How To Brief Social Media Consultants

So you’ve decided to start promoting your business in Social Media — and, to make the task easier, you’ve decided to hire a social media consultant. But how do you brief him or her? And how will you know if he or she is doing a good job?

The Challenges When You Use A Social Media Consultant

With Kiwi consumers overwhelmingly adopting social media (95% of them went to a social media site in the last month), businesses really have little choice but to get involved with the medium, even if it is through the use of a social media consultant.

But it is essential to give them an effective social media marketing brief.

What your Social Media Consultant needs to know

Your brief to your social media consultant should give them meaningful guidance on these seven questions:

  1. Who are you trying to reach?

    As with any marketing, an effective social media brief starts by identifying your target market. Understanding the target audience’s age, gender, location, interests, activities and passions will have direct bearing on both the content of any social media campaign and the networks your social media consultant opts to use.

  2. What are you trying to achieve through social media?

    For some businesses, the objective of any marketing (no matter the media channel) is simply to make sales. For those operations, the social media consultant might recommend Facebook advertising or similar sales tools. On the other hand, you might be aiming to build a customer support channel; to achieve that, your social media guru might suggest a significant devotion of time and resources to Twitter or WhatsApp. Or perhaps you want to generate leads, or improve your brand’s reputation.

    Whatever your business objectives within social media, you need to specify them upfront to ensure that your consultant is on the same page.

  3. What is your Brand Personality?

    Whoever is speaking to your prospects and customers through social media needs to reflect the brand personality and style of your business.

    An organisation that prides itself on friendly, homespun advice to anyone who walks through the front door needs to adopt exactly the same tone on Facebook. If you wish to be perceived as a thought leader in your industry, then your LinkedIn posts need to take the same proactive, well-informed approach.

    On the other hand, if your staff are not happy outside their carefully-protected comfort zone, you don’t want your social media consultant to be outspoken on Instagram or Twitter.

  4. What resources can your organisation devote to social media?

    You may think that by outsourcing to a social media consultant, you’re avoiding getting bogged down. The reality is otherwise: social media is a direct conduit  between your organisation and your prospects and customers.

    As such, it touches on every aspect of your organisation: marketing, sales, PR, customer service, logistics, the lot. Even if it’s the social media consultant’s fingers on the keyboard, he or she needs to be able to draw information and answers from, and supply follow-up requests to, every part of your business.

  5. What related topics are of interest to your prospects and customers?

    An effective social media presence is not simply about you and your brands — your followers will quickly abandon you if every message you post is just promoting your organisation. At the same time, your social media consultant must post information that is relevant to your customers/prospects and related at least tangentially to your business.

    A food company, for example, can talk about recipes (not only those featuring their products) or about last night’s TV chef surprise or ask followers for tales of their worst cooking disaster. Similarly, an engineering business might post about new technologies that will impact on Kiwi businesses in the next five years. Posting about upcoming concerts is unlikely to be relevant to any business but lifestyle brands, music labels, concert promoters and ticketing agencies.

  6. What key products and events do you want to promote (and how)?

    Social media isn’t purely non-commercial, of course, so you will want to brief your social media consultant to post stories about your products and your organisation, of course. The secret, however, is in exactly HOW you go about planning those posts.

    Consumers who like brands in social media do so because either (a) they do actually like the brand (they’re fans); (b) they want discounts and deals; and/or (c) they want to hear about new products and services.

    Actually, if they want to hear about the new stuff, they want to be first to know — and they won’t bother sharing stale news with their friends and acquaintances.

    So if you want your messages to have a chance of being shared, you need to brief your social media expert to first start building anticipation ahead of a new product announcement; and then leak the news in social media ahead of the traditional channels. Think about it this way: if you were a big fan of X, wouldn’t you simply die to get inside knowledge ahead of the crowd?

  7. How is your social media consultant going to be measured?

    Managers and financial controllers are now starting to ask tough questions about Return on Investment and whether social media really delivers value for the time and money involved. If you’re going to outsource to a social media consultant, you need to set some benchmarks against which his or her efforts can be evaluated.

In Summary

Outsourcing your social media can be a good idea — provided that you provide an effective and comprehensive brief that can make your social media marketing achieve tangible outcomes.

To learn more about how you should brief your social media marketing partners, check out our dedicated course on preparing an effective social media marketing brief:


Here’s what the course covers:

Social Media Brief Module One: Setting Social Objectives

What exactly do you and your organisation want to achieve through social media? We review possible answers to that question — taking into account not merely the obvious communications objectives that organisations typically set, but also those distinctly social attributes that most marketers overlook.

We show you how to review your own brand’s story and personality and how that will colour your social media efforts. We encourage you to re-examine your existing customers and prospects and determine what they might hope to hear from you through social media (and how frequently). And we take a look at social media objectives set by other organisations, for inspiration and guidance (and, in a few cases, as cautionary tales of what not to do in social media).

