A good social media marketing partner is a valuable team member. You probably realize that, but since social media might not be your thing (or you don't have time to fool with it) you don't really know how to find the right person to help you with your needs.
Let this be your guide. At the very least, use these red flags to start sorting out candidates. These are a few of the trickier items you may not have considered.
Your candidate will not only know how to use different social media sites for your business, she will also understand marketing, advertising, sales, networking, customer service and be a good writer. Having some prior overall business knowledge is a bonus, too.
What red flags should you look out for when searching for your social media marketing professional? If you spot these, run away and keep searching.
You take a look at your potential social media marketing pro's website and see NO social media icons. OR, there are icons with NO LINKS attached. OR, the links just take you to the general social media channel. This is a smoke screen. For example, your click on the Facebook icon on the website and instead of taking you to the company's page, it just takes you to the sign-on page for Facebook or worse, an account that has nothing to do with the company. All of this being said, I'm assuming the person you're considering has a website. If not, well, I'd keep looking.
You should, by all means, check out your potential social media marketing partner's social sites. I've seen some frightening warning signs that blow my mind and make me wonder how some of these people ever get hired! I'm left shaking my head, because the last thing I want is for a business owner to hire someone who doesn't know what she's doing. This gives all of us in this field a bad reputation. As a business owner who hires a bad partner, you may feel burned. Then, you may be exasperated by the whole process and profession. I don't want this for anyone!
While looking at your potential social media marketing professional partner's (PSMMP) Twitter account, you see he's been on Twitter for only 6 months. OR he may have had a Twitter account for 3 years, but only has 49 followers. OR it's quite the opposite and he's tweeted 100 times but has 10,000 followers. This is a sign that followers have been purchased; this is a HUGE red flag. OR he's an egg. I user Twitter as an example, but the same warning signs can be applied to multiple social media channels. Back to followers. Take a look at the account followers. Scroll down. If you start seeing questionable accounts (weird user names with lots of numbers, scantily clad females, ads for Ray-Ban or cutting boards), keep searching. This is a sign that he either bought followers or doesn't pay attention to who is following his own account; he doesn't pay attention to maintaining the quality and integrity of his account and he won't care for yours either. I kid you not, the images below are what I found when looking at the followers of two Twitter accounts belonging to professionals who work in the public relations, marketing, and/or social media fields.
Notice in this first example, the account holder has only tweeted about 600 times and follows not even 150 people yet has more than 16,000 followers. Unless this account holder is someone famous (and she is not), this doesn't add up. You can tell from a deeper dive into the follower list that many of the followers are fake. This is a red flag.
The next two screen shots are such blatant examples of purchased followers, I couldn't even believe it. These are fake accounts. This is a red flag.
If you look at the PSMMP's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn page and he hasn't posted in a couple of months, I'd keep looking. If this person is supposed to be a social media expert, he should have an active voice himself.
Another red flag to watch out for is all the PSMMP's social accounts are tied together, and that's the only way (or majority way) she posts. For example, she posts on Instagram and that same exact post is tweeted out and posted on Facebook at the same time. This is lazy and boring. You want your social media marketing partner to give your market a reason to follow you across your multiple sites. This doesn't happen when this is how a majority of posting occurs.
The final red flag I'm going to tell you to watch out for is lack of emotional intelligence. This can be a little trickier to pick up on, but you might see a few (or more) posts that trigger you to take a step back when you're reviewing your PSSMP's social media accounts. If something you see/read makes you pause, scrunch up your face, and utter "um, yikes" then listen to your gut, make a note, and consider that a red flag. Some in this area are much bigger flags than others!
Of course, there are always exceptions to these. If you see any of the above, but really think you still might want to work with a particular person, just ask about it. See how he responds.
Take a little time to do your homework before interviewing your PSMMP. After all, one reason you are hiring a social media professional is for your peace of mind. If you just take the first person who comes along, or someone who was recommended by your friend who doesn't know Tinder from Twitter, or the shiniest new graduate who has NO business experience at all, you many end up worse off than you started. Also, remember that you get what you pay for.
Thanks for your time and reading my blog. Let me know if any of these flags help you. Now, go forth and be social!