Social Media Experts Should “Walk the Walk”

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I will say it many, MANY more times:

“If you are hiring someone, make sure they are walking the walk.”

What do I mean by that? Well, if you’re going to hire someone to renovate your house you’d check out some of their work first, wouldn’t you? When you looked into web designers for your upstart business, you looked at their portfolios, right? So PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE if you are hiring a social media consultant make sure they are taking care of their own social media in a manner you think is appropriate for such a “social media expert“.

If you are hiring a social media consultant make sure they are walking the walk.Click To Tweet


Things that SHOULD make you go “hmmm”

  • Your Twitter expert has few followers (yes, that is subjective) and tweets once a month, or worse, hasn’t tweeted in months;
  • Your blogging expert doesn’t have share buttons on their blog, their blog hasn’t been updated in months and the comments are unanswered;
  • Your online marketing expert isn’t taking advantage of social media to promote their own business;
  • Clients listed in their CURRENT portfolio have outdated pages or accounts (if they are past clients, their website should specify that or it looks like they’re not doing a very good job);
  • Blog posts don’t provide real value and feel more like an aggregation of information for you to research on your own;
  • The “expert” takes more than a couple of days to respond to questions on your chosen medium (unless you can tell they are away, but most of us are so addicted we take our social media on vacation, too);
  • Someone promises to get you 10,000 followers or fans but has less than that on his/her own account;
  • Someone promises to get you 10,000 followers. Period. (insert sarcastic grin);
  • His accounts are active, but all the posts/tweets come flooding in all at once;
  • Her posts, or her client’s posts, go at strange times (like midnight or 2 am when they are not the local bar or pizza joint);
  • Their posts are scheduled every half hour to the minute (a sign of obvious auto-tweeting)
  • She is running contests on Facebook that contravene Facebook’s Terms of Service.

Some of this may seem like common sense, but I cannot tell you how many so-called “experts” are not walking the walk. They say they can help you with your social media, but they seem to be in shambles themselves. How can you be sure they know what they are talking about?

Social networking, social media, social marketing…whatever you choose to call it, is about building relationships, just like in-person networking. If you are going to outsource your social media, make sure your “expert” is able to build relationships for him/herself because if they can’t do it for themselves how are they going to do it for you?


4 thoughts on “Social Media Experts Should “Walk the Walk””

  1. I would actually be suspicious of anybody using the title “social media expert.” We are all learning, together. I claim to be an enthusiast, many are certainly knowledgeable and capable, but with the speed and breadth of this field, claiming expertise would be a red flag for me.

  2. Alison, many people have said that to me, but many others just don’t think about it that way. I agree and I visibly cringe when someone calls me an “expert” or “guru”. I think it sets up expectations that are hard to live up to. I’m also seeing a disturbing trend now where people are calling themselves “experts” and clearly don’t use the networks…that’s the thing that bugs me the most.

  3. How can anyone be a guru when things change so often and new sites come on the scene and others fall by the wayside?
    Expert does make it sound like you should know everything but then what should people call themselves? Social Media Professionals? Consultants? Marketers?
    There is a kind of “gold rush” mentality in the Social Media world because the tools are mostly free and very little technical knowledge is required to start your own business and try to make a living. It will take time for the market to mature and for consumers to be accustomed to the culture and customs of the social web.
    It was the same with web design and online marketing. At first everyone jumped into the field and many bad websites were built by people with little knowledge or experience.
    Guess what. It still happens! Just not as much and most people are a bit more sophisticated these days.
    When the general public is knowledgable enough to see through the veneer of “experts” and “gurus” you’ll start to see less grandios job titles.

    • Exactly! Someone wanted to “title” me as a social media expert on her website and I asked her to change it to strategist. I think I’m probably extreme in my resistance to the word.


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