Social Media “Experts” Are Everywhere: Be Sure To Vet Yours
A study recently conducted by the Aite Group showed that “financial firms marketing through social media experienced an average growth in annual revenue of 19 percent.” Compare that with the 6 percent growth reported by firms not employing social media, and you can see why businesses have jumped on social networking in the past few years.
All of this attention has spawned hundreds of so-called social media experts. Before you take the advice of such an individual or hire him or her as a consultant for your business, though, do your homework.
Similar to the way weight loss products and the universal desire for good health bring a number of self-serving individuals to the market, social media popularity is attracting people who are only looking to raise awareness for their own careers, finances or products. Here are a few tips on how you can separate a true social media expert from a self-seeker:
- Ask for references. You wouldn’t hire an employee without doing some background-checking, and you shouldn’t follow the advice of a social media expert without doing the same. Who has the person worked for in the past? What was accomplished?
- Compare the expert’s history with your industry. If all of the individual’s experience is in the medical field, the same kind of advice may not work for your interior design agency. The same holds true for company size. A social media expert who is used to working with large corporations may not understand the intricacies of small business.
- Compare the advice. If five experts say one thing and your expert says another, you should take a closer look at those suggestions. Unless your candidate has a compelling and data-backed reason for leaving the pack, the information should be suspect.
- If you are hiring the consultant to work with your company, meet face to face, even if only through a web interface. Does the candidate listen to your needs and expectations, or is he or she only interested in providing an opinion?