It’s Not the Size That Matters, It’s How You Use It

August 17, 2009
By rebecca in Social Media

Herro folks! I’m Rebecca Kelley, and I’m here to kick-start guest blogging week at Outspoken Media. For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, I’m the Director of Social Media and blog manager for 10e20, the awesomest social media marketing company you can find in that big ol’ Internet playground (we usually hang out near the jungle gym). Think of me as the somewhat-Asian Lisa Barone.

Close enough.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago my lovely coworker Greg and I noticed someone tweet some lovely advice about how to hire a legit social media consultant. The tip was something along the lines of “Don’t hire a social media marketer who doesn’t have a Facebook profile or a Twitter account with fewer than 1,000 followers.” To that I offer up a resounding “Whuh?”

Being popular an expert does not make (a little Yoda wording for you). Having thousands of followers on Twitter doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing in the social media realm. The same goes for Facebook and MySpace — you could have thousands of friends and not know a damn thing about social media marketing. There’s a huge difference between marketing yourself and marketing for a client. For all I know, you could be friending and following everyone and anyone with an account. Quantity does not equal quality, people.

I know lots of great social media marketers with low-key Facebook profiles and less than 1,000 Twitter followers. Big deal — that doesn’t mean they’re lurking in a basement somewhere hissing at the sun and letting boxes pile up on their doorstep because they’re afraid to interact with the mailman. Their small group of followers is probably more targeted and more useful than the 10,000 a self-coined “social media expert” has. Maybe they’re too busy getting actual results for their clients than trying to greedily slurp up more followers to their already bloated accounts.

Of course, I’m not saying that every social media marketer with a huge public presence and a successful Twitter account is a phony who doesn’t know what he’s doing. That’s not the case at all. I just mean to say that not everyone with a smaller personal social media presence is automatically a non-expert. Look at other factors to judge by — if he/she has a smaller account, how is it being used? If there is no Twitter account or a limited presence, ask why and see what the justification is. Maybe there’s a good reason for the lack of presence — they’re promoting their company brand instead of their personal brand, or they choose to stay under the radar for marketing purposes, etc.

When looking to hire a social media marketer, instead of just checking the numbers to see how big they are, ask for a portfolio or some case studies/examples. See who they’ve worked with in the past and check to see how well their clients’ social media presence has been handled. After a little bit of research and some communication with the prospective marketer, you should get a good idea of whether this person seems to know what he’s doing and if he’ll be a good fit for your company’s needs. If you’re still unsure, try setting up a trial period. If you’re still unsure, find someone you’ll feel more comfortable working with. After all, it is your company and your brand.

Just don’t automatically assume that lots of followers + a large network = social media expert. Just remember, Heidi Montag has over half a million Twitter followers and I’m pretty sure she’s socially brain-dead. Just sayin’…

It’s like looking directly into Satan’s asshole.

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