They are everywhere. Hundreds and thousands of them inhabiting every nook and cranny of the online places and spaces you hold nearest to your hearts. I’m not taking about viruses, trojans or spyware, I’m referring to those self-proclaimed, “social media experts” that are just itching to get their hands on both your money and well being.
Granted, not all of them are bad, but there are many who throw morality to the wind and do some rather skeevythings to take advantage of you. Here are a few warning signs you should look out for when enlisting their services:
Quality versus quantity
It’s one thing to have an “expert” tell you about their patented formula for gaining the most number of “Likes” or ‘followers”, but if said Likes don’t mesh well with your target audience, you’re in no better of a position then when you first started.
Instead, ask the expert if he or she has a proven track record for attracting the proper audience and proof that the audience purchased the correct goods and services.
Do they “talk the talk” AND “walk the walk”You can sign up for a hundred social media seminars to gain knowledge, but it means nothing if all you end up sitting through is hours upon hours of sheer theory. What your main focus needs to be is whether or not a social media expert can explain through practice. I mean seriously, just saying “You have to engage the audience’ only goes so far. Can this person show exactly how that is done and why?
Again, this goes back to being able to show proof, hard evidence that an expert’s reputation is legit.
Are they ahead of the curve?
A good social media expert is familiar with sites like Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and the like, but a great social media expert is one step ahead of all of this. They are the kind of person that carries a Google+ account, Gowalla and Get Glue memberships and even a Pinterest account all at the same time.
Being up to date separates the “good” from the “best” in the social media game. Make sure that whoever you plan to go with has these and a few other tricks up their sleeve.
Do they practice what they preach?
Finding the right social media expert also means finding someone that engages in the same amount (if not more) of social media as they intend to provide you with. Do they write a blog? Does their business have a Facebook page and active Twitter account? If the answer to any of these is “No” perhaps it’s best to skip them.
Do they engage the audience?
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprise as to how many “experts” fail to follow this rule of thumb. In order to create and maintain a strong audience base, you have to be willing to interact with your, well, audience! If a customer or reader has a grievance with your business or website via Twitter post or Facebook message, it needs to be the expert’s priority to respond to that grievance as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that customer will spread the word on your lack of service. This will not bode well when trying to attract future followers/customers.
Image source: Alli (Featuring Alli’s dog, Mollie.)