You know that social media marketing is important for your business, so you set up a few profiles on the big networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You likely have your own profiles on these accounts and are very familiar with how they work, so you figure you can handle posting for your business yourself.

Why would you waste any money on a social media consultant? You know how Facebook works. You understand what people like to read on Twitter.

Not so fast! There’s a lot more to social media marketing than that. Here are a few reasons why you should hire a social media consultant for your company:

Advice on Getting Started

There are literally hundreds of social networks out there, and at least a couple dozen that mainstream audiences use regularly. How do you know which ones to use? You have limited time and resources, and you can’t maintain a strong presence on them all. Hiring a social media consultant can help you figure out how to get started. The consultant will analyze your target audience and your goals and make recommendations for the best social networks to make the biggest impact.

Your consultant can give you information about what each social network has to offer and what kind of work will be required to maintain your presence on the site. You can also hire the consultant to help you set up your initial profile and develop a content strategy. You’ll reach your target audience faster and start getting the engagement that you need to meet your goals.

Content Management

Creating the content for your social media channels is the bulk of the work. You can turn content management into a full-time job if you are on multiple channels and you are doing the job right. Instead, you can turn that work over to your social media consultant and free up your staff to focus on developing other parts of your business. Your staff will be free to handle all those leads and sales that your social networking generates.

Your social media consultant can advise you on the types of post to create, such as what mix of information, entertainment and inspirational posts to create, and what strategies to use when writing your posts. Your consultant can also tell you the best days and times to post your content to get the most engagement. Your consultant can suggest article ideas, post ideas, and even potential hashtags for your profiles. If you like, you can hire a consultant to write and publish those posts on your behalf. You’ll meet or communicate semi-regularly to discuss your overall strategy and the results you’re getting, but otherwise, your consultant will handle the rest.

Community Engagement

You won’t get the most out of your social media presence unless you’re engaging with the community. You need to monitor the comments, respond and start a dialogue. You need to pay attention to your retweets and mentions so that you can say thank you or start a conversation.

Plus, you need to pay attention to all your mentions, shares, pins and retweets to know what people are saying about your brand. You can get out in front of any problems if customers complain about you publicly. A social media consultant can give you advice about how to manage your community engagement, or the consultant can manage these things for you. If you like, a social media consultant can run every aspect of your social media marketing.

Finding the Right Consultant

Before you invest a lot of money in hiring a social media consultant, you need to make sure you are hiring the right person. Check out industry forums and message boards to find out who people recommend, and read online reviews to see what other customers are saying. When you interview potential consultants to work with, make sure you ask about their specific experience, such as what kinds of companies they have helped and what types of strategies they use. Ask them about their philosophy for social media marketing and what they do to get results.

Find out how success is measured so you will know whether you are getting a return for your investment. Will you get quarterly reports? Monthly? What metrics will you be shown? Ask if the consultant uses paid promotions, and make sure that none of your likes or mentions will be purchased.

You’ll need to do a lot of research and a lot of interviewing, but all the work will be worth it in the end. With the right consultant, you can get the results you need on social media to grow your presence and drive more traffic to your site. With the wrong consultant, you’ll end up spending a lot of money without much to show for it. Put in the work and find the right consultant.