There are many professionals and businesses out there these days that tout they are experts in the social media realm. However, due to the ever-evolving nature of social media (which is still a very young industry), you want to make sure your social media manager or agency has the following qualities:
- Walks the walk, not just talks the talk – There are many social media professionals out there who, although they might talk loudly about the benefits of social media (and what you should or should not do), they don’t actually practice what they preach. For instance, if they tell you that their platform of focus is LinkedIn, but they haven’t updated their own LinkedIn profile in ages, that might be a tell-tale sign that they’re just bluffing. I have observed several professionals in the field who claim they are an influencer on Twitter, but when I check their Twitter presence, they either barely use their account or they merely broadcast the latest social media articles and neglect to engage in conversations with other Twitter users. Look past the number of followers/following ratio and really observe whether the social media professional is actually doing the work on his or her own profiles.
- Credentials (and not what you might think) – Forget about the advanced degree that your social media professional might talk up in his or her interview with you: you might do better in finding out what OTHER credentials the professional may have (remember what I said earlier about how social media is a *very* young industry?). Do they have a website with case studies on past client work they have performed? Again, are they *active* on the social media platforms that you want them to do work on for you? Do they have certificates for social media from online programs? For instance, Hootsuite, a social media management platform/webapp, has its own education program called Podium where professionals can take free social media classes but can also pay to get certified in social media.
- Actually talks about quality metrics/analytics, not just number of followers – Run far, far away if your social media professional says, “I can get you x number of followers per day.” While yes, having a considerable number of followers *can* be helpful, it is NOT the be-all, end-all metric to measure. Do they talk about engagement? Do they talk about conversions to sales? Check their credentials again and see if their previous clients experienced increases in sales (or even just brand awareness) by working with this professional.
- A humble attitude and willingness to continue learning – A good social media manager or agency should have a firm handle on trends happening in the social media sector: after all, he or she should never stop learning since the field changes on a weekly–even daily–basis. Ask your social media professional what kind of research he or she conducts to stay updated on the social media world.
Now it’s your turn: what other qualities do you think are important for a social media manager or agency?
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