Everyone claims to be a social media expert today. How do you filter out the noise from the substance?
Here are 7 questions to ask someone before you decide to invest your time and money in their service, product or class.
1. What did you do before becoming a Social Media Expert? How successful were you at that?
I don’t feel the foundation of business has changed because of social media. It has changed our tactics and approach, but if the “Expert” couldn’t build herself a successful business before social media, how are they going to help you build a successful business now?
2. How do you use Social Media to build your business?
Get proof that they know what they are doing. If they are making claims that they can help you use social media to build your business and you have to give them money to do it, while at the same time, you came across their information from an email, or direct mail, or flier……. just think about that for second.
3. Can you show me?
Be like Missouri and don’t be afraid to say SHOW ME. Find out where they are on facebook. Do they have a page? Is there engagement and interaction on the page or is the expert talking to herself? Are they on twitter? How often do they tweet? Do they engage and interact? Are they using @ and RT in their twitter stream? They should be.
4. How have you used Social Media to build your clients/students business?
Don’t be seduced by the number for friends, LIKERS/FANS or followers. Ask to see results. Did they take a listing? Sell a listing? Have more people show up to an open house? Get more traffic to their website? Increase the size of their database, with having name, email, phone # and address? Help get a price reduction? Reduce expenses elsewhere in their business?
5. What mistakes have you made in social media? How have you failed?
Isn’t it interesting that EXPERT, EXPERIENCE and EXPERIMENT all come from the same Latin root meaning to: test, tested; try; risk, danger, dangerous, hazardous?
So if they haven’t made mistakes, tested, failed, they haven’t learned. And if they haven’t learned how did they become an expert?
Why do pilots train on a flight simulator? So they can gain the experience of experimenting with scenario’s to learn what to do and what not to do.
I’m not sure how many people can call himself or herself an expert if they have only been on facebook for 18 months and twitter for 9 months. How have they been able to gain enough experience and experiment enough in such limited time?
And reading books doesn’t make you an expert.
Just imagine…You are flying into Vegas for a conference and your plane has an engine failure. You hear the explosion and can feel the plane start to shake. Your hands squeeze the hand-rests causing your knuckles to go white. Who would you rather have flying your plane at this moment?
The pilot that has logged 1,000 of hours in a flight simulator practicing this scenario OR the pilot that read a book and manual about what to do?
6. What methods do you use to monitor and listen?
Write this down. LISTENING STATION. Or this. MONITORING. Many social media experts are talking about how to broadcast, marketing, drive traffic, get followers, LIKERS, etc. If your social media expert is talking about these things and never brings up monitoring or listening stations RUN THE OTHER WAY. The beginning of any social media strategy should involve listening or monitoring.
Anyone claiming social media expert status will know how to set up a listening station bringing information TO you from google, twitter, and even trulia and zillow.
7. How will we build my audience?
AHA! This is a trick question.
If they start puking how they are going to set you up a HUB, meaning your blog and then build a facebook page and get you thousands of followers. Then next get you on twitter and start following people and use auto-following techniques, etc, etc. this is a sure sign of a NON-expert.
The beauty of social media and the tools is that it allows you to target and pinpoint your exact audience. The correct answer to HOW WILL WE BUILD MY AUDIENCE? should be something like:
That depends on who your target audience is. Once we have them defined we will find out where they are hanging out at online AND offline. We will build a strategy of connecting and engaging with them in that space. So who IS your target audience?
These are 7 questions I would ask someone claiming to be a social media expert and why I would ask them.