Choosing a Social Media Expert
I’ve seen many guides to choosing the right social media consultant. Many of them fall short because they don’t give you simple empirical guidelines to follow. I think that’s a mistake and I’ve decided to rectify that oversight.
One of the main points I feel is most important is that the social media “Expert” must be deeply involved in social media. The experience you gain in personally building a large social network is essential to understanding social media. The criteria here is how do you find an “Expert” so the bar is set high. One of the commonly quoted rules is that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert- that’s 2 months short of 5 years. Which means there are very few true social media experts around.
An Expert is defined as: having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.
Social Media Expert Minimum Criteria:
- Google - Your expert should have a dominant presence on Google and should have no problem providing examples of keyword rankings for previous clients. If they cannot or do not provide such a list then you very well better ask for one.
- Twitter Followers 2010+ the consultant must have a network over 2000 Twitter Followers. 2000 is the Twitter imposed limit where the user must have a following of 90%. To get more than 2000 followers you must have more than 1800 followers of your own (90%). In other words, any idiot (or spammer) can follow 2000 people, but you have to work hard to get to 2010. Any “Social Media Expert” who has less than 2000 followers hasn’t put the time in, and doesn’t have the experience to be called an expert.
- Twitter Lists 100+ One of the best measures of how much others find your Tweets valuable is to measure how many take that extra step of adding the account to a list. It’s a vote of confidence and recommendation to others for me to say I value your tweets and want to tell others that. Remember that some lists today are generated automatically so check the lists and look for words like; Retweet, follow, people-i-retweet, interactions, etc. These lists can be automatically created by tools such as FormuLists and don’t reflect true interest by people.
- Klout Score of 30+ Klout is a social media rating service that rates a Twitter and Facebook profile for interaction and engagement. While Klout is far from perfect, it is the best that exists today. Some social media companies have spoken about using a minimum Klout score of 30 as a criteria for judging a social media specialists. This score is a gauge of how engaged and interactive the account is in it’s activity.
- Facebook Friends 1000+ A social media expert must have an extensive network of other social media experts to collaborate with and to exchange ideas. They should have built that network on Facebook as well as on Twitter and LinkedIn. They should have an extensive network of Facebook connections and they should be able to call upon that network to connect them and exchange ideas. Because of the reciprocal nature of Facebook Friendships the expert should have taken the time to build a network of at least 1000 people.
- Facebook Page with 250+ Fans/Likes - Your expert should have a top notch Facebook Fan page. If they are going to be building your fan page then they should have a list of fan pages they are already managing as well. If they don’t then how will they know how to help your business?
- An active Blog with active comments - Blogs are essential to social media and any expert who doesn’t at least have a blog that they update weekly has to be questioned. If they are blogging there should be some comments, or evidence of discussions happening on other sites like, Digg or Twitter in the comments section. Your expert must know how difficult it is to blog regularly to be able to tell you how to get it done yourself. It’s even better if they blog for other sites beyond their own. Because that demonstrates that others value their thoughts enough to allow them to write on their own sites.
- Profiles on many other social media sites - As a social media specialist, I believe it is my duty to my clients to check out each new social media product in order to determine if it could be a good fit for my clients. So I have profiles on almost every single new up and coming social network. Your consultant should have done this too. They should be on, Foursquare, Shopkick, GoWalla, Digg, Flickr, YouTube and a few dozen more. Otherwise how could they call themselves an expert if they don’t know what the offerings are? I’m too busy isn’t an excuse in this case, they need to be doing the homework to determine what is good and what isn’t for you.[Edited after the initial post]
- Your Brain- Use your brain, if they have some of these attributes in areas where you are interested but none in the areas you are uninterested in, they may be just fine. If they have all of these but not one customer who can talk to you about what they did for them in social media, keep looking. This is meant as a guideline for people unfamiliar to social media to help you understand who may be a real social media expert and who is a fake. The problem is that this field is overrun with fakes and neophytes need some way to determine the snake oil salesmen from the true practitioners. And I’ll maintain that anyone who uses all of the techniques listed in the comments section below to game the system has a pretty good idea of how the social media networks work, although they would be ethically challenged. (And sorry I don’t have a link to my brain, yet.)
Now every social media expert won’t measure up to every one of these tests. I don’t measure up myself to every one. But your social media expert should come close to many of them. If your “so called expert” has a Twitter account with 250 followers and 300 college buddies on Facebook with no significant footprint on any single social network- then it’s time to keep looking. You should see plenty of evidence of your social media expert in the first 3 pages of their Google Search. If that’s not dominated by social media mentions then your expert may be more “wanna-be” than “is”.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
- Groupon Is A Disaster For Small Businesses
- Email Marketing Options For Small Businesses
- Google Adwords Management – How It Helps Small Businesses
- Twitter For Business – Even If You Don’t Get It
- Choosing a Social Media Expert
- Small Business Marketing Mistakes in 2010
- Branding Your Small Business with Internet Marketing