Good online media consultant for a small or medium-sized business?

twitter bird PascuzzoJohn asks:

I am looking for a media consultant. Someone to help our organization here in Albany with about 60 employees, with website redesign, and social media: facebook, twitter, etc. etc. We just don't l have the time to do it ourselves. Any leads on good local people?

There are a lot of people pitching this sort of service these days. We're not convinced all of them actually know what they're doing.

So, know of a local consultant or agency that would be good for a small or medium sized business? Please share.

Update: If you mention your own company or agency, please clearly state that you're affiliated with that organization.

Comments

I hear Relentless Awareness is good and very local.

My father's brother's cousin's nephew's former roommate is pretty good. I'll pass along his contact info.

This post will generate more spam comments for Mary and Greg to block than any other post in history.

Honestly, social media is really easy. It's all about actually interacting, on a personal basis, with customers and prospects. If you don't have time for that, then...what are you spending your time doing?

You can pay someone for "best practices" and "audits", but at the end of the day, you need to be interacting with your own customers.

Nationally, https://twitter.com/#!/zappos_service is awesome, and locally, https://twitter.com/#!/allgoodbakers.

I've seen some great stuff done by Duncan Crary. He's an AoA poster, too.

http://duncancrary.com/

John, do you already know what you hope to accomplish with your media approach and budget, and need help in tactical execution, or are you looking for help in formulating your underlying strategy and business goals for media?

Relentless Awareness loves working with small-and-medium sized businesses in order to improve their total public image through social media, web and traditional press.

http://www.relentlessaware.com

Please, please, please, please don't piss away your money on this stuff. It won't get you anywhere. I know what I'm talking about ... or at least like to think I do.

See: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/social-media-is-bullshit-bj-mendelson/1109152277

Erik and Brandon have it right. Don't waste your time, it's better if you handle it yourself.

If you want your social media to succeed, it must be done in-house as part of a larger communications strategy.

Your tweeter has to be privy to meetings at the earliest stages of planning. Your FB status needs to be posted by someone who understands that timeliness is next to godliness. And your website is only as good as it's last update - and more importantly, as bad as the expired information that is still available.

If you are doing anything bigger than a static "business card" sized website, hire an in-house webbie. So much grief, frustration and money saved.

Working with companies - I think if they are good at website design and best practices, hire a company that's focused on that. Then get a consultant to teach you how to navigate social media to do it on your own. It really should be an internal thing.

I'm not associated with them at all, but Outspoken Media over in Troy is one of the most respected SEO companies in the country. I have no idea how expensive they are though, so may not be a fit for a small business.

The cats over at OverIt do a bang up job. http://overit.com/

Outspoken doesn't do web design.

I'd talk to Overit before anyone else. I've known several businesses that have done business with them and are still going back to this day for more.

overit.com

The team at Corning Place Communications is well-versed in web design and social media management. For the past 12 years, we've helped a wide range of organizations across New York State develop and execute successful communication strategies.

Please visit www.corningplace.com to learn more about our award-winning team and wide range of services.

Website redesign is one thing, can't argue against that, it can be quite the endeavor, better left to pros. Social media... I like to show my love for social media and SEO now and then, but my gut feeling is that out of 60 employees, maybe one would be interested in allocating 30% or 50% of his/her time investigating that for you? As a first step. It's not rocket science, it would likely be cheaper, and this is a skill said employee could be happy to acquire in-house anyway (who doesn't want happy employees?). You don't need to be full on, all out from the beginning — quality over quantity, why not scale later?

Since you are basically dealing with marketing here, the more knowledge you can acquire early in-house to help you sift through the buzzwords, the better you will be prepared to hire the full time employees that will make up your comm team down the road (I assume you don't have one, otherwise that's what they should be doing already). Skip self-serving third-parties. 70, 80, 100 employees, you'll need one or more full-time on this duty at some point, right? Their interest will be better aligned with yours if they are part of the team. Hire then.

I like what Ars Technica publishes about SEO, it's cool-aid free. A recent article for example: I am SEO and so can you: tool helps tweak content for search, Twitter ("[...] an advance look at the latest version of a tool that helps bring SEO to the masses [...] Whether giving the masses the power of SEO is a good thing or not is another question entirely").

Can't believe I wrote this without using the word "engaging" once. High five. Pro tip: if you *do* meet social media consultants, make sure to mention Google+ and laugh. You may not get the joke (nobody should), but you will score points right there. End of pro tip.

Thanks, some good advice here. We are a medical group so we don't really sell products, or run specials, but communicating with the public especially when there is news makes sense.

Next Step Digital is excellent new start-up branching off from 33delivered. I am sure they can do anything you ask for and at a great price!

https://www.facebook.com/#!/NextStepDigital
http://www.nextstepdigital.com/

SJK Public Relations is great 518-209-1000

John, check out Zone 5 as well. One of our sector specializations is healthcare, so we understand the challenges and opportunities in that industry.

We do web, social media, print, market research, graphics, printing, PR, and all sorts of stuff under one roof. We can help your group with web redesign and in formulating a social media strategy.

http://zone5.com
http://www.zone5.com/healthcare

May I suggest Social Momentum?

http://www.socialmomentum.org

Great organization and a real vision for social media.

From past experience, I'd recommend Zone 5 - they did branding, web design and marcom/pr work for me and I was pleased with their work.

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