It would seem that there are a lot of "social media experts" out there today. 

Social media arose quickly as a prominent way for businesses to showcase their brand. Anytime, a product or service enters into the marketplace quickly there are opportunists that move into the space and become largely self-proclaimed experts. Hence, the rise of the social media expert.

Just last week I had a college senior reach out to me over email about working at my social media marketing agency, Social Marketing Solutions. When I checked this person's LinkedIn profile, there was no profile picture and it looked like it had been pieced together in between games of beer pong. Yet, when I scrolled down there it was, social media was listed as a skill.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of true experts within social media marketing. Many of whom I've met, been mentored by, and had the pleasure of seeing their work up close. These are the true experts that let their work speak for itself and their reputation as a guru spreads organically.

I've also come across my fair share of pretenders or self-proclaimed social media experts. These people talk a big game about their social media prowess but don't back it up with results.

The problem is many entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with using social media as a marketing tool for their business. So, they may not be able to tell the difference between a true social media expert and someone who is hoping to fake it until they make it. 

Can't we just hire an intern for that?

Whether your company is going to hire someone or bring on an agency to do your social media, there are specific things to consider to make sure your social media expert is indeed an expert that can deliver results for your business.

What were they doing before becoming a "social media expert?"

It has been my experience that the best social media marketers have a background in something related to marketing or business development. People without it, have a harder time understanding ROI. They may not have the analytical skills needed to monitor the metrics that directly affect the company's bottom line.

If you're hiring them to support social media campaigns in a B2B environment and they don't have B2B experience, it should raise a concern no matter how great that person claims to be at social media.

Check their personal pages for signs of influence

I'm always surprised by how many companies don't actually do research into the person or agency's social media pages. If your company is hiring someone to manage your Twitter account, and that person hasn't tweeted in a month and only has 200 followers. Here are some red flags:

  • Their posts have low engagement levels. If they have low engagement on their posts, how will it be different for the posts they do for your company?
  • They don't have many followers. If you are hiring them to grow your community and they don't have one themselves, it should be a big warning sign.
  • They don't have any recommendations on LinkedIn from clients for the services you are hiring them for.
  • They have a ton of Twitter followers but when you click on to see who is following them, they have a lot followers that are egg heads (no profile pic). This is a sign that they have bought their followers. They may lack the skills needed to create an authentic online community.

What do their client's pages look like?

Also, ask to see examples of their client's social pages. If they have examples of clients either in your industry or a parallel industry it is even better. 

Read their blog

Chances are if you are hiring a social media manager, they will also be doing some content creation for your company as well. Make sure to read their blog posts and get examples of content they've written for clients. Ask about where they've been published beyond their personal blog and where their clients have been published. 

Content marketing is not a fad and has disrupted the advertising world in a big way over the past few years. Your social media expert must be able to create compelling content that gets read. 

Companies know that they must have a social media expert on hand within their marketing department to compete in today's market. However, clearly, not all social media experts are created the same. The person or vendor you hire will make or break your company's online presence.