— blending the mix

25 Signs You’ve Got a Strong SM Consultant or Agency

I’ve previously bookmarked Geoff’s article (Top 25 Ways to Tell if Your Social Media Expert Is a Carpetbagger) but didn’t really have the time to add anything of value to it. Likewise, Geoff and Beth’s article leaves me with little else to add (or that a few hours of harder thinking than normal may produce!).

If you haven’t read it, please do so here.

What got me with the last article though (as with so many of these lists) is the overwhelming negativity. “How NOT to…10 reasons why you shouldn’t…25 ways NOT to…” you get the picture. That is why I am so pleased that this kind of positive list exists.

2 points of note are these and build on Tara’s point about building social capital/whuffie:

17) Helps and guides clients so that they can understand the benefits of social media and implement it properly (themselves) (example: Amber Naslund)

19) Educates clients on understanding that they no longer own or control their brand and educates them on how to create customer evangelists (example: Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba)

In the UK (especially), although I guess the US less-so, clients need an awful lot of coaching as to what social media is, why it is of use, best practice and how they can implement/integrate it. Clients are already cynical enough about social media, without being hit with constant lists about what NOT to do.

I am privileged to be part of Charlene’s wiki alongside such names as Geoff, Brian and Neville, but if this one list tells us anything, there are very few people who can actually walk the walk (taking me to point 13):

13) Has and continues to work on notable social media projects (example: Andy Sernovitz)

There is an ongoing debate about the value of social media specialists or PR people turned social media specialists, and there are so many valuable pointers in here which any good social media specilaist SHOULD be able to add.

My two-penneth:

1) A TRUE social media specialist is a translator. They can understand your business objectives and translate these into appropriate tools/channels/methods and techniques to maximise impact but in a way which is synpathetic to the needs of the customer.

2) They understand process. As point 20 adds:

20) Won’t act as your social media ‘voice’ or ghostwrite for you (example: Laura Bergells)

A true social media specialist understands how to implement a strategy (although a never-ending strategy at that) and can develop the processes that help you, the client, create content, listen to conversations, understand them, moderate conversations, find interesting content etc.

This point is, for me, perhaps the important of all and is what distinguishes social media users (and wafflers) with true social media specialists who are both users and translators.

There is much more to come on this point 2 when I finally get my content creation and moderation process mind-mapped from Powerpoint.

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  1. henriette weber says: January 5, 20094:22 pm

    Hi Paul – thanks for adding to the list, both yours and Geoff’s are really great to let people know how to find out if people can walk the walk or not =)

  2. Craig McGinty says: January 6, 20095:49 am

    I think if you approach point 2 from the angle of being an editor, an enabler, a provider of ideas this will help the overall process.

    Because not only are you providing people with lessons in how to use the tools, you are making them think about how they relate to other people’s content, learn how other sites handle feedback, notice what works in design and this feedbacks into what they produce.

    Always thought that the value is not in ‘how to set up a blog’ but in guiding people over time to get the best out of a blog by making new connections and realising the value of these in the long run.

    (bit of a disclaimer, I’ve worked with Paul on talks about how to use a blog effectively)

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