Disclosure: If I'm not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on my part and will be corrected soon.

Lately, I’ve received more and more requests to recommend “a social media marketing expert” (their words, not mine) to help create and manage their company’s social media strategy. Overall, it appears that the bulk of the people that have asked, have not been too keen on their existing expert.

Many have even felt duped by the firm they hired. After looking at a couple of the choices, it’s easy to see how the companies might feel deceived, based on the fact that they’ve hired self-proclaimed “experts” who I remember claiming to be experts in something else just a year ago.

A while back, I asked readers of my blog to provide some suggestions on red flags folks should look for when interviewing social media marketing companies. Here are some of their comments I received on my blog, Facebook and Twitter:

“When their email address is @gmail, @msn or @yahoo instead of a “real” company address. If you can’t set up branded email, I doubt you can test, measure and optimize social media campaigns.” – Anne Holland, WhichTestWon.com

“When the first thing they talk about for Social Media is Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.” – Patrick Allmond, AllAboutFocus.com

“When the expert negotiates their consulting fee in free food. If they don’t know how to command proper pay for their services, how are you to expect that they know how to generate actual tangible revenue for you?”– Lori Miller, Twitter.com/PokerVixen

“When you look at their Twitter account and it states they joined Twitter six months ago.” – Karen Rocks, SparkFireMarketing.com

“When they can only talk tools (Facebook, Twitter) and not strategy; when they talk nothing but buzzwords like “engagement, metrics, authenticity” without context.” – Davina Brewer, 3HatsCommunications.com

“When you can’t find anything about them on Google and their site is nothing more than a price sheet splash page.” – Anastasia Hilinsky, HilinskyConsulting.com

“When they talk in %’s instead of real numbers… 200% growth in Fans! (From 4 to 11)” – Kevin Webster, LevelAnalytics.com

“When they neither have an outline, nor a clear plan on how they will promote your business through Social Media” – Geno Prussakov, AMNavigator.com

“When they don’t inventory your current communication channels, know what UGC stands for and have never used PickFu.” – Pat Grady, RhinoFish.com

“If the social media expert insists that you can’t measure the ROI on Social Media, chances are, they don’t know what they’re doing.” – Derek Halpern, SocialTriggers.com

“When you search for the company name on Twitter (or any social media channel) and get no results.” – Sharon Mostyn, SharonMostyn.com

“When you also see them in forums complaining that they can’t get any traffic and are thinking of giving up.” – Malcolm McDonough, PregnantByDesign.com

“When they call themselves a social media expert in the first place.” – Josh Todd, InsideAffiliate.net

There are a lot of great firms out there, and it is my hope this will help separate the wheat from the chaff.

Missy is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and is the VP of Operations for MoneyMindedMoms.com.

Download the entire FeedFront issue 13 here – http://www.scribd.com/doc/45332687/FeedFront-Magazine-Issue-13
FeedFront issue 13 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2010/12a>

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Missy Ward

Co-Founder & President at Affiliate Summit, Inc.
Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, itsaWAHMthing.com; the Co-Publisher of Revenews.com, Founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and manages many of her own affiliate sites. If she's not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on her part and it will be corrected soon.

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