Look at your Social Media Manager, now back to me

Hello, business people, look at your Social Media Manager, now back to me, now back at your Social Media Manager, now back to me.

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Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped selling you his Marketing Degree and switched to actually gaining Social interaction, website traffic, and positive attention for your company, he could perform more like he’s me. 

Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on a blog with the man your Social Media Manager could produce results like. What’s in your hand, back at me. I have it, it’s your smartphone with that addictive game app you love. Look again, the smartphone is now stacks of cash. Anything is possible when your Social Media Manager actually performs.

Now, I am not making the assertion I am on the level of Gary Vaynerchuk, Guy Kawasaki, Jeff Bullas, or Kim Garst. However, if you are a small business owner, there is a good chance you have never heard of those names. I also make no claims about being a social media ninja, guru, maven, god, or rockstar. I’m just some guy… and the man your Social Media Manager wishes he/she could be, and you wish they were.

After coming across several articles about the decline of Social Media Managers, I decided to look for myself. Using Twitter Search, I found 100 local individuals and companies, promoting themselves in some way as being who you want to hire to manage your Social Media Marketing. After evaluating each, the results were a bit shocking, especially since some of these individuals claimed pretty hefty credentials. For example, one stated she was in Forbes 25 Women Entrepreneurs.

Out of the 100 sampled, I found only one individual with a Klout Score higher than mine. I currently have a Klout Score[1] of 69, while this individual has a 71. The second highest Klout Score, from my sample was a 66, with the vast majority were below 50.

These characters can’t increase their own Popularity[2] online but they want to sell you the idea they can do it for you. If a Social Media Manager can’t promote their own brand, how can they promote yours?

Here is what to look for when in a Social Media Manager:

1. Ask them for their Klout Score. You want to find someone with a Klout Score of at least 50, if not much higher. Klout also lets you know the topics this person or company talks about online.

Back in 2012, Wired reported “Sam Fiorella was recruited for a VP position at a large Toronto marketing agency. With 15 years of experience consulting for major brands like AOL, Ford, and Kraft, Fiorella felt confident in his qualifications. But midway through the interview, he was caught off guard when his interviewer asked him for his Klout score. Fiorella hesitated awkwardly before confessing that he had no idea what a Klout score was.”[3]

The interviewer pulled up the web page for Klout, and showed Fiorella his score was a mere 34. Fiorella was then eliminated as a candidate specifically because his Klout Score was too low, and they hired a guy whose score was 67.

2. Evaluate their profile on klear.com.[4] This will give you insight to this person or company’s Activity,[5] Popularity, Responsiveness,[6] and Audience.[7]

Klear uses three years of retrospective data on average for each profile metric shown in their data figures. That data is then evaluated to place the profile on one of four influence tiers: Novice, Casual, Power Users, and Celebrities. Influence level is determined taking into account multiple parameters including activity, popularity, and communicativity levels, audience strength, following/followers ratio, close network activity and strength, top content amplification levels and more.

3. Look hard at their online activity. Does it look like they are completely automated? Do they interact with others online by replying, commenting, reposting, retweeting? Are they showing anything human about themselves, their humor or interests? Are their blog posts generic? If they are not able to be authentic for themselves, they will not be able to present you in a way that is authentic.

4. Place experience above credentials. There are many experienced sales and marketing people who, if they get you in a room with them, can sell you their credentials. However, online skills are much more important than degrees.

Inc. reported that, while the expectation is most Social Media Professionals would have a marketing degree or similar, only 24% have marketing, business, or advertising degrees. However, 50% have undergraduate degrees in English, English literature, public relations, or journalism.[8]

5. Ask them about ROI. If their response is, “I can get you X-number of Twitter Followers in Y-number of days” or “Z-number of hits to your website daily,” then walk away. Return on Investment is something like for every $5 that one spends they are adding $50 in additional revenue.

Web traffic, comments, Twitter Followers, and Facebook Fans are important. However, that needs to translate into something more. An overly simplistic example could be an online store seeing for every 1000 new Followers they are generating X-amount of increased web traffic with Y-number of new monthly sales.

Social Media activity is not always going to have a direct click, click, click, sale. Small brands may find it hard to track, and if you primary sales are offline it may be even more difficult.

However, a good Social Media Manager is going to want to work to link their activity to year-over-year and month-over-month sales growth, better customer relations, or whatever goal you have.

My ultimate point here is don’t let yourself get fleeced. There are a lot of people out there who are “social media experts.” It is authentic experience and know-how that can be tough to find. Before ever looking at a proposal, or entertaining an in-person sales presentation, look at the social-media work itself. After looking at their profiles and online footprint (you can normally tell within minutes if they know what they are doing), then and only then consider a next step.

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