The rising popularity of social media has led to growing recognition of its use to companies and the need to incorporate social media into business plans. But businesses often have little experience with this new medium. Consequently, there is a growing demand for people with expertise in social media. But unfortunately there is not enough supply of real experts. There has been an increasing number of people claiming to be experts. Gary Vaynerchu even commented that 99.5% of social media experts are clowns. Not everyone who claims to be a social media expert truly is one. There are a lot of fakes around who claim they are experts but in fact know little about social media or business. It’s important to be able to identify the fakes so you can avoid being a victim of a fake expert. But how do you distinguish the ‘real deal’ from the ‘fakes’? Let’s look at some key indicators…
- An expert should be an active user of social media. They will have updated profiles, regular updates, and maintain a regular blog.
- The fakes often have a narrow view of social media. So you should consider: Have they moved beyond the generic channels of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube? Are they engaging in the right channels for their niche? Social media experts move beyond the obvious and are well-attuned to where their niche hangs out.
- They are an experienced and active user of social media. They have been using the medium for some time and have lots of practical experience using it.
- They are up to date with the latest social media trends and are using the latest tools. i.e. they have got a Google+ account. As social media is constantly evolving, one cannot be an expert unless they are up to date. People who claim to be experts without reading the latest blogs, researching upcoming trends whilst engaging with the latest news are not real experts.
- Fakes often have lots connections but lack quality connections. An expert will go for quality over quantity. Whilst the fake might have lots of Facebook likes or Twitter followers, they lack relevant followers and actual customers.
- Fakes use social media primarily to promote a company’s services/main messages without engaging with users. Experts will interact with their followers, commenters, etc.
- Fakes claim to be general social media experts and lack a specialist area of expertise. Social media is a broad area; it’s not possible to be an expert of it all.
- Fakes lack real business sense and have little or real evidence of their previous business success. They don’t know how to turn fans into customers. They lack insight into their customers and lack any drive to meet customer needs.
- Fakes often adopt an over-optimistic position without any careful consideration of the specific company’s circumstances. You should be wary of people claiming social media is the only strategy – It’s not – it should always be complemented by other elements of marketing. Social media doesn’t replace solid marketing strategy; rather it is used to enhance it. You should also be wary of those claiming it is essential for every business – Whilst using social media effectively is becoming evermore important for business success, employing social media is not necessarily the right strategy for every company. Determining whether it’s the right strategy requires careful analysis of the company and the context in which it operates.
Unfortunately these ‘fakes’ can give social media a bad name. It’s so easy for people to jump on the band wagon and say they’re a “social media expert” But remember social media is a great tool but only when in the hands of someone with the understanding and experience of how to use these tools and successfully implement social media strategies. There is a need for real social media experts who know how to use these new communication tools effectively.
What are your thoughts? Are you seeing a growth in people claiming to be experts? What makes someone a social media expert in your eyes? Or does it not bother you? Whether you care or not, I’d welcome your comments below
Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market, she actively leverages ethical online marketing for her clients and for Socialable.
After launching her first business within three years of becoming a mother, her financial success was recognised by being a finalist at the Best MumPreneur of the Year Awards, presented at 10 Downing Street. Following a resultant offer and wishing to spend more time with her daughter, she sold her first business to focus on social media, developing a multi-site blog and online marketing portfolio that generates in excess of 600,000 + page views per month.
A business owner, social media consultant, internet mentor and genuine digital guru, Lilach is consulted by journalists and regularly quoted in newspapers, business publications and marketing magazines (including Forbes, The Telegraph, Wired, Prima Magazine, The Sunday Times, Social Media Today and BBC Radio 5 Live). What’s more, her books have achieved No 1 on Amazon for Sales and Marketing and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
When Lilach isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of Zumba.
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