Let's get one thing straight: I have enough friends. So this is not the blog post where I plan to make them. If anything, It's most likely going to make me some enemies.
Now that you know where I'm coming from, let me save you some time and money in the sourcing of a social media and/or online marketing expert. Most are freelance bullshit artists peddling self-published books, speaking fees and subscription-based websites with "secrets" and "tips". I think you all know by know via reading this blog that there are no secrets to social media and online marketing. The only thing you need to know is that effectively maintaining a social media presence is a metric shit ton of work that for most of us has a lousy ROI but is mandatory in 2012. That said, doing it right will probably help your brand/business - no guarantees.
Now please know that there are individuals and agencies that do provide quality information and counsel. This post is not about them. You will be able to easily tell who the good ones are by their past/current clients lists as well as their own online footprint and above all, client referrals.
This article is about how to quickly identify their Renfield-esque competitors who prey on business owners who cannot afford or find a reputable agency or consultant. Below, I give you red flag 1 of 3 to look out for:
Red flag 1: Do not give a cent to someone who refers to themselves as the following:
- Renaissance Man
- Rock Star
- Thought Leader
In the context of this post, the above are all synonyms for "Douche", "Hack" and "making easy money in between playing Assassin's Creed III in my folk's basement". Additionally, be careful of "experts" who feature pictures of their cats, them skydiving, holding a rubber chicken or sporting a pre-pubescent goatee.
No one who uses the above titles or features self-aggrandizing pictures of their personal life can be considered reputable. Here's a solid rule: Treat every consultant you let near your business like a tatted-up punk-ass teenager dating your daughter. As I said before, there are people/agencies who can help you. Not everyone mind melds with social media like a tween and very few know how to monetize; that is why assistance is often needed. But in that search to find those who can help you, please for all that is holy, heed the above advice.