So what constitutes someone receiving the title Social Media Guru?
Unfortunately many like to use the term social media guru or expert to describe themselves. They feel that they are expert because they are involved on a network and use it regularly. Since you may not yet be on the social media platform, they feel they are fully qualified to teach you how to do it. The only problem is that when they begin to teach you how, they share their bad habits with you. They teach you how to set up automated ways to gain 1,000 followers on Twitter which sounds great, but really will not help your business. I had a conversation on Twitter the other day with a well respected person in the social media realm. The statement @garyvee made was this: “If u are seeing this tweet I have one simple thing to say : THANK YOU, it stuns me that people care about the # of followers, if u have 1 :)”
Focusing on the one connection you have to make that single person feel like the most important person in the world can be more beneficial for your business than having 350 that you do not engage at all. Word of mouth referrals is always the most powerful way to build your business. Also, if you are automating everything to focus on getting more followers, those that do follow will instantly look at your content as an annoying spammer and probably either block you or place you in a hidden list that they ignore completely.
So how should you go about hiring someone for online consulting as your social media advisor?
Before hiring someone and paying them money you should first see what type of help they are offering. Is it just a CD series of what they did to get their big batch of connections or is it going to be training that will help teach you how to use social media platforms for your business to grow your business. Remember, you need to get information to teach you how to engage prospective clients and to convert them into raving fans, not just get more people connected to you. Use the Kevin Costner method, “if you build it, they will come.” Set it up properly and use the correct practices and you will gain the following you want.
The other night I had someone approach me and ask if I had ever heard of some guy that was on TV selling a CD series on how they were able to make thousands of dollars in less than 24 hours of time using the internet. After sharing with the gentleman that I had never heard of him, he said “well I was up late last night and this guy was on TV around 3 AM selling this series that he used to make all this money online. I bought the CD’s. Plus they have a money back guarantee, I just have to wait a year to get my money” I turned and said what I always tell clients: If it is such a good product & method that can make you so much money, why would the guy share the secrets with you instead of just making the money himself? Not to mention, you just gave this gentleman an interest free loan for a year!
Which brings me to my second point, There are no quick ways to make money with social media. The gurus who say you can do this and within 30 days it will start making you millions with only working 1 hour a week are sharing lies. Effective social media marketing takes time and hard work. It takes constant work of writing new blog content, engaging friends & followers on both Facebook & Twitter. If someone says you can do this a different way, RUN!
Thirdly, ask the “guru” for proof. Instead of just hiring them because they gave a good sales pitch, ask for them to show you their Facebook Page, Twitter Account, and Blog. See if they are actually using social media effectively in their business first. This is a huge indicator as to what they will be sharing with you. Also, do not be afraid to ask for testimonials from previous clients. They should be able to easily & quickly provide this as well as a portfolio of some of the work they have done for clients. If you do your homework before hiring them you will not end up spending thousands of dollars on a website that never gets produced. I learned this one the hard way.
I was helping a church get a website a few years back and went online did a little research and found a company that looked like a reputable site and asked them to create a website for the church. Since they only focused on church sites I thought this was a slam dunk winner. I looked at the portfolio of work & it looked nice so we went ahead and paid them to build the site. After $1,500 spent and no site they fell off the earth. We had the shell of the site built, but didn’t have access into it so we could not log in to remove the spam & PORN that was being plastered all over the forums of the church site.
Needless to say the church was not happy with the results and since then has not had an online presence. Luckily they trust me enough to build them another site which will hopefully go live in the next few weeks. This time however, I will be doing all the creating and building of the website myself, so it will hopefully go a lot smoother and end up with an even better result.
Lastly, before hiring the social media guru, take some time to research them on the internet. Go and Google their business name, their personal name, phone number, & address. People who are unhappy about someone are going to share about their displeasure of a company. Don’t just search the company name, but take it a step farther & search the person’s name & phone number. Whenever my phone rings with someone trying to sell me something I go straight to the search engines and enter the phone number in. Within seconds I can tell everything that people who have had experience with this company really think & feel. You will know quickly that this number will call to sell the world, but then disappears and is extremely difficult to get the automatic payments stopped. You will know if they promise to get you 10,000 visits to your site but after signing up you then realize that the package you purchased only gets you 200 and to get the larger numbers of traffic you need to spend another $300 per month. I can normally know before even hanging up the phone if I wish to do business with this vendor or not.
In closing, if you Invest a little time at the beginning of your journey into social media you will end up with better results. By not taking the time in the beginning, you could end up investing a lot more dollars to receive the same result in the long run.