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Question: There are so many pseudo social media experts out there, each with his or her "solution," that it’s become overwhelming to identify the real McCoys. What criteria do you suggest people use? - Jim Taggart, LeadershipWorldConnect

Answer: Thank you for asking a very important question, and for trusting me to answer it for you. I am asked this same question at least once a week.  Unfortunately, the real social media experts are buried under all the hype of the fake experts because the real ones don’t have time to go calling themselves experts so they can pitch you on why you should have 100K Twitter followers, and why you should hire them to do the job. The true authorities in any industry are not hard-selling 24/7. They are too busy strategizing, sharing, learning, educating, creating, experimenting, executing, testing, growing, and helping others thrive.

It is difficult for me to answer this question without being too controversial or self-promotional.  However, my intent is to always educate and create awareness. Thus, the answer is not only based on my opinion, but also years of business experience and thousands of hours of research and execution to back it up.

So, how do you weed out the pundits from the fakes?

First, let’s define expert.  Here is how Wikipedia defines the word:

“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.”

Having extensive knowledge about a topic beyond the average person makes you an expert.  Your skills training and credentials make you an expert.  Your years of experience and education make you an expert.  However, given the above definition, the word expert should not be a self-proclaimed title. This title should be earned and given by peers after a person has logged tens of thousands of hours, and the results should speak for themselves.

Hence, your social media expert is NOT:

  • Someone who shows you how to use the latest feature on Facebook
  • An individual who tells you to just create pages on the major social networks
  • Your web designer or programmer
  • Your previous mortgage broker who has moved on to social media because it is the next hot industry
  • Your virtual assistant
  • Someone who is simply online
  • Someone who has five different types of businesses going at once to see which one makes the fastest buck

Am I an expert in social media because I live and breathe the Web every day? It’s possible. However, I wouldn't use that term.  I am a student of my work. I am constantly learning, experimenting, and educating.  My expertise and knowledge are put to the test every time I have a new challenge, a client, or a new project. If I can't prove that I have some expertise when the situation calls, it doesn't matter what I call or describe myself. ...continue reading

2 Comments

Ask MirnaQUESTION:

Hi Mirna.  Are there any sites that offer updates about Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter? I would like to stay in the loop with new things that come out, etc.  I thought I would pick your brain about some of your favorites. – Dawn P.

ANSWER:

Thank you for the great question Dawn.  As you know there are thousands of sites and many of them are very helpful.  Since I don't have time to keep track of all of the sites that offer information on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, I normally like going straight to the source to get updates and accurate information.

Here are some very helpful links for each of the networking sites that you asked about:

Facebook  Business Page

Facebook’s Blog

Facebook’s Developer Blog (Although this is for developers, I still find great information sometimes.)

You may also want to check All Facebook.

Twitter’s Blog

Twitter Status (The best way to get updates when the site is down, which seems like a lot lately.:D)

Twitter for Business

LinkedIn's Blog

LinkedIn for Developers

You may also have seen my blog about LinkedIn. There are excellent training videos for every module of the site.

I recommend to subscribe to the RSS of all these blogs so you can stay updated on all important information.  Also remember, all of these sites have a "help" section if you need any questions answered.

Good luck!

If you would like to get your questions answered by Mirna, please visit the Ask Mirna page.

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QUESTION:

"Mirna, what's your take on Facebook these days with the privacy concerns? I didn't like seeing my FB photo, name, text box pop up online." Pam W.

questionmarkANSWER:

Good question, Pam!  Several people asked me the same thing, since I did not react much to the changes.

As briefly mentioned to you on Twitter, I think users should have the right to choose if they want to show others what sites they visited. However, I also see Facebook’s perspective on helping brands and other businesses boost their viral marketing efforts since this will also support the site’s growth.  To a certain extent, they were not thinking of the average Facebook user because they ended up causing a tremendous amount of confusion and commotion.

Although I think Facebook and other social networks do a very poor job at educating and listening to their users, I do believe it is the users’ responsibility to protect their own privacy.  Everyone online should be focused on having fun, educating themselves about social media and working on their strategies, instead of wasting too much time worrying about the Facebook changes.

We have to all remember that a huge part of using social media is transparency. It is our choice to make whether we want to use social media or not; and we decide what to share and how visible we want to be.

As you know, I share a lot of content and consider myself to be very visible online. But, I am also a very private person and don’t like sharing my entire life with the world.  Although, I allow everyone to get to know my personality, I am very strategic and extremely cautious with what I post or discuss on social networking sites.

If privacy is still a concern, here are a few tips when using any online tool or website:

- Use common sense.  If you do not want your competitors or great great grandchildren to see something, do not post or discuss it.

- Take the time to check the privacy policies before using a social media tool or application.

- Be responsible and use privacy settings when joining social networking sites.

- And last but not least, if you are using sites like Facebook for business, please remember to use them as supporting tools only.  Too many of us are concentrating way too much on these tools instead of focusing on what is truly important -- our business strategy and our websites.

If you still have concerns, questions, and comments regarding privacy, please post them below.

If you would like to get your questions answered by Mirna, please visit the Ask Mirna page.