As many of you know, finding an experienced professional to assist you with anything in life can be a daunting task. Also, as many of you probably know there are so many people out there that you speak with everyday that consider themselves “experts, connoisseurs, sales guru’s, geeks” of the trade(s), etc. Well as we both know, these so called experts or what have you, don’t actually have the experience that you may often find yourself needing… good advice, that actually works or saves you money? Yes?
Needless to say, we also continue to run across these same people in our line of work (especially social media), who claim to be experts but are nothing more than users who participate in things in a limited capacity or in social media words… in the basic sites such as Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. So, for this week’s discussion, we thought we would provide you with a few things (5 Tips) to consider or ask when you are considering putting together a social media campaign.
1) The very first question you should ask someone that you are considering letting them help you with your online engagement is what sites do you operate personally or for your company and could you please provide me with the links to check them out?
· Now that you have their attention, see if they provide you with more than just a Facebook or Twitter account. It is crazy to think about but many experts stake their claim on these sites and these sites alone. However, the truth is social media didn’t start with these sites nor are they the answer to everyone’s needs. Look for people/companies that give you links to blogs and old school forums, etc. Also, look at how long they have been ACTIVELY participating in online activities, since participating for 6 months or a year or two definitely doesn’t make you an expert. Just ask Melcolm Gladwell who wrote Outliersand 60 Minutesused to run a great piece on. Think 10,000 or 10 years (well maybe not that many) but at least look for 3,000 or 3 years of activity.
2) The second question you should ask the so-called expert you are talking to is whether or not they are familiar with or know of any restrictions in online activities for your specific needs or industry segment.
· Let’s face it much like people would like to tell you, in online or social media activities there is not one size that fits all approach… mush like Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services, etc. Sure you can participate get quotes for all the companies or operate on all the mediums but most people/businesses should stick with 3-5 networks. A good example is our consulting practice. We consult with clients on PEO, CRM, and Wireless Devices, so these are our ideal clients (companies who offer and those who also need these services), as we know the industry extremely well and any limitations that we must consider on their behalf. However, we don’t run social media campaigns for law, pharmaceutical, alcohol, etc, as we are not familiar with these segments. Sure we could figure it out but you really want a professional or business to help in your social networking that lives, breathes, and knows the industry and more importantly, where your customers hang out!
3) The third question you should ask your so called expert is their overall opinion (personal opinion) of the industry and how thinks might change in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
· This is a great question, as it usually lets you know where exactly the person or company started their online activities, why, and what they are trying to accomplish on a personal level. If they say they do it cause it’s their job… RUN! However, if they start out by telling you some of the reasons they started to participate in chat forums, started their own blog, or why they originally joined MySpace or sold stuff on EBay these are more than likely the people you want to deal with, as they have a personal not just a monetary investment in social networking. Also, this should clue you in, as to what other networks that they think will be the next Facebook, much like Pinterest, FourSquare, Scoop-it, etc are becoming. The true expert lives and breathes whatever they are an expert in, so they should/will always have options for you when things are not going as well as you think they should or how they are going.
4) The forth question you should ask is who will help develop, manage, or engage your specific audience?
· It still amazes us how many people and businesses think that social media begins and ends with a post or the creation of a Facebook page or Blog or better yet how many likes, followers, or friends you can acquire. Shoot that is the easy part about social networking… creating the sites and adding people, what is difficult part is keeping people interested, engaged, and coming back each week (CUSTOMER SERVICE). This is often the more expensive part of social media but a good investment, if you or your company is really serious about taking the next step online and something more people/businesses should be concerned about if you are looking for that so called Return on Investment (ROI). We cannot even tell you how often we see idle accounts out there that were set-up and abandoned, even some of our client accounts. Why? Cause most of the time just like in person, people and a lot of businesses do not know how to interact with others online or what they want to accomplish even if you tell them. What is the worst that can happen? Someone de-friends, un-follows, or leaves a negative response? Rejection and acceptance are both part of life, so in order to be successful online; you have to interact with others. You cannot just develop an account(s) but you must also manage and engage, so this is a very important question to ask your expert!
5) Finally the last question, and perhaps the most important (ROI) you have to ask is how exactly social networking will improve a person or business and the measurement scale your expert will use to claim a SUCCESS!
· This is probably one of our favorite questions to answer because more times than not, our answer doesn’t have anything to do with likes, followers, or friends. Instead we use tools that were created for measurement such as Kred, Klout, PeerIndex,EmpireAvenue, and Google Analytics. Of course these tools do consider your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, FourSquare, ETC. accounts but remember that they also measure your level of interaction. Of course, these sites are not perfect but remember the more you interact with your friends, followers, and acquaintances, the higher your scores should go. If you are a business, these should also translate into more calls, sales, referrals, etc (ROI) plus the more you interact the more likely you are to create chatter that is positive even despite any negatives that others may have previously left.
Each week we try to take our daily personal/business conversations and translate them into the online world for others to view and use. This week is no different, as we hope that these five tips can help you decide on a person or company best suited for your online “social media” and other activities. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg, so if you need any other advice, please don’t be afraid to ask us or contact David Dandaneau directly, as we are here to help. Otherwise, we will see you back here again next week, with another tip brought to you… Well, by YOU! You know the story… Keep Smiling Kidzzz!
David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.