Separating the Social Media Guru from the Charlatan

This fantastic video highlights the many potential pitfalls when hiring ‘social media gurus’. My thanks go to Gordon Kelly for bringing this to my attention and it raises some really interesting points on the perception – and sometimes, alas, reality - of the emerging social media ‘expert’.

Many PR agencies make out like social media – and other digital media – is a black art which only a select few can master. This is rubbish, and I believe it’s this perception which the video plays on. Social media is something organisations can do themselves, but starting from scratch it requires a lot of time investment plus the associated trial and error element that goes with any self-education process.

This is where true social media experts can add value, because time and expertise are at a premium, especially in small firms. I recommend the below steps for screening social media professionals to assess whether they really can add value to your business.

· Make sure they have a PR/marketing background, otherwise they won’t be able to integrate the programme effectively into your overall marketing operation. Neither will they be able to suggest and create solid content

· Ensure you set monthly/quarterly objectives for social media. There’s no point accepting “go on Twitter, build a Facebook fan page, start blogging” if there’s no way of assessing whether the programme delivers benefits to the bottom line

· Be mindful of their age. Yes, social media is often associated with the yoof, but although a graduate with a funky haircut and skinny jeans might be good at setting up websites, what experience have they got of running and marketing a business?

· Ask for examples of previous projects and where they’ve delivered results. There should be a digital footprint available to back up their claims

If you’ve any other advice on selecting a social media specialist or any nightmare stories, do please share them with us.

Posted by Chris Lee

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