How To Tell If a “Social Media Expert” Is Faking It

Social media arose quickly as a prominent way for businesses to showcase their brand. Anytime, a product or service enters into the marketplace quickly there are opportunists that move into the space and become largely self-proclaimed experts. Hence, the rise of the social media expert.

Just last week I had a college senior reach out to me over email about working at my social media marketing agency, Social Marketing Solutions. When I checked this person’s LinkedIn profile, there was no profile picture and it looked like it had been pieced together in between games of beer pong. Yet, when I scrolled down there it was, social media was listed as a skill.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of true experts within social media marketing. Many of whom I’ve met, been mentored by, and had the pleasure of seeing their work up close. These are the true experts that let their work speak for itself and their reputation as a guru spreads organically.

I’ve also come across my fair share of pretenders or self-proclaimed social media experts. These people talk a big game about their social media prowess but don’t back it up with results.

The problem is many entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with using social media as a marketing tool for their business. So, they may not be able to tell the difference between a true social media expert and someone who is hoping to fake it until they make it.

Can’t we just hire an intern for that?

Whether your company is going to hire someone or bring on an agency to do your social media, there are specific things to consider to make sure your social media expert is indeed an expert that can deliver results for your business.

Ask what were they doing before becoming a “social media expert?”

It has been my experience that the best social media marketers have a background in something related to marketing or business development. People without it, have a harder time understanding ROI. They may not have the analytical skills needed to monitor the metrics that directly affect the company’s bottom line.

If you’re hiring them to support social media campaigns in a B2B environment and they don’t have B2B experience, it should raise a concern no matter how great that person claims to be at social media.

Check their personal pages for signs of influence

I’m always surprised by how many companies don’t actually do research into the person or agency’s social media pages. If your company is hiring someone to manage your Twitter account, and that person hasn’t tweeted in a month and only has 200 followers. Here are some red flags:

  • Their posts have low engagement levels. If they have low engagement on their posts, how will it be different for the posts they do for your company?
  • They don’t have many followers. If you are hiring them to grow your community and they don’t have one themselves, it should be a big warning sign.
  • They don’t have any recommendations on LinkedIn from clients for the services you are hiring them for.
  • They have a ton of Twitter followers but when you click on to see who is following them, they have a lot followers that are egg heads (no profile pic). This is a sign that they have bought their followers. They may lack the skills needed to create an authentic online community.

Ask to see their client’s pages?

Ask to see examples of their client’s social pages. If they have examples of clients either in your industry or a parallel industry it is even better.

Check out their content

Chances are if you are hiring a social media manager, they will also be doing some content creation for your company as well. Make sure to read their blog posts and get examples of content they’ve written for clients. Ask about where they’ve been published beyond their personal blog and where their clients have been published.

Content marketing is not a fad and has disrupted the advertising world in a big way over the past few years. Your social media expert must be able to create compelling content that gets read. If they have low engagement on their content you can expect your content to have low engagement as well.

Audit their followers

With the rise in popularity of influencer marketing, buying fake likes and followers is big business on the internet. To find out if someone has an authentic follower base, use sites like Upfluence to do an analysis of a user’s followers and likes on Instagram. For Twitter, use Twitter Audit to determine the percentage of real followers versus fake or bot accounts.

If you are hiring a social media expert to grow your followers with authentic users from your industry and they have a less than impressive follower base themselves, think twice about hiring them.

Find out what others are saying

Since there are so many self-proclaimed social media experts out there, it really doesn’t matter what they say about themselves. What matters is what other people are saying about them. Check their customer reviews and ask for references from their clients. Do they have any media appearances on highly respected sites that validate their claims as an expert?

Companies know that they must have a social media expert on hand within their marketing department to compete in today’s market. However, clearly, not all social media experts are created the same. The person or vendor you hire will make or break your company’s online presence.

Get in touch with us below if your company is ready to work with a proven digital marketing agency.

Social Marketing Solutions

About the Author Social Marketing Solutions

John White is the owner and chief marketer at Social Marketing Solutions, Global Brand Ambassador for beBee, and columnist at Inc. Magazine and The Huffington Post. When he is not blogging or Tweeting, John enjoys being a dad, playing tennis, and eating Mexican food. Call or text me anytime: 970-692-3270 or visit my website: www.socialmarketingsolutionsllc.net
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