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