Social Media ‘experts’

So the bandwagon has officially been jumped.

You know it has when we go from Whoopi Goldberg saying that Twitter is silly, to geeks revolting over the fact that Oprah has decided to get on Twitter.

But even further back from that, we have a buzzword for ‘Social Media’.   I’ve had a personal blog since 2002 on LiveJournal.  I’ve had a MySpace page (which I purposely ignore) before Movies decided to use it as their promotional tools.  (insert chest-puffing geek cred here).   I don’t know if when Twitter hit mainstream, all of these various ‘social networks’ got grouped under ‘Social Media’.  But I was amused to hear the buzzword when I started hanging out with the Twitter crowd.

But back to the ‘expertise’ issue.  Seems the bandwagoners and other dreamers now want a piece of the pie.  So a call for a ‘social media expert’ has been made.  The debate even permeates through the real end-users of the technology, the geeks.   We’ve been screaming at the mainstream ‘where the hell have you been all of this time?’

I personally think that the call for Social Media experts really boils down to various people who don’t understand it, wanting overnight success in the arena.  “If I build this website, use Twitter and Facebook to promote it, I’m going to make a ton of money.  Automatically.”

As much as I like to engage in dreams, I caution those people that it’s all been done before.  This premise was the reason for the ‘dot-com bust’ that we all know and loved.  I always believe that if it were that easy, the skillset could be duplicated and EVERYONE could be doing it.  Regardless, what I consult people on is that

Social Media is part of your overall marketing strategy.

The equalizer now is the concept of Authenticity. Sure you can draw attention to yourself, but the question is Why the hell should we be interested in you?  The people that stick around are the most authentic.   I hope to display that authenticity to the best of my ability, hence the blog.

Lastly, I also believe if you need an ‘expert’, the only reason is that you want to ‘get from where you are, to where you want to be.’  If I had to go to someone for advice, one person I look to is Liz Strauss (http://www.lizstrauss.com/ and http://www.successful-blog.com/).  I chat with Nick Kinports from Ad-Maven (http://admaven.blogspot.com/) who preaches the ‘total package’ solution as well, and is part of a larger advertising firm.  Keep in mind also, that I don’t consider these people ‘experts’ with higher value than me.  I’ve met them in person, and consider them friends.  I connect with them on that level.

What a social media expert is not.

People with higher Twitter Follower / Facebook Friend counts than you. We have a saying amongst friends that the number of social networks friends is inversely proportional to the number of real friends you have.  Although I can toot my own horn to say I defy that logic.

Any ‘social media expert’ with no business experience or education behind it: Again, read the authenticity piece.  I love all of the internet marketers and get rich quick people out there to death. I really do.  But the main reason I’m in business is because I got tired of being pitched by said people.

An expert should not be the first person you talk to or the loudest voice in the room. I run into this all of the time in my IT consulting business.  Their ‘expert’ has led them astray and I have to not only help them out but gain their trust as the new ‘expert’.  There are various strategies to ‘position you as an expert’ but chances are they are not the best resources for information.  I always have the thought of ‘trust but verify’ and challenge them.

To your success in 2009!

AD-Maven’s article http://admaven.blogspot.com/2009/04/opinion-on-big-brands-state-of-game.html

Liz Strauss’s article http://www.lizstrauss.com/2008/10/27/everyones-business/experts-and-gurus-arent-necessarily-the-best-social-media-teachers/

Image courtesy of clementpetit2 on Flickr