7 Signs Your Social Media Consultant is Really an Expert

No one wants an amateur to run their social media campaign, but with everyone and their dog claiming to be an expert these days, how can you tell who is legit?

Here are 7 signs that your social media consultant is who he or she says they are.sms229

1. They are active on social networking sites. No one can be an expert if they aren’t actually using social media, so perform a little check and see where your consultant is active. Chances are they will be on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, at the very least. However, remember that social media is not about social networking sites only.

2. They have good reviews. Check out other clients and find out what they have to say about the service. Did they feel the consultant got good results? Were they pleased with the service? Testimonials from happy customers can tell you a lot.

3. They explain their latest projects. If they can’t describe it to you or give you an example of how they used social media to draw attention to their client, you should probably look elsewhere.

4. They share their expertise elsewhere. Anyone can set up a blog and start writing posts on social media, but a true expert will not just be on their own blog. They will have guest posts, podcast interviews and even text interviews on other people’s sites and blogs. This is a very good sign that your expert really is an expert, when others trust them to share information.

5. They maintain an active blog. It’s important that anyone you are looking to hire is actually keeping up with their blog and putting out quality content on a regular basis. This is very easy to check but doesn’t mean they need to be posting several times a day, about twice a week is more than enough.

6. They talk about more than just Facebook and Twitter. A good social media expert should be able to guide you through many social media categories (i.e., crowdsourcing, podcasting, blogging, livecasting, etc.) without a problem. If they are stuck on just a few tools and sites, you may have an issue.  You need to look for someone who has a comprehensive understanding of social media, and knows how each piece of the puzzle fits together.

7. Their strategies include a range of categories. An expert in social media will want to know what your goals are for social media and then work with you to create a strategy to accomplish those goals. This could include market research, marketing, advertising and customer service, just to name a few.

Not everyone online is an expert in social media. Just because they have a blog and a Twitter account with thousands of followers, it doesn’t mean someone should be considered a guru. Be careful when finding a consultant and check to make sure that they really are living the life of an expert and have the experience to back them up.

You will be able to find people who have approximately five years experience with social media.  However, it will be a while for anyone to be considered a “True” expert since we are all learning from each other.  I learn from my clients as much as they learn from me!

How do you define a social media expert?

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  • All good points. Others might be whether they speak at industry conferences, they're quoted by the media, they've won awards for their work and they're named on "best of " lists.

  • Thanks for an excellent post. I would take your tips to heart to become better at what I do. I am far from claiming myself to be an expert, but I am working on getting there.

  • Mark Pawley

    Good points; problem is, with the pace at which the SM landscape is changing I don't think anybody can claim to be an expert. Also, in light of the recent SM Trending report, it is important to grasp the main drivers of traffic. So it isn't necessary to be au fait with everything that is out there. I would be suspicious of somebody that claimed expertise in all areas of SM.

  • Falco Andreson (the Sharkster)

    You forgot sign #8: The clients the social media "expert" works for become successful. Their business gets talked about and they see growth thanks to social media.

    No need to thank me. I'm here all week!

    Yours truly,

    Falco

  • A couple items I would add to the list:

    -Showing ROI with analytics and other forms of measure to demonstrate conversions
    -Partnerships with other marketers, e-mail marketing, video creation /distribution, graphic artists, copy writers?
    -Case studies outlining key points of success and determining which campaigns and networks works better for one client versus another.

    Interesting article, although I still think at the end of the day, "social media" consultants need to posses the very basic fundamentals of marketing and advertising. Simply launching a twitter contest campaign, linking with Facebook and LinkedIn often times makes one think they have the skillz to pay the billz.

    Good write up 🙂

  • Excellent suggestions Joshua! Thanks for sharing. I agree 100%! Social media consultants should have an advertising/marketing background. My 12 years in advertising/marketing & strategy has greatly helped me get ahead with social media.

  • That last paragraph sums up my feelings with social media.

    Now their are true experts out there (See: Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, and others) but really, we're all learning together.
    I refuse to call myself an expert/specialist/consultant.

    I'm a Social Media Student, learning like the rest of us. If someone's behind in class, I'll gladly do some peer-to-peer tutoring...but we're learning together 🙂

    Mirna, thanks SO much for this advice. You hit the nail on the head with this one.

    • Glad you agree Chase! Thanks for the comment.

  • Great post Mirna. I got into social media consulting about a year and a half ago after I attended a workshop and quickly realized I knew way more than the person running it. I have actually been using social media to market my own company for 12 years. Remember message boards, chat rooms, email lists? All of these were the precursors to the tools we have today. I realized then the power these engagement tools offer businesses, so when all of the new and shiny platforms came out, I was an eager adopter. Things I am sure will never stop evolving and we will never stop learning new platforms and ways to use them. That's the fun part if you ask me.

    • Thanks for your comment Deborah. It sound like you are on the right track and having a blast with social media...I know I am :).

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