Monday, August 30, 2010

So You Want To Hire a Social Media Expert?

I've found that most social media practitioners don't like to be called "Experts"; but rather, prefer being referred to as professionals, strategists, practitioners and maybe, on occasion, a "Guru" is kind of an endearing term.  These individuals or companies understand social media and know how to use the tools of social media strategically to help others expand their presence, enhance their brand, and understand their market. We are seekers of best practices. We love to share news, facts and information about ourselves and others who are doing exciting, innovative and positive things in business and our communities. We are collaborators, conveners and researchers. People like to follow us because we contribute information that they find valuable and interesting - because we connect, engage and collaborate.

In Chris Brogan's book, Social Media 101, he explains a few things to look for in a good social media practitioner:
  • They may not know every social network that was ever built, or every podcast currently or formerly in production, but they should know more than a few.
  • Social media types probably should be making media of some kind themselves.
  • They should have some length of experience under their belt, in some form or another. 
  • They should be relatively "known."
  • They should be able to make something happen by way of the media they create; in other words, their efforts should be somewhat impactful.
  • They shouldn't be afraid of transparency, and definitely should welcome criticism and debate.
In addition to Brogan's recommendations, you might want to consider a few other criteria in your search for the right social media strategist, such as: What are their credentials? Is their primary career something other than social media? i.e., are they a realtor, public speaker, meeting planner, etc., etc.  Did they just recently decide one day, "Hey, I'm going to practice social media, or I'm going to teach a Facebook class."? ...if so, they might not be a good choice for your business.

There's a lot to consider when it comes to learning the different facets that comprise the world of social media, according to Liana "Li" Evans, author of Social Media Marketing. It isn't simply just Facebook or Twitter, and the Facebooks of today will be the Friendsters and MySpaces of tomorrow. Social media is constantly changing and requires a strategic approach to be effective. You need a social media practitioner that is not only experienced and respected in the industry, but also one who practices ethically. You can hurt your business more than help it, if you choose to align yourself with the wrong company or practitioner.

One of the best ways I feel you can find a good, solid social media practitioner is by listening in the social web. What are they saying?  Are they social?  How do they interact with others?  Do they contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way?  Do they practice what they preach?  Are they strategic?  Can they produce results?  What do others think of them? ...say about them?  Do they share their knowledge?  Do they re-share and edify others who are contributing to the conversation and the industry?  Is practicing social media for business their primary career?  What methodologies do they use?  Take a look at their website, their blog, and their overall presence and following in the social sphere.

If, after listening for some time, you find that you are inspired by them, then you may want to think about scheduling an appointment to see if there's an opportunity to work together. A good practitioner will be able to tailor a strategy to achieve your specific goals, track the results, and re-adjust the plan as you go along.

Enjoy the conversation!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your interest and comments on our blog. We appreciate your feedback.


Barbara A. Daniels