Seven questions to ask before you hire that Twitter expert

Every day I see people on Twitter talking about being Twitter experts hiring Twitter experts and outsourcing their valuable brand or business to Twitter experts.
So I thought it was time that I gave my opinion on a few things. Firstly and for the record I do actually believe that someone can be a Twitter expert (as we saw last year some don’t). But as I have always maintained expertise is all relative to your audience. Someone can be an expert when speaking to a bunch of new people, but very inexperienced when speaking to some old timers.

So here are 7 questions that you may want to ask that so called Twitter expert before you hire them.

1. How long have they actually been using Twitter.

This information is very easy to get hold of. Simply go to whendidyoujointwitter.com and enter their twitter name. It will tell you when they started the account. If they dont have an account, then now would be a good time to move on to someone else. Please dont tell me that someone can be an expert on Twitter and actually not have an account, I simply wont believe that.

2. Check out their Twitter account
Does it have a nice photo, a good bio and their website information? Now to me a good bio should contain the following things:- What is their expertise, how can they help you, and as much personal information as they are happy to share, remembering that people’s bio’s are searchable for keywords via followerwonk.com.
3. Take a close look at their actual tweeting
If there are no tweets, please walk away and find someone else. To me the essence of a good Twitter account is to have a balanced tweeting approach. So you should see plenty of social chit chat, plenty of sharing of good information, links and articles and finally tweets that help, educate, support and guide people to get the answers to the questions that they may have. There should also be a good amount of @replies where they are engaging with people.

If all you see is one long Twitter stream of sales messages, automated messages, no engagement, tons of retweets, then really they are not utilising Twitter very effectively, so how can they advise you on your approach?

4. Turn to Twitter search

To me the gold mine of Twitter is the search. If they have never heard of Twitter’s own search engine, please walk away.

5. Checkout the other Twitter account they look after

So after checking out their own Twitter account, I would then suggest that you ask them to look at the other Twitter accounts that they look after. Look again for a good balance of tweets, replies and so on. Remember that if you hire them to look after your brand, they will be responding to issues, concerns, problems and adding value by listening and then engaging. Are they doing that for the other Twitter accounts that they are looking after.

6. Compare the followers to following numbers.

It is dead easy to play the auto follow, auto unfollow game and build up what may appear to be a healthy number of each. This really can be a false and meaningless situation. What you should look out for are those accounts that have vastly more followers than they are following. This to me is really key. Any account that has vastly more followers than they are following, must be adding value, and be a great resource otherwise why would peeps keep following?

7. Metrics, metrics, metrics

Finally ask about what metrics they will put in place to measure how things are going. If they tell you that adding followers is a top metric, please walk away. Whilst adding followers is a sign that you are doing good things, it can be manipulated to give a meaningless output of success. Metrics that I would suggest include website traffic, actual sales, actual newsletter sign ups and so on.

You have probably spent ages building up your brand product or service. Dont be tempted or fooled into allowing a so called Twitter expert to ruin all that good work. If you are going to hire someone treat that appointment with the same strict caution as anyone else that you may take on. Ask for references, testimonials, look at their Twitter activites, how they utilise the platform, successes that they have had and so on. There are lots of top people on Twitter, but be warned there are lots of sharks that will happily take your money as well.

Oh and finally ask them what the 5 types of Tweets are, if they dont know its time to walk away.

@MarkShaw is an award winning ex sales guy that advises and trains businesses, and individuals on how to utilise Twitter to gain more business & to be effective with their time.  He is the author of the book Twitter Your Business & has been on radio, published in the media and given talks all throughout the UK in his capacity as a Twitter expert.