Sniffing Out Real Expertise in Social Media

As the field of social media matures, there is the inevitable march of the unqualified and snake-oil sellers into this area of expertise. This is not something surprising given that social media *looks* simple, fun, hip, and sexy. Plus there is draw of, “yes you can be paid actual dollars to play on Facebook and Twitter.”

This march of the pretenders is not something new either. If you worked in the digital world through the booms of the Webmaster, push/pull technology, e-commerce or the early days of SEO, this new set of annoyingly unqualified competitors will be nothing new. However, this wave of shameless self-promoters is all the more concerning because they are using their social media footprint as their main qualifier. In a recent interview, a candidate for a job told me, “you can tell I’m an expert because I have nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter.” Hate to break it to you, but popularity does not equal expertise. 10,000 followers shows me that you are good at buidling followers, but anyone who truly knows the social media world appreciates that it is very complex and pointing to a single number as a demonstration of expertise only shows inexperience.

I have been thinking about a post on this for awhile and then I found an amazing post on the topic from Olivier Blanchard on the Brand Building Blog.

A few things about it really stuck with me:

  • A true expert is about more than numbers
  • They need passion that they can demonstrate through experience
  • That passion should easily come through in any conversation
  • They also need to be able to plan, but not a pre-baked, one-size-fits-all plan, but one that organically adapts to your organization

Read the full article. It is one of the best posts I’ve seen about this subject.

Rick Wion

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