Have you noticed that these days’ social media experts and “gurus” seem to be everywhere you turn? Everyone who has been using Facebook and Twitter for the past five years now a certified social media professional, at least they are claiming to be. If you are reading this, it means you probably found it through some social network, which by default makes you socially savvy. Hell, you probably have even sent out a few tweets and even helped somebody out with a Facebook question a time or two. How did you tag that photo again?
The unfortunate thing here is that many people are anointing themselves as social media “experts”. Just because you have been playing on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter for several years, in no way, shape, or form makes you a social media expert. The sad thing is that these slick talking self proclaimed gurus are ACTUALLY selling their services to the unsuspecting, new to social media business folks and making promises that are unachievable all in the name of making a quick buck.
The beauty of social media is that most of the time you can see the work they have done for their clients. There are particular clues that exist to help you identify if the “Guru” or “Expert” that is pitching his or her services to you is worth what they say they are worth.
1) Check their online presence, how connected are these people? Cover the basics and look at their Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook profiles. If something stands out as being questionable, chances are it is. For example, pass on the guy doing keg stands with his buddies, any expert worth a lick would know that those pictures would be easily found by anyone doing a rudimentary search.
2) Do a Google search on their name and area that they are living in, this should result in quality information being found, after all, the expert should have a very connected online presence, don’t ya think? Find somebody who has no online following or presence rule them immediately. On the flip side find somebody with a Twitter following that is outrageously large and has followed just about as many people, rule them out as well. Be wary of people who are looking out for just the number of followers they can gain.
3) Look at their work and don’t just take their word for it. Again, follow the virtual fingerprints; the work is going to be there to speak for itself. Find references of their work, if there are none, it generally lips service.
4) Guarantees, if you are guaranteed anything run the other way; guarantees are a big red flag in the online media world.
If you take some time and do some research on what is being sold or promised to you then chances are you will scare off the bad guys and find the knowledgeable true social media professionals to work with.