Saturday, July 30, 2011

How to spot a Social Media Expert

Anyone who has met myself or my business partner at Talking Finger Bill DeRosa you know a few things about us.
1-We only focus on Social Media.
2-We dress for meetings like we just got off our boat...all the time.
3-We love what we do and it shows.

But most importantly..."We don't call ourselves experts."

I am about to go off on a rant here (thank you Dennis Miller) and I can't help it. Blogs are diaries, informational pieces, places to share ideas etc., so here I go.

Doctors practice their entire lives...why...The word practice derives from the Greek word praktikos. The definition of practice therefore covers; the habit of doing anything; frequent use; performance; method; medical treatment and the exercise of any profession.
In other words they are always learning, always adapting to new methods because new is better when it comes to medicine. Why do they do this...because professionals always want to be better at what they do. I wish I had gone through the surgery I had as a kid NOW instead of back then. Less invasive, quicker recovery time, etc...

"Experts" according to Websters Dictionary(Caution...rant happening again...Remember that thing? I remember it as a monster 3000 page cinder block I used to look through to find words I did not know the meaning of. It never helped me remember how to spell them though! I blame spell check for that!) Where were we..o ya EXPERTS!!!...So Webster says an expert is a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field. While that definition may be true the person who is claiming to be a Social Media Expert is really a person who you should run the other way from!

Bill and I have sat in on seminars where we had to actually and politely correct the so called "expert". I felt bad about it last time but this guy didn't know what he was talking about right out of the gate. He had data that was 1 year old (rant approaching...) In social media terms 1 month is like 1 year. You have a dog? 1 year = 7 human years...get it..ok let move on. Here are some tips and to spot the so called experts.

A-The expert has been in business for over 6 months and has under 50 likes on the page and better yet the URL at the top does not look like this ( it looks like this ( ...BTW that link was made up, don't click it, I don't know where it will go. No really I made it up.)
B-Never asks any questions, only tells you "stuff"
C-The landing page (if they even know what that is/has one installed) does not automatically put a new person onto the page. Why is that important...Well it's simple. As a business owner you want to tell people who and what you do, commonly know as an elevator pitch. If I land on your wall page as a first time visitor I need to figure out what you do. Having a well made landing page is your elevator pitch!
D-The expert posts 1x per month or less. You, the reader, do not have enough time to hear my rant on why this is a big no-no.
E-As of today there are 750 million people on Facebook! That is a lot of people to reach out to. If your business is not on Facebook I bet there is a fax in your office still.
F-If they are not practicing what they preach RUN!!! I would not eat anything from a skinny chef, unless I was at a vegan restaurant.

A-Why would I use Twitter? One word. EGYPT.
Enough said. Learn it, use it!
If your expert is telling you that Twitter is just a bunch of junk WALK Away. Twitter has its purpose. A creative team will find the way for your business to use Twitter.

A-Second largest search engine in the world. #2! I would love it if Talking Finger was the #2 Social Media Marketing Company in the world. R/C Cola would love to be the #2 soda in the world. (no more rant, I think you get the message)
B-SEO, SEO, SEO, SEO, SEO. Search Engine Optimization. YouTube ranks results on the first page of most Google results. Most people are to lazy to search past the 2nd or sometimes 3rd page. Having a presence here puts you in front of people who you want to be in front of!
YouTube is a spoke in your wheel just like Facebook, Twitter, etc. You need it to get scene.

Those are 3 of the top places you need to be on Social Media. Its still marketing so you need to use it to make it work for you.

Here are some other tips to spot the "experts":
-They want you to send the same message from an automated system to all your social media channels. (Why would I want to tell my Social Media Reach the same message on 5 different platforms?...Oh, I know why...I want to bore them to it...lets move along)

-They think tracking any of the analytic's is meaningless and a waste of time. If you put a coupon ad in the newspaper you track result by the amount of coupons you get back in your hand right? Why would you not track your results online?

-They don't tell you to put the Social Media icons on the top of your Website. OK This is just plain stupid! You have a website, someone found you...tell them about your other links so they can get social with you! If the links are at the bottom of the page you are making and hoping someone will hunt for them. What is they want your Facebook/YouTube/Twitter info and you buried it on the contact tab?!

I hope you enjoyed reading my rant. I feel better now that I have vented. I need to get in the shower so I can go to a wedding.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Choosing the Right Social Media Marketing Agency

When the time comes to hire a professional to create or maintain your social media marketing, you must be careful with the agency you choose. While there are many fantastic agencies out there who understand the platform and are quite successful at it, there are many more who are still way behind. There are easy ways to find this out with a little research.

Social media marketing has grown in complexity, and focus is the key to success. It is not a sprint like traditional platforms, it is a marathon. A profitable marathon. It is relationship building for long term success and due to the nature of the platforms, is easily shared among the masses. It truly is a fundamental shift in the way businesses will operate as time goes on.

Below is a short list of things you should look for when you are seeking an agency to help you utilize this incredible medium.

1. Make sure they are deeply immersed in their OWN social media marketing. After all, they can't possibly understand what works and what doesn't work on the various platforms available without participating in full themselves. Have they made a Tweet in the last 3 days? Is their Facebook page engaging, informational and are people *actively* participating in conversations? Does it have a landing page and at least some minor customizations? What about a YouTube channel? Does this channel offer instructional videos they have produced and possibly some videos they made for clients? Are they active on LinkedIn? On LinkedIn, do they have recommendations from clients and list social media marketing as their main occupation? A member of groups within the industry? Do they blog? If the answer is no to most of these, go elsewhere.

2. Are they specifically a social media marketing agency, or at least make it their main service offering? The platform has grown much beyond being an offering for an agency (ie advertising/marketing/website/PR) and you will see more and more agencies who will focus on social media; and only social media. Many firms who have added it to their lists of services do a lackluster job. Since they are typically trained in traditional "push" marketing, most still use social media like a billboard, magazine ad or website, which will result in lackluster results. See #1 to check if they are truly immersed for proof in the pudding.

3. Do they give seminars or webinars about social media marketing? While this isn't a total necessity, it does show that they can talk the talk with confidence in a setting that people can ask questions and interact with them live. Try to attend one of their offerings, and ask pointed questions. Push the envelope. If you are going to spend your money with a professional, make sure they are one, and can answer most if not all questions.

That's just the basics. Use common sense...if they can't answer questions like "Why do I need a landing page", or "How do I cross market my Facebook page on other pages", or "What is Quora" then the decision should be easy.