger audience through collaborative content.

Many businesses don't know where to start with influencers and aren't quite sure what they're looking for. Consultants offering influencer outreach can get a lot of work if they specialize in one thing.

Crisis management consultant

You could also focus on crisis management, helping brands respond to online crises in a timely manner with a thorough strategy to protect brand reputation.

This is the ideal role if you're ready to jump in at the deep end and help businesses avoid social media disasters.

In the world of consulting, you need to understand your niche so that you can properly address your clients’ needs and develop clear social media strategies. Combine this with a concise and knowledgeable approach, and you can successfully build a strong career in social media consulting.

Building a social media presence

It is essential for any brand to build a strong presence on social media. But not all organizations have the expertise to do this, and may look to social media consultants for help.

Here's how a social media marketing consultant can help build that presence from scratch. 

Creating a personal brand

When helping a company build their brand, you need to understand what they want that to look like. Creating a unique voice is crucial because it will resonate more with their target audience and will help them stand out from the competition.

Take a close look at what the clients’ core values are and how your expertise can help elevate them. This will ensure that their social media channels develop a sense of individuality and improve their credibility.

Ask them how they want to present themselves, and what their goals are.

The next step is to define their audience. Use a tool like Brandwatch to really understand who the client is trying to target and how the current audience is behaving. With these insights, you can successfully tailor future content.

Be consistent because social media users love familiarity, which ideally leads to brand loyalty. Create a tone of voice that reflects the brand values across all platforms.

Also, make sure that all profiles look professional by using high-resolution images, clear and concise bios, and including links to their website or other relevant information.

Engagement and growing an audience

Once you've established the clients’ brand, it’s time to look at how to engage and further grow their audience.

You need to leverage their various social platforms to connect with the current target audience and ensure a consistent voice.

The first way to do this is to post content regularly without overwhelming the audience. Share content that is valuable and informative on a consistent basis to keep the audience engaged.

It’s also important to engage with the audience by responding to comments, questions, and messages. This will help foster a connection with the audience and deepen brand loyalty.

Reach out to influencers who align with the clients’ core values to leverage their followings and increase credibility. By working with influencers, businesses can reach a broader base of followers and built trust with their target audience.

Developing a social media strategy

Part of your consulting may involve developing or at least improving their current social media strategy.

This can be daunting at first, as there is so much to consider in order to make it clear and robust in a way that will positively impact their social presence.

Here are two steps to get you started:

1. Auditing current social media usage

The place to start is a research phase, by conducting a thorough audit of your client's current social media efforts, looking at engagement, follow counts, brand consistency, and ultimately areas for improvement.

Use a tool like Brandwatch to monitor all accounts and pull relevant data. This will give you a clear overview of their social media performance and a good starting point.

Take a deep dive into their content, noting down the types of posts they share, what the engagement rate looks like, and whether it aligns with their brand values.

Analyze the audience demographics and sentiment, to understand who is currently engaging with their content, and if there are any gaps that need to be filled.

2. Crafting a targeted social media strategy

After your social media audit, you can focus on developing a targeted strategy. You need to identify clear goals and objectives, understand exactly who their target audience is, and develop a content plan that reflects that.

Define the goals that they need to achieve with the social strategy. This could be anything from increasing brand awareness to driving sales, but whatever it is, use the S.M.A.R.T framework to make sure the goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Understand who the client wants to reach with the strategy. Look back at the audience demographics and consider age, location, and interests. This will help guide the tone of voice in the content creation process.

Next, you want to look at the content plan to define the type of content they need to share. You can use what’s called the 70-20-10 rule, which advises:

  • 70% of content should provide value
  • 20% should be user-generated
  • 10% should be promotional

Then create a calendar to keep track of posts and bring organizational structure. You can do all of this with social media management tools like Brandwatch.

These two steps will result in having a digital marketing strategy that you can present to the client. As a consultant, your job is to provide social media solutions, not to implement them. However, the client may want to hire you to take the strategy further.

