Social media professionals, listen up
If you’re thinking about hiring a social media professional – or are one yourself – take some tips from the experts.
We asked a number of entrepreneurs specializing in marketing and social media how they separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to social media managers, and they gave us some hints about how to spot whose social media game is all bark and no bite.
You can tell a lot from their socials
According to our experts, the first thing you should do if you’re hiring a social media professional is to check out their personal and/or professional social media pages.
Candidates with underwhelming, non-existent, out-of-date, or just plain bad social media pages should obviously get the chop.
“If they have no professional social presence themselves, that’s a big red flag,” says Chelle Honiker, executive director at the Texas Freelance Association. Another entrepreneur, Paul O’Brien of Media Tech Ventures, explains that “the only way to excel is to practice…. If you excel, why would you not be doing so on behalf of your personal brand?”
In other words, if someone can’t make their own social media appealing, how can they be expected to do so for a client?
These pros especially hated seeing outdated icons, infrequent posts, and automatic posts. Worse than outdated social media pages were bad social media pages. Marc Nathan of Miller Egan Molter & Nelson provided a laundry list of negative characteristics that he uses to rule out candidates, including “snarky,” “complaining, unprofessional” “too personal” “inauthentic,” and “argumentative.”
Besides eliminating candidates with poor social media presence, several of these pros also really hated gimmicky job titles such as “guru,” “whiz,” “ninja,” “superhero,” or “magician.”
They were especially turned off by candidates who called themselves “experts” without any proof of their success.
Jeff Fryer of ARM dislikes pros who call themselves experts because, he says “The top leaders in this field will be the first to tell you that they’re always learning– I know I am!” Steer clear of candidates who talk themselves up with ridiculous titles and who can’t provide solid evidence of their expertise.
How do you prove it?
According to our experts, some of them don’t even try. To candidates who say “’Social media can’t be measured,’” Fryer answer “yes it can[. L]earn how to be a marketer.” Beth Carpenter, CEO of Violet Hour Social Marketing, complains that many candidates “Can’t talk about ROI (return on investment),” arguing that a good social media pro should be able to show “how social contributes to overall business success.” Good social media pros should show their value in both quantitative and qualitative terms.
While our experts wanted to see numerical evidence of social media success, they were also unimpressed with “vanity metrics” such as numbers of followers.
Many poo-pooed the use of followers alone as an indicator of success, with Tinu Abayomi-Paul of Leveraged Promotion joking that “a trained monkey or spambot” can gather 1,000 followers.
Claims of expertise or success should also be backed up by references and experience in relevant fields.
Several entrepreneurs said that they had come across social media managers without “any experience in critical fields: marketing, advertising, strategic planning and/or writing,” to quote Nancy Schirm of Austin Visuals. She explains that it’s not enough to know how to “handle the technology.” Real social media experts must cultivate “instinct borne from actual experience in persuasive communication.”
So, if you’re an aspiring social media manager, go clean up those pages, get some references, and figure out solid metrics for demonstrating your success.
And if you’re hiring a social media manager, watch out for these red flags to cull your candidate pool.
Instagram re-posting can get your company into deep trouble
(SOCIAL MEDIA) This blowup over a shared Instagram pic is why many companies are doing their due diligence to not land in hot water.
Can’t ignore it
The perfect Instagram shot is social media gold.
For a business, this is especially true if that shot demonstrates a product or service of theirs. Many of us walk around with the attitude of “Eh, it’s out there” and don’t give serious consideration to the sharing or tagging of our pictures by celebrities or businesses (heck, I think it’s rather flattering).
Sharing is caring?
Entrepreneurs and small business owners should embrace that the best advertising is free: real people sharing real successes that cost no money to produce. I certainly understand and support any business who wants to use smart social media skills to make money and expand the customer base.
That being said, there are some times you need to really consider the use of your photos, and certainly a lot of businesses are giving thought to asking users about them.
This post captures a bad experience with a company who shared a photographer’s image and didn’t particularly care for that photographer’s response.
tl;dr: Max makes a most excellent case (Instagram’s terms of service would demand that you are responsible for paying the royalties of any image you post, after all).
A majority of companies are asking before using media for a few reasons because it’s not just the polite thing to do, it’s the legal thing to do. Whether or not you’re a professional photographer or a creative professional, you own the content of that post to Instagram, with some small concessions to Instagram itself.
Now, you need to exercise that right, but copyright privileges are not an exclusive power of the MPAA or any major media company.
You have some leniency as well. You may choose to let one company use your media and charge another; it’s within your rights to decide how you want that media to be shared. If someone is using content on Instagram and not crediting you, or using an image without your permission,report it.
This is another consideration if the production of photos or videos is part of your job. Making money off of content that you don’t own without permission is illegal, and small time photographers or image creators should be vigilant about ensuring their content is providing for them, not just someone else. The law is on your side, and for some additional information about registering your copyright for artists, here you go.
A lot of businesses are doing a great job using social media posts from customers, and that’s a trend that no matter how big or small, the businesses will and should continue.
Don’t be lame
Key rules here: respect and follow the wishes of the person who created that media. Whether it’s about money, or even something more intangible, businesses should respect social media convention and talk to their customers about how they want to use their media, how that person feels about that media being used, and of course, always crediting the original creator (unless you sell them the image in a contract).
