How to Spot a Social Media Faker

I have some ground breaking advice.

If you are going to advertise for help with your Social Media Marketing know enough about the subject to work out if you’re hiring the right person.

I wrote this yesterday before I saw all the hoo ha over at Danny Brown’s blog about how to tell whether someone is a social media expert or not.  There’s quite a row going on because the measures of SM expertise laid out by Chris Kieff  in his blog have been deemed to be a bit random – how many followers does a real expert have? How many recommendations on LinkedIn before you feel you are in safe hands?.

Well before I even read Danny Brown’s blog I was working on a very simple idea based on experience.

Once you decide to hire someone to take your social media marketing to the next level please do this one thing, check to see which of your job applicants have followed you on Twitter.

I reckon you could clear out half the field in five minutes using this method.

If you haven’t checked to see how social media savvy your candidates are, how can you possibly rely on them to be your SM representative in the future? If checking out your website and following you on Twitter weren’t their first actions when they saw the job advert then they probably aren’t as passionate about social media as they say they are.

After that you might want to see if they have also commented on your company blog, re-tweeted your content or made any attempt to engage with you on social media at all, because if they haven’t, what are they doing applying for this kind of work?

So please – if you want to make sure you hire the real deal, find out enough about it to ask the right questions and then start by asking every single candidate whether they follow you on Twitter – and if not, why?


5 responses to “How to Spot a Social Media Faker

  1. Lucy,
    I’ve learned quite a bit about how people are thinking of measuring expertise in the last few days. The discussion on my blog post has been amazing.
    I think your idea here can be extended to agencies wanting to represent your company in social media as well.
    Thank you,

  2. Thank you! I love the fact that we can all learn so much from these discussions.

  3. Nice ideas, Lucy.

    When we’re looking for interns to “train” on social media (that seems a bizarre mix of words), we’ll look to see if they have any presence on the platforms. Especially when they say they have a huge interest in social media in their application. It’s surprising how many don’t – not that this is a bad thing, as we all start somewhere, but if you’re saying you have a great interest at least back it up. 🙂

    One of the best applications we got was via our Facebook page – to me, that shows understanding of what you want to get into, and taking the time to understand your potential “employers”.

    Funny how a little bit of work mixed with “common sense” goes a long way. 🙂

  4. Spot on, Lucy. I’m recruiting at present for social comms execs, but I’m not interested in CVs. In fact, I didn’t even ask for a CV from the two outstanding candidates I’ve spoken to until AFTER I’d spoken to them. For social comms positions you have to be more aware of general attitude, passion and knowledge than what they’ve done in the past. It’s such a new area that a work history showing social comms is a little unrealistic for more junior positions.

    The first thing I do is check someone’s Twitter profile, LinkedIn profile and blog (if they have one) and I try and strike up an initial relationship via Twitter. Ideally, they’ll strike up a relationship with me, rather than the other way round. You HAVE to be driven and passionate to make it in social comms.

  5. Yes absolutely – if social media is changing the rules of the game, it is changing the way we apply for jobs as well. However I fear that bright candidates who try to engage online with potential employers may be disappointed when some of them fail to engage- it has happened to me!

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