How to hire a real social media ‘expert’
Thinking of hiring someone to coach you about social media? Do you need help to launch social media channels, develop content and strategies for social media, or guide you through the maze of advertising on social media?
It’s an important step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just as you wouldn’t throw away money on weak marketing with weak ROI, you shouldn’t do the same with hiring social media ‘experts’. It seems there are social media ‘experts’ around every corner today. Buyer beware: you pretty much get what you pay for. Social media is your brand’s social business card today. Screw that up or put it in the hands of inexperience and your branding is at risk.
It seems today that folks can read a few articles about social media and then hang out a shingle that says Social Media Expert.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind, if you are considering hiring a social media ‘expert’ to help your business or organization:
Do your homework and check credentials: Social media is like the wild west today. Lots of people are pitching themselves as experts. Experts’ with a few months experience are not experts. Just adding social media to a suite of marketing services does not make an agency an ‘expert.’ You need to ask the ‘expert’ what they’ve done, whom they done it for, and what were the results. Being able to create a new Facebook page, add a banner and a couple of first posts does not make anyone a social media expert. If this is all you need done, then that’s fine. But let’s not confuse people who can set up a social media account for you, or show you a few This is how you post tips with true social media strategy professionals. Half the kids at the local high school can set up a social media account for you. That doesn’t make them strategy professionals. Real experts have stories, many stories, of building social media success for others. You should hear these stories before you hire them.
Is the person active on social media?: You can’t teach what you don’t do. Period. And when we talk about doing, we mean doing social media for more than a few months or even a couple of years. We also mean being diverse in their social media. Do they only use Facebook? Do they use multiple social media channels but post all the same content on each? (Hint: That’s a major fail!) Look at the content they post. Is it simply resharing other people’s content. Or is it original content that instils confidence that they are a thought leader? It is mind-boggling to see so many people pitch themselves as ‘experts’ when they barely participate in social media. Real experts can point you to their own hugely successful social media channels as evidence of walking the talk about what they preach. You can’t build success stories for others if you don’t have success stories of your own.
Do they truly understand Content Creation?: Good content is the fuel on social media today. Good content organically grows fans the fastest. But before you can even get to that point, you need someone who will get to know your business and develop a strategy that is aligned with content creation. Content is the most crucial piece of every social media strategy. Anyone can push out a message but only true professionals have the deep experience that has provided them with insights about what works and what doesn’t. Your brand doesn’t have time or money for inexperienced ‘experts’ who wing it. Today, bad content can actually cause your entire social media Reach to spiral downward which will negatively impact your ability to get your message out there. (P.S. If you don’t understand how this could happen, reach out and I’ll explain!). Real experts will gladly show you their channels and let you see their content strategies.
Do they understand Analytics?: Social media professionals give you reports and analytics, or they sit down and show you analytics and explain them. Analytics tell a story. Real experts can extrapolate what that story is and how it pertains to you improving your social media. Real experts know that educated clients aren’t fooled into believing Reach is the most important analytic. So real experts go way beyond Reach when they provide reporting or sit down and explain analytics to you.
Do they understand Strategy?: Lots of people throw around the word strategy. But do they really understand what it is? Real social media pros are able to see what audiences crave and what content will resonate. That’s because they have the experience and anecdotes from doing strategy for others. They’ll steer you in the right direction because they’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Real experts don’t do something because they ‘think’ it will work for you. Real experts do what WILL work for you. That’s why you pay them what you do. Experience has value.
Ask for references: Nothing stops a conversation dead in their tracks with an inexperienced ‘expert’ than the good old reliable “Can I have some references of campaigns or customers that you’ve worked with?” Real experts don’t stumble and stammer. They say, yes. Fast.
By Gregg McLachlan
Learn more about the social media services that I offer and why experience matters