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Blab and Fake Social Media Specialists

I live, eat, and sleep social media (by choice). After seven years in the legal social media realm, I’m comfortably working from home with a handful of amazing law firms. Most of my day is spent on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and lately, a platform called Blab.

What is Blab?

According to Mashable, Blab.im (Blab for short) is a video chat where up to four people can chat simultaneously as an audience watches. The audience can comment and instantly switch places with one of the four chatters.

Why I Loved It

First off, I hate YouTube and Periscope for my personal marketing. They're wonderful platforms for my clients and friends, but I just don’t like them for me (I’ll let you in on a little secret – I’m actually very shy. Maybe that’s why social media was a good fit for me).

Someone asked me an intellectual property question on Twitter and suggested I answer it on Blab. She told me it was a video chat platform so I was a bit hesitant but decided to try it.

I signed into blab with my Twitter account, met my contact in a “blab” and we discussed copyright issues. Other people joined our meeting, asked questions and it was great.

Blab didn’t bother me because it’s a two-to-four way dialogue, which meant I wasn’t the centre of attention.

The Early Years of Blab

In Blab’s early days, it was a smallish community of social media marketers (mostly) that helped each other out – gave referrals, answered questions, co-hosted shows, etc. Facebook groups were formed and small cliques started to form similar to high school. My clique was made up of amazing professionals: graphic designers, speakers, teachers, life coaches, etc. When it came to blab coolness, we were middle class.

I hosted a few shows about social media which I enjoyed, but I also interviewed everyday people about how they got into social media – and I loved it. From podcasters (The Generation Why) to graphic designers (RELAY), we shared social media war stories and referred work if it came along.

Enter the Social Media “Experts”

Within weeks, a new group emerged – the social media “experts” (The King of Blab, The Pinterest Prince, you get the point). They hosted daily blabs to “teach” social media. After watching a few shows, it was obvious they didn’t have a clue about what they were peddling. .

After the show, the “experts” encouraged viewers to buy something – an ebook, a whitepaper, a group membership and/or private coaching sessions. Sadly, quite a few people were scammed, and more importantly, didn’t learn a thing about social media. People lost thousands, but the madness went on - I bet if you checked right now, three or four “experts” would be blabbing away.

I don’t spend much time on Blab anymore which means I don’t get to hang with my Blab friends either. We see each other on Facebook but it’s not the same. It’s not face-to-face conversation (which I didn’t think I’d ever miss). I miss laughing and learning with them – except for a few that turned out to be “experts” or fake (nice online and completely different offline).

How to Hire a Social Media Professional

Here’s a few tips on how to hire a real (non-expert) social media professional:

  • Ask for references - Your HR department calls references when people are hired at your firm, make sure you do the same.
  • Evaluate their social media presence and website - Is it consistent? Do they have testimonials?
  • Discuss goals, milestones and set expectations - You’re not going to get “x” number of new clients in “x” period but there a lot of other things to measure. And, you should be getting clients from social media after a time.
  • Find out how much they charge - And don’t just go with the cheapest, try and get a few quotes.
  • Set up a three-month trial run to see how you work together - A social media specialist or company should become your “in-house” social media team.
  • Communicate as often as you can – Bi-weekly or monthly.
  • Ensure your objectives are being met - Carefully analyze your social media reports. If you don’t understand something, ask.

This is more of a rant than a blog post but I want to make sure that none of you get manipulated on Blab or any other platform. Also, be aware that many people act a certain way online and are completely different offline – this is more for friendships you form with non-business people. Keep your real “in-life” friends.

This post originally appeared on the Social Media for Lawyers blog

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