In this economy, businesses are struggling and social media is new. Everyone “knows” it is the fastest greenest form of making connections and building your network. When business owners do not know much about new media, someone who knows just a little more may seem like an expert. With this in mind, many groups are selling an “experimental” form of social media to their clients. This goes against all business morale. People need social media that works, not learn to simply dabble in it and make some friends. So where do you start? There are many places to get comprehensive social media, but here are some people and places you should not be looking:
1. Web Designers – Companies that build websites are not social media professionals. They may know how to make a Facebook Fan Page or start a Twitter account, but their main focus is web development. I have dealt with several people recently that have told me that their web designer is handling their social media for the past several months and it proves my point exactly. There is not really much to show. On the other hand, a web designer may even pass the social media work to a “friend” who thinks they know what they are doing, do their client a great injustice, and hurt the cause of the business. Also, web designers may be struggling, so they put the social media hat on to make a few extra bucks, and get little done. Finally, they may be worried about losing their clients to a company that does social media, so they rather limit their knowledge and not point them in the right direction. Some web designers go against the tide and give their clients the best social media specialist options available.
2. Social Media Interns – An intern is someone who works in a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training. This means that you have someone practicing on you and trying to learn it at the same time. With something as vital as social media marketing, your business deserves a little more commitment than being an experimental test dummy.
3. SEO Experts – Being a search engine optimization expert is not a resume for social media. I have several friends in this area and they will gladly agree. Just because you know how to keyword correctly and customize meta-tags, does not mean that you know new media. Yes, common sense SEO is good to know, but that does not qualify you for social media at all. This also goes for other traditional marketers. A doctor does not do everything. I do not want my dentist doctor performing brain surgery on me. Get your roles correct and clarity what they do best.
4. Unsociable People – Having no personality and flexibility in person will make a bad showing online. I understand that some have an “alter-ego” where they are a recluse in person, and then a superstar online, but that is the exception. As the rule, your sociable skills that you currently have end up being the same attitude you have online. This is where you could really use someone that knows how to communicate and socially integrate you online. I tell people all of the time that the 1st rule of social media is to BE SOCIABLE. Without it, you miss the whole point.
5. Your Teens and College Kids – Just because you have a son in college that has a MySpace page, it does not mean that they know anything about business social media. They know how to connect and network online, just like my 6 year old (maybe a little more). Social media, internet networking and marketing for your company is very important. In the hands of a child, it could be dangerous.
Of course, if you have enough time on your hands, anyone can initiate and build their social media network. This could take years. I did a comparison on a company that told me “we are doing our own social media” about 6 months ago, and a social media package where I built it and trained the client just a mere 30 days ago; and the proof is in the pudding. What am I saying? Do your research and make sure you are getting a comprehensive social media package that works constantly for you and your business. This is neither the time nor place to play.