UPDATED September 22, 2023

Executing social media marketing strategy takes a lot of time, effort and a creative skillset that not every business owner possesses. A small business owner can focus on running their business instead of wasting time and money on their social media efforts, you can let a social media marketing agency take it off your hands.

By now, you should have a good idea on what to look for when hiring a social media agency. But do you really know what you’re getting yourself into? Chances are, you don’t. It’s now dictated to just about every company that if you’re not using social media actively, then you’re missing out on building audiences.  One of the most important factors of establishing a solid social media presence is dependent on who’s in control.  Whether you hire in-house or outsource your social media efforts, you need to instill guidelines to drive efficiency and success.

So how do you establish protocol with your social media consultant? Goals should be set, realistic expectations need to be met, and everyone should play on the same team. Based on my years of experience training small businesses, I’ve set up a basic “Do’s and Don’ts” list for fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between a business and their social media rep:

  • Set up a productive workflow – in many cases, consultants often act as project managers so everyone needs all hands on deck. Know each other’s roles, track progress, and make productivity as easy as possible. This includes creating a collaboration tool that allows you to pool in and share important documents or files necessary for your social media program (i.e. Dropbox or Google Docs). Also important – pay structure! Establish a timely payroll and invoicing system so no one is confused on monetary transactions.
  • Have an open mind and listen to independent ideas – your social media consultant should know more than you about the online space. It’s their expertise that will guide you to using the best strategies for your social media program, so respect their insight and give them a chance. Don’t shoot down their ideas just because you’re scared of taking a risk. Discuss their ideas and come to a compromise.
  • Treat each other as equals – however you label your social media consultant – a staff member, employee, contractor, freelancer, etc. – shouldn’t affect the way you talk to them. Recognize that they are an important part of your business plan and work together as a team. Keep communication open and always be professional. This isn’t a superior/inferior relationship; it’s a partnership.
  • Don’t expect quick results – social media is a give and take process, and requires an investment of time, energy, and participation to increase desired results. Whether your goal is to increase traffic, raise followers/fans count, or boost sales, set up an appropriate and realistic timeline with budget and goals along the way for your consultant to work with. You avoid blurry issues this way.
  • Recognize accomplishments, examine disappointments – there is a lot of trial and error when figuring out what works in social media. If you notice that something isn’t going right in the language your consultant uses or the content they’re publishing – speak up. On the flip side, if you noticed a big jump in conversion rates because of your consultant’s efforts, thank them. No one should be left in the dark about this sort of activity.
  • Respect outside matters – this speaks to your consultant’s personal life or additional clients. As a freelancer, I make it a point to tell all of my clients when I have other assigned projects. It’s important to be clear about the amount of time you can allot to each client and the service required, especially for a job like this where you’re on call 24/7. If you’re out of the office or away on vacation, let each other know. If your availability becomes limited, send a note to re-arrange schedules. Be fair about balancing multiple gigs in between having a personal life.

The bottom line here is that consultants are hired to help a company elevate their online business. Implementing a game plan that brings about a cooperative working environment for all will ensure valuable and successful results in the end. So high five each other and get down to business!


Alisha Miranda is a freelance writer and social business consultant. With over 5 years of start-up experience, she’s turned her wealth of DIY knowledge into a full-time solopreneur career coaching young professionals and business owners on social media marketing. When not attached to her Macbook, she’s enjoying TV show marathons, a good burger, and cold beer back at home in Brooklyn.