Marty Note
I love these tips especially #3. I love it when a “Social Media Expert” has no Klout score, their last tweet was a week ago and they don’t blog :).

Here are 5 of my favorite ways to separate Social Media Wheat from Chaff:

1. Ask for their favorite tool to help cut down #SMM to a working FLOOD. Any answer is correct but then ask the follow up question. How has that tool changed their process or helped achieve their social media marketing “do more with less” goal.

2. I agree with the differentiation between personal brander and corporate Internet marketer and social media expert (very differnet gigs). Ask the “expert” to tell you how they used a social tool to make a million bucks and what was the ROI.

That isn’t totally fair since attribution is a bitch, but see how they handle it. If they stammer or make stuff up RUN. Internet marketing is always about THE NEXT MILLION BUCKS and if you are large enough it may be about the next $10M bucks, so make social about the money and see how they handle it.

3. Ask under what conditions they would use auto-tools like BufferApp. If they have auto-everything RUN.

4. Ask them if they believe they can manage your social stream. Correct answer here is of course but you want to see some recognition of how hard a task managing someone else’s social is since it requires you understand how the company thinks and acts across a variety of situations. I’ve managed OPS (Other People’s Social) successfully once and unsuccessfully twice.

It isn’t easy, so anyone who tells you it is easy and you should RUN. BTW, I don’t even consider managing social for verticals I don’t have some experience in. I will NOT manage social for a woman’s dress shop because I have no frame of reference and so would just be BAD at it.

5. Ask the expert how they became an expert. If you asked me how I became a social media expert I would explain I am NOT an expert. I would go on to explain I curate between 50 and 200 pieces of content a day into 4 blogs, 4 Twitter accounts and across 3 major SMM tool sets (Scoop.it, Pinterest and Facebook).

I write between 200 and 1,000 words a day that get published to 1 of 5 blogs and I try to learn something daily. When I do learn things I share them to about 10,000 people a day (give or take). I’ve published at least 5 articles that have gone mega-viral (Retweets greater than 200K) and I defined what constitutes social media “mega-viral” (lol).

I would go on to explain how “expert” and social media don’t go naturally together. Curator, writer, creator are labels that work better than “expert” since expert implies social media has been around longer than it really has and that it is knowable enough to create “experts”. Not so much, I would explain :).

Extra Credit – Ask why they LOVE Social Media.
I’m an Internet marketer and a merchant at my core. I love social because it is the natural evolution of Internet marketing. I love social media marketing because the feedback loops are faster, the danger and reward greater.

I love social media because I’ve been able to make friends with genius marketers from around the world such as maxOz (Michele Smorgon), Robin Good and Brian Yanish (@MarketingHits).

I love social because I’ve been able to meet Jan Gordon (Curatti), John van den Brink (@AtDotComSocial) and Liz and Kelly and my friends at @SmallRivers, the Paper.li people. I could go on and on because everyday I find something or someone new to love.