How do you know who is truly a social media expert?
Companies must transition from traditional marketing to social media marketing or somehow incorporate social media marketing strategies into their marketing plan. How do you go about this transition? How do you find industry professionals you can trust? How do you determine whether someone is truly a social media expert?
I just read a great article and one of the standout points was this - 'Hire for attitude and aptitude rather than skills' I should add that a skills base is definitely required and desired, however, the point made is that the person who you hire in the end should be a good fit for your company's voice, someone who is enthusiastic and positive - this is a powerful combination that will undoubtedly make your business shine over the social media outlets.
I would start by getting out on social media sites and searching for industry -related items. Identify some people, maybe search LinkedIn, and then do a basic Google search. Then, depending on my goals, I would narrow the list by what they seemed best at. If you're trying to be found, then you want someone who has been good at increasing SEO and can show that they have moved clients up the search rankings. If you're looking to increase customer engagement, then make sure they can show that they are able to engage existing customers, etc. etc. The bottom line is that there are numerous specialties within the social media realm and any work that you do in social media should be a part of a larger marketing plan designed to fit your business. A social media expert should bring benefits that apply to your internal strategy. I don't think companies should transition to social media marketing, they should add it to their portfolio. Any social media expert that wants you to leave your old marketing behind and go 'social only' is probably just caught up in the movement. I firmly believe that you have to start with one outlet and increase once you've mastered it. Create a Facebook page, Twitter handle, Google + page, or Pinterest page. Get good at managing and interacting on one before moving on to the next. Again, until you've outlined organizational goals and what you hope to achieve, it's not going to help to be out on social media. Using Social Media without a purpose is usually pretty fruitless. A good Social Media expert will understand which organizational goals can be achieved through Social Media, which social outlets are best considering your organizational goals, and will be able to map out how the various Social Media venues can work together to achieve your organizational goals. Outside of that, the normal interrogations, reference checks, and some online searching should weed out the weaker 'experts'.
Check the companies that they have secured social media contracts with, and look at the level of engagement that's taking place on the various sites. Is the social media expert using the social media marketing funnel to attract, converse, engage, prospect, turn prospects to leads, and hopefully sales? These are the parameters you want to use in order to determine if the person/company knows what they are doing. Check out DragonSearch, http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/ and follow the companies that they support. Their platforom in my opinion is strong, with demonstrated results. Another thing, a company or individual who is a social media expert should have analytics showing you the click through rate, number of opens, number of followers, etc, which have been the result of their enlisted services. Also, check out hubspot, http://www.hubspot.com/. They provide lots of free info, white papers on building a social media platform. It's good to know what social media marketing entails so that you have an idea regarding whether or not a consultant, firm, etc. is doing the right thing. I hope these tips help. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more suggestions. I've done some social media marketing for some of my clients. That's not my niche, but I am very aware of what it entails in order to be successful and get some tangible monetary results.
This is a good question. I think getting a good reference, relating to your area of interest / needs is one of the best ways because some people are good at marketing themselves even with less than adequate capabilities.
Its a great question as there is no traditional avenue to locate a social media expert i.e a degree for it but one might look at a marketing degree or marketing firm. Even an online post like this would give you some idea and insights which would be very handy.
Great advice from everyone. I would just add that you should ask for concrete proof of social media expertise. Sure, increasing Facebook likes and Twitter followers is nice, but if none of these "likes" actually result in increased sales and customer acquisition, then it is worthless.
Real experts ask the hard questions and understand that social media is just a tool to achieve business results. That means they should be asking the business questions first, marketing questions second, and then social media question third. If they start with the social media questions there is a good chance they may understand the tools, but do not understand the foundational principle on which to apply the tools.
Remember...the internet is not about free marketing. The internet was NOT created for advertising...it is to share content. The strategy you will need is having content.
Who has the best content...the best blogs...You Tube channel. What website do you go to that gives this to you? Call them up and ask who they used.
See if there is a I Love Marketing Meet Up group in your area. These folks will be able to tell you who they are using. I also recommend that you use multiple channels including direct mail etc.
Check to see that they practice what they preach. Do an Internet search on his or her name. If s/he comes up all over the place in multiple social media sites, and does so regularly, they most likely do what they say they do. Do an Internet search on a couple of their keywords. They should come up fairly high in their rankings if they make the most of social media. Then read through some of their listings. See if they post about things you care about. See if they have followers who represent industries similar to yours. Check their testimonials. You have to go about researching them as thoroughly as you would a new car. If they are social media experts, your research should be "easy".
Hiring someone is always about taking a chance. I rely on referrals from others who have used the source. Having conversations with more than one person/company is advised so you can really get a feel for their work style. Another thing to remember is that they all have their specialties so really define what your looking for. What specifically are you looking for and maybe I can send some resources your way.