Ways To Spot a Social Media Poser NOT an Expert!

By on May 27, 2013

Social media experts, managers and community leaders are popping up all over the place. The question is – how do you tell the authentic experts from the people that are just pretending to know all about social media? Today, I’m going to let you in on 8 tell-tale signs that your new manager is actually a poser in disguise!


#1: They Don’t Know Any of The Latest Updates

As you move from campaign to campaign as a social media manager, it becomes a very important daily ritual to check out what is happening in the news. Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn – someone will have something new nearly every day.

Real social media managers will be concerned with staying up-to-date on the latest trends and patterns so that they can change their strategies periodically. If the person you’re hiring doesn’t know the latest information (or even upcoming information) they could be a poser.


#2: The Social Media Theorist

The person you have hired knows a lot about social media theory, but very little about practice, strategy and content development. This means they’ve read a book on social media, along with a few articles online, and think they are experts. These people don’t have a business view of social media, and they will think that it’s easy to get results over time.


#3: Experts Usually Know Other Experts

If your social media manager doesn’t know anyone else in the field of social media, they are probably not as important as they believe they are. The best social managers will have a close network of influencers that work within the online world. Ask your new manager if they know who Mari Smith, Michael Stelzner, Seth Godin, Jason Falls, Jeff Bullas or Chris Brogan are – these are the top social media guys in the field.


#4: I Can Get You Way More Fans

For some mysterious reason, new social managers are obsessed with growing their communities, but they tend to go about it in the wrong ways. This is because they think ‘success’ means numbers. We already know that numbers mean nothing if they can’t be converted, and it takes dozens of strategies to keep these conversions high.

If your social media manager tries to sell you the old ‘more likes, followers and fans!’ pitch, that’s all it is – a pitch. Chances are, they will make the horrible mistake of buying your fans or employing some other rather spammy techniques to get you noticed. This is the last thing you want for a brand that has barely entered the social sphere.


#5: Use The Ranking List Test

Many social media posers are only concerned with Facebook and Twitter. They’ve barely had time to think about other sites. A true social expert will not only know about Pinterest, Google+, bookmarking sites, YouTube and Foursquare – they will understand how to use each site for your brand benefit.

Administer a ranking test, by asking your potential social manager to make a list of the best social media sites, as well as what each site is commonly used for. Then ask them to write a short paragraph on how they would use these platforms to achieve more sales, larger communities and better customer service for your brand.


#6: Content Separates Social Managers From Posers

It doesn’t matter what your social manager tries to tell you – social experts are first and foremost experts on content, and how to use it to achieve certain results online. All of the best social media managers plan, research, create and publish tiered content that meets a predetermined need. If your manager can’t even write, they’re not an expert.

Now I’m not saying you can’t be an effective manager, without being an effective writer. Yes, you can always hire others to do your content for you. But content strategists have to work with their own content to truly understand the process. It’s just not the same if you have content made – unless you have a serious list of features required in that content.


#7: Too Much Excitement and Obsession With Viral Marketing

If a piece of content goes viral, it becomes that much more effective. But every new social expert believes that they can do it, with barely any effort. This is because they have just been introduced to the world of social media, and they think that it’s a NEW thing, even though it’s been around for some ten years.

They won’t be able to contain their excitement, and they will make sweeping declarations like ‘I can make your video go viral!’ – but they have no idea what SEO is, and they’ve never even seen the YouTube ad backend. Be very careful of grand statements like this, it’s devastatingly difficult to make content go viral.


#8: Ask Them The Ultimate Strategy Question!

If you still can’t decide whether your social manager is an expert or a poser, there is one fool-proof question that you can ask them. “How will you prove to me that the tactics and strategies you are employing each day are working?” New social posers won’t have a clue. Some might say – analytics and not know how it works.

You’re looking for an answer like this: “I’ll begin by determining what your current social content map appears like online. Then I will evaluate your content, to determine what still needs to be done before certain strategies can be utilized. At the beginning of each week I will outline what I’m going to do. Everything will be recorded in an Excel spread sheet.

I’ll also use a dashboard like Hootsuite, Argyle Social or TweetDeck as an analytics tool to accompany the metrics we pull from Google Webmaster Tools. The goal is to reach for constant content improvement based on tests, content analysis and by implementing customer-centric decisioning throughout the process. At the end of each week a report will be compiled. These will form monthly and bi-annual progress reports.”

If the answer is nothing like this, they’ve never worked with social media strategy or content a day in their lives! If they can pass this test, then you have yourself an expert strategist!

How do you determine whether someone is a social media expert or a fake?

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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