The Social Media High Horse?


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I began to write this post last week after hearing some disturbing things. Then I read Kyle Lacy’s post on a Checklist of 25 Reasons Not to Hire a Social Media Consultant.  In light of the mood I was in, I decided to play very loud music with my band and ride the weekend out to gather my thoughts. So, here goes.

I don’t know about you, but I thrive on lifting people up, especially those who are in the same industry as me. It really bothers me when I hear someone is undermining the work of others when it pertains to social media. In short, it is downright WRONG to go to a company who is working with a social media consultant/manager/ghost tweeter…whatever title one gives them self, and say “So and so is not qualified to be doing your social media.” (Note: this was not said about me, rather someone I care about and respect.)

It just makes me wonder what gives someone the right to say such things. For anyone who thinks they’re holier than thou when it comes to social media and how it should be done, I really think it’s time to consider whether or not you’re on a high horse. How do you know what people are doing in their spare time to sharpen their skills and learn what’s new in this industry?  How do you know what books or blogs they are reading to get a better understanding?  Social media marketing is one of the fastest growing industries. And you don’t have to have everything figured out perfectly in order to be an effective contribution to a company that is getting started.

For the most part, I agree with Lacy’s post, but there are parts I would argue. (Note 2: Kyle has taught me so much over the years and has been a supporter of Linzstar Inc. This is not a post attacking him. He has been a major contribution to so many things.) I just think that rather than titling his post, A Checklist of 25 Reasons NOT to Hire a Social Media Consultant (especially since that is part of what he does), it should have been “A Checklist of Things to Consider BEFORE You Hire a Social Media Consultant.”  You can read his entire post here.

The following is what I would argue:

5. They will “grow your following” and “run your Twitter account”

That’s part of why you hire them. To do those things! If your social media person is not actively working on spreading the word and inviting people to come in, then what’s the point? If someone does this for a living then he/she should be focused on quality AND quantity.

6. Their blog is less than six months old with no comments.

Disagree – unless you are a blogger or a writer. There are talented communication folks out there that get social media and can help spread a message and call to action without being a great writer. What’s most important is that the person is READING blogs about social media and doing everything in their power to serve their clients. You don’t always have to be a blogger. I know quite a few people who do a great job and don’t have a blog. I also know some bloggers and people in the industry that have clients that aren’t really happy with their work. So, let’s keep this in perspective. Education and knowledge are keys here.

8. Have they taught a class before on social media? Even a webinar?

You CAN be a great social media marketer without having taught a class or webinar. (Thank God I have a couple under my belt so I’M not judged…phew) – Please sense my sarcasm…

The point here is that not everyone goes for the same opportunities, and not every social media marketer is a good speaker. Rather, ask them is they’ve GONE to classes on social media or WATCHED webinars pertaining to social media. Again…let’s go back to education.

11. They blog at least once a week or more

I’m pretty sure I covered this above.

19. Ask them about Radian6 and CoTweet.

Okay, not every company is ready to use major measuring tools, and there are alternatives to CoTweet. If I were a company hiring a social media consultant, I would be much more interested in them reading Radian6’s blog, specifically, Amber Naslund’s blog.

20. How long have they been using Twitter?

Haha! I totally had to put this in because I just thought it was funny. I definitely agree with this one.  Probably not too smart to hire someone who is a newbie to this area…unless you’re a social media company hiring an intern with the intent of teaching them how to use the social tools they’ve not yet experienced. (We ALL started somewhere.) On the flipside…there ARE people out there that dive in and just GET it. Sometimes you have to give people chances.

22. If they are still using an,,, or email. Fail them.

Hmmm…not sure if this is fail criteria…

Everything else is spot on if you’re a company looking to hire a social media consultant. It’s also important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. This goes with ANY area of life. In social media, the kicker will be that those mistakes will most likely be silly mistakes…spelling, a missed word, a grammatical error…it happens to everyone. I’ve done it, I’m sure you have.  (There’s probably some in this post.) Patience is important and social media is not the “be all, end all.” It is only a part of the whole.

You know, DOING is learning. For those of us who do this type of marketing for a living, rather than hate on others who are in our field, we should be helping them and encouraging them. It’s not going to go away. And for companies who hire social media folks to help them, it’s because they are hard pressed for time but want to be out there!

Oh, and for that person who doesn’t even have a social media company, that was hating on my peer, puuhhleeease. We’re a community here.  Can we please stick together?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Lindsay Manfredi
Lindsay Manfredi, writer, ghost blogger, and social media rock star, founded Linzstar, Inc. in 29 to help small and large companies create a more effective and profitable online presence.


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