Yet again today I was invited to a handful of events – in person and via webinar – to gain exposure to a social media expert and their take on social media marketing. As I review their profiles, their LinkedIn info, their sites and their blogs, I find no substantial information supporting the premise that they are social media experts.
Social media expert? Really? Perhaps they have tens of thousands of Twitter followers, hundreds of comments on their Facebook wall, and membership in a dozen or so networks. Perhaps because they’re a charlatan, a shark or a geek.
What would I classify as a social media expert? I love Peter Shankman’s list of qualifications and disqualifications for social media experts. I would add – that if it’s pertaining to business – I would like to see a long list of measurable results and references across a variety of companies and strategies.
Do I classify myself as an expert? I do – but not because I claim to understand it all. This is a young medium and its changing on a daily basis. It’s changing business behavior. It’s changing consumer behavior. My decade of experience evolving from direct marketing and database marketing, email marketing, etc. enabled me to naturally evolve into my current status.
I don’t claim myself an expert because of my knowledge of social media… I claim myself an expert because of the work I’ve accomplished for companies large and small to grow their business, retain and upsell customers, and reduce customer service calls by effectively utilizing social media.
Do I claim myself an expert because of the work I currently do?
- While VP of a blogging platform, we helped dozens of businesses develop their social media and search strategies to drive inbound marketing efforts.
- I own a successful New Media Agency with a solid history of assisting companies develop and execute their social strategies.
- The integration and automation tools I’ve developed in the blogging, email, video and mobile space have reached tens of thousands of companies.
- The 2 social networks I helped start and continue to help run.
- My own blog which spans 5+ years (plus a couple more on other platforms) speaking to social media and marketing technology.
NO! None of this qualifies me as an expert.
I call myself an expert for three reasons:
- Businesses seek experts, not gurus and geeks.
- Calling myself an expert holds myself to a higher standard and expectation with a company that I must fulfill.
- I fit the definition:
An expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability in a particular area of study.
Am I smarter than the rest of the folks out there? Nope.
Do I know everything about social media? Of course not.
Do other experts always agree with me? Not a chance!
Has all of my work been successful? No – but much of it has.
I do believe that I have had an outstanding knack for analyzing business processes, marketing mediums, and determining how technology can bridge the gap. I don’t lie to clients and tell them they must be a part of social media if they wish to survive. I do share with them many of the successes, though! It’s a medium I personally believe in and hope to see mass adoption of – not because it can be manipulated by bad businesses – but because it can be leveraged by great businesses.
I believe social media connects businesses to prospects, builds improved relationships between customers and companies, pushes companies to improve customer service, builds transparency, and encourages thought leadership, entrepreneurial talent and evolution… all great for business.
And that, my friends, is my expert opinion.
PS: I’m sure if you go back far enough in my blog or comments on other blogs that I’ve torn into a few folks who self-proclaimed their expertise. Now it’s your turn. 🙂