Managing social media campaigns

As a social media consultant, you will often be asked to lead and implement a social media campaign to achieve a specific goal or objective.

This could be part of your business goals, or a new opportunity to work as a social media manager as well as a consultant.

Not only can you plan and execute something impactful, but you get to see the results unfold, which can be a satisfying experience.

Of course, there's a bit more to it than that, but we’ll look at that below.

Executing and monitoring campaigns

You need to set clear objectives when running a social media campaign, or you will struggle to achieve the results the client is looking for. Outlining KPIs, for example, helps you determine success and how to build on it.

Make sure you have a content calendar that brings structure to the campaign and allows you to schedule content ahead of time. You can do this with Brandwatch Social Media Management, which also provides data analysis.

You should also make sure that you monitor the campaigns on an ongoing basis and keep an eye on the performance of individual posts.

Engage with the audience across each social media channel by replying to messages and queries. This will keep them engaged in the future and make them far more likely to return to the page.

Analyzing campaign performance

A crucial part of managing campaigns is understanding how effective they were and whether the results achieved met the objectives.

Compare your results to the KPIs you originally set. Are they on target? And if not, what can be changed next time to achieve better results?

Identify any patterns in the data, such as specific content types that performed well or certain times of the day that were more engaging. Use these insights to ensure that your future campaigns can achieve maximum results.

What’s more, you can compare the results to their competition and see if they are performing better or worse on similar campaigns.

Finally, remember to document the results for the client. Keeping a record of campaign analysis is fundamental to measuring progress and making data-driven improvements.

With Brandwatch, you can easily create and send social media reports with all the relevant data your clients will love. 

Client and project management

Many clients want project management when it comes to social media consulting services. This means that you are responsible for managing social media marketing campaigns across multiple platforms and dealing with your client's clients.

This section will explore the relationships you have with your clients, and the task of managing multiple clients or projects at once.

Fostering client relationships

A key factor of a successful social media consultant is the ability to build strong relationships with the client.

You need to stay on top of things and be seen as a reliable consultant, or clients may drop your services.

When fostering these relationships, make sure you understand what the client’s needs and objectives are.

Schedule regular meetings to discuss progress and ensure they are happy with your work.

Be responsive and timely in your communications with the client. They are paying money for your services. It doesn't look good to be unresponsive, and at worst it can lead to an unhappy client.

Always show empathy for their needs. Clients will have different goals, and some may want more than others. Offer your expertise when needed, but also understand that the client may not want to accept every suggestion.

Make sure you maintain a high level of professionalism and that you communicate respectfully. If you are dealing with a client whose social media knowledge isn’t the best, be patient and explain things in an appropriate way.

If you make a promise to a client, then you need to make sure you deliver. Set realistic plans and deadlines based on the social media audits you've done, so don't overpromise. 

Organizing multiple client projects

Juggling multiple clients and projects can be daunting. Effective project management is critical to the success of any project to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and you don’t miss deadlines.

Brandwatch makes it easy to manage, track, and measure the success of the campaigns. These insights can help you in your client meetings to discuss workload and manage expectations around deadlines.

Discuss backup plans with the clients so that if something goes wrong, they know that you are prepared.

Staying ahead in the social media landscape

The social media industry is constantly evolving, so you need to find ways to keep up and make sure your client isn’t left behind.

Trends and strategies are constantly evolving, and it’s important for you to embrace these changes rather than dismiss them. Here are two ways a social media consultant can stay ahead of the game.

1. Keep up with the latest social media trends

As a consultant, you must stay on top of social media trends to be successful. You can do this by researching and subscribing to industry newsletters for the latest updates, news, and relevant influencers.

It's also helpful to be on social platforms like LinkedIn, where industry influencers discuss the latest technological developments.

This will give you brilliant insights and breakdowns of the trends that are relevant to your clients and help shape their strategy.

2. Adapting to platform changes

Aside from trends, it’s also important to keep an eye on any changes to the social media platforms themselves. They update frequently, and this can lead to changes in their algorithms and data.

