Yesterday we outlined some success stories of philanthropic and social-action groups who have been able to leverage to help with fundraising. As promised, today we look at the backside of some social media developments, and it is not always pretty. The truth of the matter is, many have built up claims to be social-media experts, but most of them are promoters of self, not strategists who can help your organization move through the wealth of opportunity (and desultory time-wasting) made possible by the technology. The self-appointed Expert receives a good deal of roasting in any profession, but the grilling of the social-media guru can be pretty hot. And why not? She/he is being called out by the very producers of content (and the consumers) who he/she claims to be able to help.
Last fall Brian Solis‘s blog asked Jennifer Leggio about what constitutes an ‘expert’ in social media. She points out that such experts truly exist, and their skills are valuable. But the value is within a larger context of advising on business plans and the ability of focus and adjust the opportunities of the technology to the needs of the company paying for the services. Otherwise, the consultant might just be promoting his/her own business or social-media following.
• Proof of experience and demonstrated results. This comes in the form of a case study that shows how social media tied into the larger
. It is not a discussion around tools. It’s not just a marketing discussion, either.
Business leadership, not necessarily thought leadership. The latter is wonderful but it is abstract and not always completely applicable. How does it apply to your business?
• Dig deep into a consultant’s background and social media presence. Is he or she simply good at promoting him- or herself?
The site also has a hilarious video (via YouTube) of an opening interview with a Social Media Expert. The language is such that we blushed to have it directly on the MKCREATIVE blog, but it is worth a look if you are not easily offended by salty language coming from computer-generated voiceovers.
A couple of weeks ago, the blog at OpenPressWire.com posted not so much a flame against the pseudo-expert but aabout what indeed makes expertise in the field. ‘Authoritative Experts’ are well-known for other reasons/skills, and are able to transfer that pre-built status to the world of social media – hopefully for some social good. ‘Power User Experts’ do not so much create as aggregate others’ information (rather like what I am doing here). Their expertise comes from the time and experience of doing that aggregating, finding what is valuable and longer-lasting, and linking them to wider audiences. And finally, ‘Content Creation Social Media Experts’ do what the name implies. The blogger here points out that many of these experts are not especially ‘power users’ who tweet at will, but those who create content and have developed strategies to send the right content through the right communities for a kind of multiplier effect (my term).
The posting concludes with two ‘experts’ worth avoiding: the ‘Natural’ experts who are the online equivalents of social butterflies, hopping from one technology or topic to another without a discernible game plan; and ‘Social Media Salesmen’ who claim to help your organization but really seem to be trying to build up their own followings with a one-size-fits-all approach.
If your tastes in blogs runs to the more caustic, head over to for 25 April: “So You’re a Social Media Expert?” The gloves come off early, but the point is similar to the ones made above: expertise exists, and organizations should be willing to tap into them. But presenting oneself ON social medial does not make one an expert OF social media. Like yesterday’s story of fundraising and social media, the payoff is longer term and built on relationships that evolve in various ways and with adjusting expectations – not on one’s ability to retweet for a fee.
That’s enough aggregating for one day!