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Top 25 Ways to Tell if Your Social Media Expert Is a Carpetbagger

by Beth Harte and Geoff Livingston


The bad economy has brought to bear one unwelcome change.  With a desire to use more cost effective communication forms, companies are looking to social media.  As a result, there are many, many companies, agencies and consultants rushing to offer social media services. Unfortunately, they don’t know what they’re doing (Image: Rifle Expert by Randy son of Robert).

Companies need to turn a discerning eye onto their potential social media partners. Here’s a quick list of some ways to vet potential social media experts.

1) When asked about listening, gives you a blank stare.

2) Converses at people instead of with them on social networks 

3) No tangible past experience delivering return on investment either for themselves or others

4) Doesn’t understand how social media integrates into larger corporate communications or business strategy

5) First recommendation is to blog

6) Believes in delivering messages

7) Will ghostwrite blog posts and other social content for you

8) Is willing to impersonate you online in social networks

9) Trots in “social media expert” for sales meeting

10) Their blog is less than six months old or has no comments

11) Blog only has links to traditional 1.0 media sites

12) Cannot host conversation without constantly interjecting self into said conversation

13) Talks about cultivating your personal brand

14) Will not allow employees to participate in larger conversation

15) Will guarantee results without any prior experiences

16) Just added new social media department

17) Recommends Facebook Group as first tactic

18) Defines social media as only tools (Facebook, blogs, Flickr <INSERT SHINY OBJECT HERE>) as opposed to conversations with communities

19) First campaign involves a contest without a strategy

20) Doesn’t know what Technorati is

21) Talks about applying mass communications theory

22) Posts less than five times a month on their blog

23) Thinks social media is about creating content

24) Suggests publishing promotional copy as social content

25) Believes social media is the sole terrain of either PR or advertising

What would you add to this list?

12/20 Update: Andrew Vascellari shot an absolutely hilarious video version of this post on his blog. Check out Andrew’s riffing on the 25:

About Geoff Livingston:

269 Comments on “Top 25 Ways to Tell if Your Social Media Expert Is a Carpetbagger

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  14.  by  Kyle Lanning

    Thinks facebook is a book with people’s faces from around the world. “Hey, yesterday, did you hear this? Computer hackers managed to shut down Twitter and my favorite, Facebook, for several hours. In a related story, yesterday American productivity jumped by 159%.” (:

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