The next important thing to outline in this series is how to know whether the person you are watching, learning from and replicating their activity is doing it right. How do you know that what that “expert” is writing on their blog actually works or will work for you? How do you know if the person writing the book or article is really an “expert”? How do you know that the things they are doing in their social media activity that you are replicating actually does produce revenue and ROI?
The direct answer to these questions is, there is no real way to know for sure. I know that is not very helpful to hear and I realize that some of you reading this are now more frustrated than when you started with social media because of this answer. But the fact is, these people aren’t going to give you their profit and loss statements, their analytics or their sales numbers. Now days, anyone can write and publish a book, write a blog or be seen as an expert by an ignorant media. So the bottom line is that it is incumbent upon us to make the determination of who in fact is an expert, or at least a professional.
*Side note – In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a social media expert, guru or ninja. This industry changes so quickly and is far too new to have established any of those yet. There are a lot ofcelebrities, and many professionals, but no experts.
Here are some things I do to determine whether I should listen to or replicate activity of someone who is considered to be a social media expert or professional:
1) Walk the talk – After reading an article they’ve written, check their newsfeed to see if they actual do what they are telling you to do.
2) Blazing Blog Posts – One or more blog posts per day? Really? That makes you a blogger and someone looking to drive traffic to your blog, more than a social media professional. If you are actually doing social media effectively, you don’t have time to write quite that much. What’s worse is you are probably not writing everything you post and therefore it will be evident in your newsfeed activity that it’s not you writing.
3) Be my guest – One thing I have found is the people who have a ton of “guest” bloggers should be carefully scrutinized. Not ALL but many are taking advantage of other unsuspecting writers to further their web traffic. Want my articles? Then pay me!
4) Me first – Look for limited Retweeting, sharing or posting of other people’s content. As an example, I am in tribes on Triberr with many of these kinds of “name” industry experts. I don’t think they ever login and share other people’s posts that are in their tribe. I have stop sharing many of their content.
5) You work? – Look into exactly what it is that the so-called expert really does for a living. This always amazes me. You’re a social media expert, yet you are always speaking somewhere and never responding to people. Or the infamous, “monetized blog” people. They are web marketers whose entire focus is blog traffic for advertising or affiliate revenue. Is what they are telling you, really being driven by income from selling that product or does it really work? Pay attention…
6) The Train Jumper – I have pretty much got this one down now and can identify these people very quickly. Once something in the news happens, they are the first to write about it. The new network, the big social scandal, the latest application. If you were a social media professional, you wouldn’t be chasing every new shiny object in order to be the first to write about it. You would wait, observe and investigate. Train Jumpers are traffic hounds for a living.
7) Too good for you – Engage with the “expert”. Ask them a question. Retweet or share something they posted and wait. Do they respond? Do they answer your question? Do they do it in a timely fashion? Do they even thank you? *Remember their article you read about social media being about relationships??* (RED FLAG)
8) Check – Is the software, tool, activity they are deploying or talking about fit with how one might do something in the real world? If the equivalent activity in the real world would not go over well with people at a networking event, be very hesitant.
9) The Reviewer – Watch for the experts whose content is always about tools. If you’re an expert and have not already figured out the couple of tools it takes to get results, or worse you are constantly leading others down a tools chase, there is definitely a problem.
10) Gamers – Watch for people whose activity wreaks of gaming followers, friends and Klout scores. Lot’s of activity can achieve gains in these areas. Oddly, they also tend to diminish real revenue, relationship and results that actually matter. There are a lot of folks out there that do this in order to “appear” as somebody.
The really sad part is that I have coached a few people who have fallen into this celebrity trap. I won’t name any names, but people I have watched go from near zero to now being a blog and Klout machine, rarely engaging and chasing after and replicating the poor strategies of the celebrity, becoming one themselves. The problem is, I know them and know where they are really at in life and business. I can assure you that this no more make them rich than it does make them an expert.
This series and specifically this post might seem a but harsh to some, but perceptions can be very deceiving and I am tired of seeing good people who want to learn being taken down dark alleys that can potentially be ruining to them in business!