Following the law, social media terms of service, and online decency is a trend everyone should be on.
Don’t let your Instagram vanish without a trace – have a backup plan
(SOCIAL MEDIA) In a weird glitch, multiple Instagram accounts vanished out of thin air. Don’t be stuck up the InstaVanish creek without a paddle… or at least a backup in place.
Can you imagine being locked out of your own Instagram account for no rhyme or reason? Well, dozens of people just found out, and they are PISSED.
Thankfully, we’ve got a solution to make sure you don’t lose out if it happens to you.
First, some context
According to coverage from Consumerist, “Several Instagram users began complaining about the disabled or deleted accounts on Twitter today [July 6], noting that they received no warning or explanation for why their accounts were no longer active. The affected accounts appear to cover a wide range of users, from business owners, to fan and personal accounts.”
Via Twitter, Instagram did acknowledge a known bug causing the issue and said, “we’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
However, the response came hours after complaints began, possibly because the issue allegedly affected a very small number of user accounts.
Furthermore, while Instagram gave instructions to users on how to reconfirm their identities and recover their account, they aren’t guaranteed to work.
So, bearing all that in mind, we here at American Genius recommend backing up your entire account in order to preserve your content.
Use what they give you
If you still have access to your account, you can utilize Instagram’s recently-launched Archive function. This lets you take photos off public view without removing them from your account; only you will be able to see them.
However, this does you no good if you’re already locked out, nor does it save posts that are publically available.
For that reason, we recommend a third-party backup option for your profile content.
A’int no party like a third party
You have a few different options. Our favorite one utilizes IFTT (If This, Then That). Using this automation tool, you can write a conditional function that says if you post a new photo to Instagram, it will automatically be sent to a cloud drive, such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox.
Along with the benefit of multiple storage options, we love this solution because you can set it and forget it.
That being said, it is not a complete solution; IFTT will ONLY backup up new photos, instead of old ones. To backup your entire collection of old memories, Instaport seems to be a crowd favorite.
Instaport is a free service that lets you download a backup of your entire account.
Once you download this backup, you could upload it to your preferred cloud storage provider, then set IFTTT to send future backups into that same folder.
Better safe than sorry
Using these tips, you can avoid being a total victim of an Instagram screw-up. Hopefully, this recent one will resolve shortly.
How to quickly make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the masses
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Most of us have a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn, but no matter your feelings, you should be the one who stands out in a crowd – here’s how.
Your LinkedIn is your brand. That’s it. Whether you are job hunting (or people are hunting you), or are showing off your business, insight, acumen, or simply networking; your profile on LinkedIn needs to stay appealing and not drive potential headhunters, bosses, clients, or networking groups bananas.
Let’s start with a three part list of what you MUST do, what you SHOULD do, and what you COULD do.
Here’s what you MUST DO (as in, do it now).
- Get a #GREAT LinkedIn photo. Nothing sells you like the right profile picture. No selfies. No mountain biking. Get a professional headshot. Don’t lie about your age. Wear what you wear when you’re on the job. Smile. People are visual.
- Simplify your profile. Cut the buzzwords. Cut out excess skills that don’t add to your vision or that don’t represent the kind of job you want. (i.e. most of us can use Outlook but few of us need to mention that skill because we don’t support Outlook). Focus on the skills that are important.
- Keep it current. Your LinkedIn should reflect your career and current responsibilities. Update the description. Add new projects. Change your groups as you change in your career and move towards new levels. Indicate when you receive a promotion.
- Extra, Extra! Headlines. Don’t use something lame for your headline. How would you want to catch a headhunter to look at you if you could only say 10 words? Make it standout. There are thousands of managers – but only one you.
- Custom URL. Just do it. Pick your own URL. It’s FREEEEEEE.
- Get the app. Make LinkedIn a part of your mobile life and check it more often than you do Snapchat.
Here’s what you SHOULD DO (Set aside some time at Starbucks and go do this in the next month).
- Tell your story. Your summary should bring to live the content of your career. Don’t leave that section blank. Spend some time crafting a cool story. Run it by your professional mentor. Send it to your English major friends.
- Connect. Add colleagues. Add partners from other organizations. Use connections to broaden your network. Synch your profile with your address book. Add people after a conference.
- Endorse your connections. Identify people you’ve worked with and give them the endorsements – which can get them to come endorse you!
- Ask for recommendations. Ask a colleague, partner, or manager to write you a recommendation to help advertise your skills.
- Add a nice cover photo. Again, visual people. Some more on that here.
Here’s what you COULD DO (If you’re feeling dedicated, what you can do to give yourself an extra edge.)
- Share your media. Upload presentations, videos, speeches, or projects that you can share. (Don’t violate company policy though!).
- Publish original content. LinkedIn has a vibrant publishing feature and sharing your original work (or content you’ve published elsewhere) is a great way to share your voice.
- Post status updates. Share your reactions. Share articles. Repost from influencers. Be active and keep your feed vibrant.
That’s a quick list to get started. So go start your LinkedIn makeover (and I’ll go do the same). Let’s get connected!
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