I had a meeting with my business advisor today. He helps small, independently-owned businesses get off the ground. He’s been highly successful in his ventures for 30 years. In short, when it comes to starting & running a business, he knows his shit.
The reason he wanted to meet, though, was because he had heard about my Social Media workshops. SoMe is a buzzword nowadays, and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. He gets cold calls all day long from companies claiming to “do Social Media.” He can start and run a business, but knows almost nothing about what I do. That’s great. That’s why we have accountants, lawyers and receptionists. Nobody can do it all (at least for very long).
He asked me “How do I know if they’re going to do it correctly? How do I know if they’re not just going to rip off me or my clients?”
Here are a few tips to ask a company or person who claims to “do Social Media” before actually hiring them:
1. What’s their Klout score? Those of us in the SoMe field are pretty much over Klout, but it’s also a necessary evil that we have to keep up with. Klout is your internet grade. If that SoMe “pro” has a score lower than 50, doesn’t know their score, or, heck, isn’t even ON Klout, find someone else.
2. If they offer Twitter as a service, ask them what their engagement percentage is. If they don’t have an answer to that, find someone else. There are companies who post a lot on Twitter, but they don’t ENGAGE. Remember, this is SOCIAL MEDIA, which begins with the word SOCIAL. You can post about yourself…20% of the time. The rest should be actively jumping into conversations and engaging with others, even if they are not your target audience.
3. Ask them what times of day posts on Facebook get the most traction. If they don’t know what that means, well, you know what I’m going to say. But, different industries need posts at different times of day. I have a client whose product is for babies. Stay-at-home moms are online during the day. That’s the best time to post. My other clients, though, have a target audience of working people. I don’t post for them until after dinner. That’s when people are home, settling in to play Farmville, and generally have the time to do more than just check messages.
4. ALWAYS ask for links to pages/accounts they manage. If they’re afraid to give that up, they’re hiding something. Transparency will take someone way farther than keeping everything on the DL. When a potential client asks me for help, the FIRST thing I do is check their accounts. No likes or comments? No engagement? Only posting on Twitter? Only a handful of followers or following only a few people? Or, the WORST: cross-posting. GOLD MINE. That’s the stuff that excites me, because seeing it done so poorly or incorrectly, and KNOWING I can do better, gets my juices flowing.
5. Ask them if they know who @Unmarketing or @garyvee are. Seriously. If they don’t, take their card and kindly tell them you’ll be in touch.
(By the way, my Klout score is 68.)