As a result of this module, you’ll be able to provide those who will be operating your social media programme with clear, agreed social objectives that (a) reflect your organisation, its heritage and the interests of its customers; and (b) take advantages of the rich possibilities inherent in social media.

Social Media Brief Module Two: Agreeing Social Strategies & Tactics

Once your objectives are in place, it’s time to consider possible strategies to communicate through social media. Strategy in this context means figuring out what you want to be different after you’re done implementing your social media marketing — and that evaluation process should NOT be left to those carrying out the programme (because they’re seldom in a position to determine the relative priorities for an organisation).

Is the appropriate primary strategy based around reputation management, customer service or just getting people talking about your products? Or are you looking for specific leads or even sales (and how should you do that in social media without offending everyone)?

Once the strategic possibilities have been winnowed down to a chosen few, then it’s time to look at tactics to turn those strategies into reality. Most of the tactical decisions can be carried out at an operational level — but it’s still very much worth your while understanding the sorts of tactics that are relevant in the social space. That information may shape your views on decisions such as who is the most appropriate team to implement your social media programme as well as identifying the people within your organisation who should be points of contact for the programme (it won’t be just you).

Decisions on tactics will lead in turn to decisions on which social tools should be used: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, WhatsApp, Messenger, the list goes on.

From Module Two, you’ll develop a solid base with which to have constructive discussions (and even perhaps robust debates) with your social media implementation team.

Social Media Brief Module Three: Planning your Programme

What should you talk about in social media? One thing you shouldn’t be is merely reactive, responding to situations and comments as they happen.

Perhaps the most neglected part of the whole social media process is planning an effective, proactive social media communications schedule. Not only do you have to provide killer content that’s relevant and engages your constituents — you also need to plan out what you’re going to say in advance, tied in to topical events, matters of the moment and your own communications programme. That’s not something that can simply be left to that nephew of the CEO who’s running your Facebook page in his spare time.

In this module, we step you through the processes you’ll need to consider when developing an effective INTEGRATED social media schedule that’s linked into your other promotional efforts. We’ll also encourage you to talk to your implementation team about Content Optimisation — identifying your customers’ hottest topics and using the most popular keywords in their posts.

Social Media Brief Module Four: Effective Facebook Posts

Facebook is New Zealand’s most popular social network by far, so it gets a module all to itself.

The biggest challenge for any business using Facebook pages these days? Creating Facebook posts that get noticed and get shared.

So this module tackles that problem head on, identifies the secrets of effective Facebook posts and shows you exactly what you need to do to stand out on Facebook.

We also discuss twenty different creative approaches that really work on Facebook (and show you how to determine which might be most relevant to your own organisation), so that you can brief your people accordingly.

Social Media Brief Module Five: Images

Images continue to be a vital part of the Social Web. In Module Five, find out what you need to know about Instagram, Pinterest and other leading players, including:

  • How leading brands are winning with the image-based networks
  • how you can make the most of rich pins on Pinterest
  • how to use Instagram to its full potential
  • smart content strategies across the image-based networks

At the end of this module, you’ll know the visual content assets you need to use to take maximum advantage of image-based social media.

Social Media Brief Module Six: Video

Facebook hosts at least eight billion video views per day. While there’s still some debate about what qualifies as a video view (3 sec vs. 10 sec. vs. 30 secs?), the overall trajectory of Facebook video consumption is undeniable.

Video is central to Facebook’s vision for the future of the platform. In 2014 CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying “In five years most of Facebook will be video”. Are we there yet?

In this Module, we discuss exactly what you now need to know about video and social media, so that you can brief your suppliers accordingly.

Social Media Brief Module Seven: Implementation

Finally, we turn to the processes required to make all this happen. We provide you with an appropriate framework for briefing your social media supplier, allocating internal and external resources and responsibilities and agreeing how the effort will be measured.

We also suggest a timetable for reviewing and adjusting your campaign, and how to evaluate the campaign effectively — do “likes” and “retweets” matter, how do you measure social engagement and what does it all mean?


By the end of this course:

  • you should be confident that you can effectively brief a supplier on your social media requirements
  • you should be able ensure that the results you are achieving don’t just “seem” good — they meet a concrete set of objectives consistent with your overall organisational goals


The next seven-module programme begins on Tuesday 23 July, 2024.

The “How to Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief” programme has been developed by Michael Carney


This programme is available for $597+GST.  However we offer an Early Bird Booking Discount of $100 — the course is just $497+GST for bookings made and payment received by Tuesday 16 July, 2024.

To register and pay by credit card through PayPal, please click here

If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit, or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to with details of your request. (The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Courses in your transaction and on your credit card statement).

1. Your booking will be confirmed by email (if you have not received a confirmation within 24 hours, feel free to email
2. On the first day of the course you will be supplied by email with the first part of your How to Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief programme.
3. Follow-up lessons will be sent out over subsequent weeks (but please note that you take the course at your own pace, anytime 24/7).


Michael Carney Written by: