Given I make a living, in part, as a direct result of social media, it may seem just a tad illogical to state I am not a Social Media Expert. Yet, here I am, stating it proudly, and in writing. No takey-backy’s.
When I first told my husband what I was writing this blog on, he laughed and said “that’s an interesting approach to marketing”. He might have a point, but hear me out. The simple truth is the reason I don’t regard myself as an expert is because, when it comes to social media, I don’t think anyone can be.
The word “expert” is easy to define: a person who is very knowledgeable about, or skilful in, a particular area.
The problem is “very” is a pretty vague measurement of knowledge, especially when expertise isn’t based on a set amount of experience or particular qualifications.
As such expertise is very much open to interpretation and based on the perceptions of those around us. To my clients, who have little or no experience of social media, I may well appear to be an expert. I know more than they do; but that doesn’t make me an expert in and of itself.
Social media is a phrase that encompasses one Hell of a lot. In fact “social media”, as a definition, refers to websites and applications that enable users to create and share content, or to participate in social networking.
How can any one person become an expert in all that entails?
I couldn’t build you a social media platform, I couldn’t develop a website or an app. I don’t know the first thing about coding or designing. While I can help identify and build an audience, talk to you about your customer personas and your target clients, I don’t know everything there is to know about marketing and generating leads.
I can come up with ideas and create engaging content, I can schedule posts for you and I can make educated guesses about when your target audience will be online (then review the analytics when they are available), but none of these things make me an expert.
I don’t say any of this to downplay my own strengths and skill set, but simply to warn you about the dangers of falling for an experts spiel. As there is no standardised course, or linear career progression, how are you going to make sure you’re hiring the right person to help you with your social media marketing?
If I am not an expert, how can I possibly compete with a self-professed one? How do you know who is better? It can all get pretty confusing, especially if we rely on words and titles to help us distinguish people and ascertain their worthiness and credentials.
If you are looking for someone to help you with your social media either now, or at some point in the near future, here are my tips to keep you from hiring the wrong person.
1. If you are being pushed to make a decision or sign-up NOW, back away. This approach reeks of sales targets and/or desperation, and is not a sign of someone who really knows what they’re doing. That’s not to say everyone who is pushy isn’t talented, but exercise caution. You want to find someone who doesn’t simply see you as a number, so pay attention to people who make time for you and answer your questions.
2. Which brings me on to the importance of asking questions! If there is something you don’t understand, ask. If they can’t explain it to you properly, they don’t understand it either! Always question any bold statements about the returns you will get through social media. If someone says they can increase sales by 30% in 10 days, ask them how, and what will happen if they don’t. Do you get your money back?
3. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust. Whoever you’re thinking of working with, ask to see reviews, testimonials or even endorsements on LinkedIn. Why not ask for a trial period before signing up to a longer term contract?
4. Make sure whoever you let loose on your social media accounts knows your business, your products/services and the industry as a whole. Again, they don’t have to be an “expert”, but they must take the time to know what makes you and your company tick. What’s your tone, who’s your audience, what’s your location, what’s your USP? If they aren’t asking all these questions, then they’re definitely not right for the job.
If you are on the lookout for some help with your social media in 2017, and want to know if Time Saving Heroes might be a good fit for you and your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Direct Message me on LinkedIn, call 0161 883 2024 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am always happy to have a chat and answer any questions you might have.