If you’ve noticed a flurry of new social media marketing providers appearing recently, you’re not the only one. There are thousands of the buggers, they’re making dizzying claims and many are charging next to nothing for it. So how do you choose the right person to help you get to grips with Twitter and co?
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‘You need someone who sees social media in context as one of your marketing tools, not the only marketing tool. If they advise you to drop all your marketing initiatives in favour of social media, they’re deluded.
- It’s good to have evidence. If your SMM person can’t give you anonymised case studies showing the ROI they’ve achieved for other people, forget it. If digging deeper reveals you’re their first client, back off unless they’re willing to accept payment based on hard results. It’s no good paying someone to learn on the job.
- It’s important to find someone who understands the business landscape and knows the basics of how business works. Not just someone who knows how to drive Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- If someone tries to tell you it’s all about selling, back away. Successful SMM is about great networking, not just spewing out a stream of marketing-led offers. You need to interact with your community, build trust, be helpful, join in and react. It’s a slow burn.
- If someone proclaims you should gather as many followers as you can, as fast as you can, just say no. SMM is about carefully, methodically building strong, relevant communities, not just collecting fans and followers willy nilly.
- You need someone who realises that your back end is just as important as your front end! Proper marketers know there’s no point driving oodles of traffic to a site if, once the traffic gets there, they’re met by crappy content. Successful SMM isn’t just about lead generation. Its about sales conversion too.
- Find someone who appreciates the connection between traffic and SEO. When you drive traffic to your site via SMM Google and co will ‘notice’ and over time, provided your traffic is consistently high or constantly increasing, they’ll take it into account when calculating your positions in the search results. If a person doesn’t realise there’s an SEO connection, they don’t have all the knowledge they need to support your SMM ambitions.
If someone’s talking gobbledegook at you, it’s probably because they’re not 100% confident in their skills. Good marketers don’t need to bullshit, they’re happy to explain things clearly and simply.
As a general rule, when you pay peanuts you get monkeys. If someone’s offering to train you fully in SMM for £40 a pop, you’ll get what you pay for. Rubbish. Or at best a pale, thin picture with no meat on its marketing bones.
Real expertise is thin on the ground and most good SMM practitioners happily admit there’s no such thing – yet – as a social media marketing expert. It’s in its infancy, things are changing fast and we’re still on a steep learning curve. But there are some genuinely excellent people out there.