So you’re looking for Social Media Mentors? Not Gurus. Not Ninjas. Not Divas or Queens, but real live social media mentors.
I’ve got your back.
There’s a collective of experienced social media marketers who are ready to take the social sphere back from “fauxperts.”
Our feeds are plagued by their bad business … hard sells, blatantly begging for likes and shares, asking questions like, “What did you have for lunch today?” or “Share this if you like puppies and unicorns!”
If you’re ready for real, read on!
Spotting Fake Social Media Mentors
My new friend and mentor, Robert, is one of the fearless leaders lighting the path to social GOOD.
Robert and I have talked many times about what it means to deliver REAL results in social media, and how to spot social media mentors who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Here’s what Robert had to say about the so-called “experts” out there; my questions and endnotes are in bold:
What are the key questions companies should ask when shopping for a legit social media professional?
I cover this topic in Part 3 of my blog series. It says things like, look for people who walk the walk. Do their own Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, etc. follow the advice they’re giving you? If not, that’s a RED FLAG. For instance, take a good look at their Twitter stream. Are they having conversations or only pushing out their own info? If they aren’t talking with their followers, or are just talking among their peers, that’s a RED FLAG.
Another sign would be folks who have blogs going out every single day. These are not social media professionals, they’re bloggers. Real social media professionals don’t have the time to write a blog everyday. And if they’re hiring someone else to write on their behalf, RED FLAG, they aren’t following social protocol.
Also, RED FLAG, if your social media “expert” only interviews others or has guest bloggers on their blog all the time, you should know this is wrong. These people are just looking to get their name out there.
What are telltale signs to look for on non-social media mentors’ Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages?
If the person really understands social media, they will try to humanize their brand. Many people don’t use a logo as their avatar on Twitter for this reason; I can’t have a relationship with a brand or logo. I constantly tell people this is something they need to consider changing.
Is the content they’re posting relevant, valuable and interesting to me, or is it just a ton of social media information? At the moment I’m looking to hire them, this info may be interesting to me. However, as you get to know your audience, you can narrow it down to three, four or five topics. For me it’s a few topics: copy, unique/new information on social media (not just reposting Mashable articles), small business trends and family. You can see my feeds and see that information any time.
How can people/companies protect themselves from ‘wanna be’ social media mentors and professionals?
If an agency or individual says they are an expert, ninja or guru that’s a RED FLAG. They don’t understand this industry.
If they’re putting social media pricing on their website that is really inexpensive, like $99 or $299 a month, don’t expect to get any results from that! Additionally, if you see a list of activities and tactics showing you what these packages will do for you, that’s not strategy. Clients need a custom strategy built for them by their agency or professional.
Everything starts with strategy. Cookie cutter stuff doesn’t work! Saying they’ll post once a day here, and twice a day there isn’t what it’s about. Social media is an incredibly human and time intensive process. It’s about having conversations all day. It’s about responding any time your brand is mentioned on any platform. And it’s not always Facebook and Twitter. It depends on your customer and their industry.
Connecting With Real Social Media Mentors & Professionals
In 140 characters or less, can you tell us what the MUST HAVES are for true social media mentors and professionals?
That’s very, very difficult. I don’t know if you can do this in 140 characters, nor do I think it’s appropriate. One thing I learned when we were a social media agency, before we became a social media management tool, was to be okay with saying no to a client. So, I’m telling you no. [laughs]
If I had to say something, it would be: Just because you say you’re skilled in social media doesn’t mean you are. AND, what’s your social media ROI? It’s all about results. The results look different for every client, whether it’s direct sales, click through rates, awareness, etc. I can tell you what it’s NOT: Number of followers, number of fans, or Klout scores. Those don’t matter. Those are easy to achieve; I can do those in my sleep.
Name some MUST follow social media accounts that walk the walk and provide value to readers.
There are two Twitter accounts I would recommend:
The next one is brand new, they went live today, SteamFeed. It’s a group of social media professionals who started it. They’ve built a huge group of authors who write about social media. They’re not the celebrities speaking at these events; they’re real and actually work in the industry with clients.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m honored to do this. The whole point of social media is taking the relationships you build out of the social graph and into real life by phone, email, Skype calls, Google Hangouts or by people walking in your door – that’s when you know you’re doing it right.
Ultimately your social media can only go so far. You have to ask yourself, what are we doing when someone clicks that link? What are we doing when that person walks in the door? If your agency is getting it right they’re doing that for you and they’re also telling you what’s next; what needs to change on your social pages, with your staff, with your website, etc. so you can be prepared for the relationships when they come out of the graph and show up in the real world.
Robert Caruso (@fondalo) – Robert M. Caruso is a long time social media professional and founder of Bundlepost, the first social content management system. His company develops social media technologies that increase social media agencies and marketers efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.
I’m sure that’s left you all with a Thanksgiving-sized plate of food for thought. Please feel free to add, question or comment below!
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