Stay informed about algorithm updates and best practices to help you maintain an effective social media presence. Check the social networks' websites and official social accounts for the latest announcements.

You should also make sure that you educate the client on these changes so they understand the decisions you make on certain types of content and how it affects their strategy. 

Monetization and career growth

Growing within your industry is the ultimate goal for a social media consultant, in terms of looking at the bigger picture for your career vision.

After all, you may have become a consultant because you felt you'd outgrown the role of a manager.

This could mean taking on higher-end clients, or even just taking on more clients for your social media services. Maybe you want to become a business owner and bring more consultants under your wing.

No matter your ambitions, here are some tips for growing into the job:

1. Setting consultation fees

Whether you are a freelancer or a contractor, you need to charge your client fees that are fair and competitive.

When setting your consulting fees, consider what your experience is and how that should be fairly reflected in what social media consultants charge.

This plays a significant role in what you will charge, as you need a proven track record to justify your fees.

There is also the actual complexity of the job you are being asked to do. Some jobs take much longer to complete than others, so your fees need to reflect the time and resources you put into them.

It's also important to understand the market rate and adjust your fees accordingly. To be successful in this space, you’ll need to know what the industry rates are by staying informed about the competition in the digital marketing space.

Once this has been considered, create a fee structure that reflects what you bring to the table. You might choose to charge an hourly rate or just go for a flat fee depending on the size of the project. If it’s a long-term, ongoing project, you could even choose to go with a quarterly fee.

2. Expanding your social media consulting services

To achieve steady growth in your social media consulting services, focus on expanding your client list, and finding ways to enhance your offerings.

Attend industry-related networking events to connect with other consultants and attract clients.

Consider employing a junior social media consultant to help you.

It can be useful to find a niche in the market that you can specialize in to set you apart from the competition. This approach can attract potential clients who are looking for more specialized services.

Social media consultant marketing and lead generation

Guess what? A social media consultant needs to do their own marketing to achieve their business goals.

Otherwise, you could set yourself up as a consultant but have no clients.

Here are two ways to prove to others that you're a great marketing strategist:

1. Utilizing advanced analytics

Enhance your consulting services with advanced social analytics and present your clients with a smart, data-driven social media marketing strategy. You can gain a deeper understanding of audience behavior and use these insights to create better pitches.

Whether you are looking at website traffic, email marketing performance, or even just interactions from Facebook groups, being able to demonstrate that you can handle advanced data will set you apart.

Present your findings in detailed reports that are easy to access.

2. Converting engagement into leads

When you are trying to attract new clients, lead generation plays an important role in nurturing these contacts. Ideally, they will turn into clients.

If you have the time, you can quickly create a social media strategy template for a potential client and show them what they're missing.

A savvy social media consultant will also offer discounts for more work, offer to provide additional expertise, and work with a company's social media team to complete projects.

Thinking of joining the thousands of social media consultants out there? With Brandwatch, you can track and monitor campaigns, benchmark social media performance against competitors, easily create reports and take your social media consulting to the next level. 

Share this post
Brandwatch Bulletin

Offering up analysis and data on everything from the events of the day to the latest consumer trends. Subscribe to keep your finger on the world’s pulse.

Get the data
facets Created with Sketch.
facets-bottom Created with Sketch.
New: Social Media Management

Everything you need
to succeed on social media

Leverage the industry-leading, all-in-one social media management solution.

Brandwatch image

Falcon.io is now part of Brandwatch.
You're in the right place!

Existing customer?Log in to access your existing Falcon products and data via the login menu on the top right of the page.New customer?You'll find the former Falcon products under 'Social Media Management' if you go to 'Our Suite' in the navigation.

Paladin is now Influence.
You're in the right place!

Brandwatch acquired Paladin in March 2022. It's now called Influence, which is part of Brandwatch's Social Media Management solution.Want to access your Paladin account?Use the login menu at the top right corner.