Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between the group that will provide real value and the group that will sell you just smoke and mirrors, especially when it comes to social media.
Social media hasn’t been around long. It’s something that many can easily claim to be experts, gurus, yada, yada… Anyone can make these claims and talk the talk. What’s important for a business looking to throw their hat into the ring is whether they can actually walk the walk. A so-called “Social Media Expert” can say anything they want but in the end, if they don’t know how to walk the walk, they are simply taking your money.
As a business or a group that doesn’t know much about social media, how would you even know you’ve just been scammed?
Here are some tips for choosing a social media provider.
Check up on their social sites. It’s pretty easy these days since most have a website or hub that also links to their Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook Fan Page.
- Do they have many followers, fans, connections?
If they do, this is a good sign but they could also be useless connections so try to dig deeper. Social media is about building real relationships with people that care about your brand. It is not always how many followers they have.
- Are people interacting with them?
One way to measure the success of social media is if people start interacting with the brand. If there’s no interaction, it’s hard to tell if people are even listening.
- Do they regularly update content on all sites?
Regular updates are the key to building relationships.
- Does the content mesh together across their social networks?
As a business, you want to build brand recognition. If your business is currently advertising, it’s important that you carry a consistent look and voice into the social ring. However, keep in mind, it must always be modified to fit the target audience.
- What are they saying? Is it appropriate for their brand?
Sometimes people will post a ton but it’s full of nothing. Read the content and see if it is actually relevant to their brand or if they are just pushing links on their friends, fans, followers and connections.
Does the offer they’ve made for your business sound too good to be true? Are they offering to do a ton of things for almost no money? If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
If you’ve said yes to more than three items above, then you may be interacting with someone that actually knows what they’re doing. If you siad no to less than three, then you are probably looking for trouble if you pursue anything further. If you are still enticed by the terms guru, expert, low price, then I’d also suggest checking out social media success stories they’ve had with other clients. Request a list of their clients’ social sites that you can check out yourself. Use the quiz above on those sites to see what kind of service they provided others.
At Quinlan & Company, we handle social media for a number of clients at varying levels. Each solution and strategy is tailored to that client. We partner with each client to create and build actual relationships with the online social community. We don’t claim to be experts as everyone is always learning – that’s part of what’s so great about working with an agency – you get a team of graphic designers customizing your brand look, web programmers coding your pages and maximizing your search engine rankings, copywriters using a consistent voice to provide real content, and strategists to properly push the information to the right audience. Then, they monitor conversations and measure results so you can see what works.
Beware of posers. You don’t want your neighbor who dabbles with home improvement to rewire your house. Why would you want John Doe putting together a social media strategy for you?