Gauging Social Media Expertise

Written by: Levy Online on

Cartoon of a social media expert in her natural habitat.


There are social media certifications, college courses, marketing tests, and more, but the one measure of know-how that matters most to users has long been the number of followers.

As metrics go, it’s not the worst.  But, alone, it can be manipulated with ease.

Bots and fake social media accounts have been for sale since the early days of MySpace.  They’re an easy way for scammers to raise their number of followers to levels that make them look like influencers.

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to investigate the quality of the followers.  A few clicks will answer the curiosity of any potential recruiter.  Real, actively engaged humans will act like real, engaged humans on social media.  The question then becomes, is it worth hiring someone who manipulates their social media numbers?

The argument for manipulation would be that the candidate has shown at least some understanding of their social platform. They did put in the work and money to boost their numbers. It’s possible that all the boss will want to see at the end of the day is number of followers, regardless of their reality.

The argument against social media manipulation is that the numbers are worthless. Robots and fake accounts don’t make good customers. They won’t engage with your content. Their benefit begins and ends with that number displayed on the profile page. They’re like shoulder pads, or fins on a Cadillac.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your potential social media expert:

  • Are their social platforms active?
  • Do they have followers? Are they real?
  • Do they interact with their followers?
  • Do they communicate well face-to-face?
  • Can they describe the different uses of each platform they use?

Number of followers, or friends, or connections, is an important metric, and worth a look. But it can be manipulated. Always look a little deeper.

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