I am NOT a Social Media “Expert”Anita Kirkbride
I know an awful lot about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and a myriad other social media sites, platforms and programs, but I don’t claim to be an expert. I live social media 16/7 (I do have to sleep sometime), both personally and professionally, but I don’t consider myself an “expert”. I spend hours each week researching new platforms, new management programs, new ideas, campaigns, case studies, formulas, analytics and infographics. I read articles, blogs, tweets, posts and e-newsletters. I converse with clients, friends and total strangers by Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, BranchOut, LinkedIn, Empire Avenue and even the occasional text message. I certainly have expertise in social media, but I am not an expert!
Why the rant today? The more time I spend on social media, the more often I find people who are calling themselves an expert, maven, diva, queen, king…what have you, but don’t seem to be doing what they think YOU should do!
I consider myself a social media “pro”. I am a professional social media marketer, a social media virtual assistant, a social media trainer and advisor. I am trained in Public Relations with a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University. I can look at a client’s goals and determine pretty quickly where they should focus their marketing and PR efforts–and help them do that. And when they come to my website, fan page and Twitter account, I want them to see what I can do for them and get a feel for my style.
I came across the website of a competitor the other day…not the first one, but the one that sparked this blog post. This Twitter “expert” has a Twitter account with six posts in three months. The question of how often to tweet is hotly debated, but I can assure you that everyone in the industry agrees that twice a month is not enough. Another business I recently found listed a wide variety of clients, but as I checked out those client profiles I found more than a few that were seriously out of date. These two “experts” can not be inspiring confidence in their potential clients.
Would you hire a photographer that had terrible photos in their portfolio? Would you hire a business coach who’s clients had all gone out of business? Would you hire a plumber with leaky pipes at his last job? Of course not! So why would you hire a social media professional who can’t even keep their own accounts up to date?
So no, I am not a social media “expert”–I am a social media professional. There is MUCH more I can learn about social media. I have a sneaking suspicion I will never know everything there is to know about social media. I tweet and post daily. My profiles are full of useful information, conversations with other tweeters, recommendations and retweets–as are those of my clients. I “live” social media. And I LOVE social media…all of it!
If you are considering hiring a social media “expert” to help you with your social media, here are a few questions to get you thinking and to help you find the right social media “professional”.
- Does this person have a personal or professional profile on the social media platforms you expect to use and are they well-kept?
- Does this company’s clients have up-to-date profiles/pages?
- Does the writing style of the person managing the profiles work for your business?
- Does the background (training or experience) of the person match your business goals? (a graphic designer is not an SEO manager, is not a website developer, is not a writer, is not a photographer…and none are necessarily a good community manager)
- Is this company simply going to tweet/post what you send them? Or will they research appropriate materials to tweet on your behalf? What are you comfortable with?
- Is this person telling me to do more than I really think I need to do? Do they have solid reasons behind their recommendations?
- Does this person understand how to integrate social media with other avenues of promotion you might be using (live events, newsletters, website, blog, or traditional advertising)?
- What systems are in place for dealing with negative feedback, problems, spam or internet trolls on your accounts?
- Will this company work to build your following? How will this be accomplished?
- What commitment is required from you or your staff to implement the social media plan you are implementing.
I think the term “expert” is loaded. I shudder when it is used. Who determines your level of “expertise”? At what point in an ever-changing field do you become an expert? How do YOU define “expert”? Let me know in the comments.