I apologize in advance for my tirade, but an email landed in my inbox recently that just got me going! The email invited me to a panel discussion about how to use social media to get my business "seen". I was curious. Marketing Cafe has, in all due modesty, some expertise in this area. But the landscape is ever changing and there's always some new pearl of wisdom to be gleaned. What might I learn in the couple of hours at this panel discussion
So I read the invitation and went to the websites - and social media channels, of course - to learn more about the panel of 3 experts.
If you call yourself a social media expert...
...you should be a shining example of an integrated social media strategy.
Without getting into the gory details I found that the "experts" themselves didn't seem to have any real social media strategy. In one glaring example the link from her website took me to her Twitter account - with all 7 tweets having been posted between Dec. 2010 and 2009! And she didn't have a Facebook Page at all. Another had a pretty confusing-looking site that only linked to his Twitter account, though he did have a Facebook page and LinkedIn account both of which were active. The third did seem to have her act together. I could easily get from her very professional-looking website to her Twitter and Facebook pages, both of which were active with relevant information.
So why am I so upset?
I get upset when people proclaim themselves experts when they're not. I get upset when people jump on the bandwagon and take good money from hard-working people and they know no more than the people hiring them! I get upset because it casts a shadow over those of us who want to provide a genuine value to our clients and are actually walking the walk.
So what can you do to avoid the hangers-on?
Here are some great resources when you are looking to get some help developing and implementing a social media strategy.
Checklist of 25 Reasons Not to Hire a Social Media Consultant, by Kyle Lacy of Brandswag
Kyle's #1 is spot on. If someone's not using the tools themselves, how the heck are they going to teach you - or do it for you? Though I don't entirely agree with #16, "They advise you to start a Facebook page as the first step." I think people can develop a successful page without managing a personal profile. But again, it will depend on the client and the strategy.
52 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Social Media Company, by Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media
I love Lisa's Social Media Measurement Question #1 "What social media marketing channels do you have the most expertise in?" We don't all have the same passion or expertise across all channels; like most things we each have a preference and tend to favor that medium. For example, mine happens to be Facebook. I find it easier to engage in Facebook than in Twitter where its more difficult to follow the flow of a conversation. So I tend to do more in Facebook. But I recognize it!
Ok. I'm better now. And hopefully, you'll be better off too knowing how to avoid throwing away money on a social media "pro" who is learning on your dime.