Social Media Experts or Hammer Gurus? Part 2

In an earlier post, I discussed the continuing sensation of some communications folks appointing themselves “social media experts.” Once again if you are calling yourself this, I implore you to stop! You’re saying nothing!
Social media is a tool; you need to be an expert in the messages you’re crafting.

A good carpenter knows more than just the inner-workings of a hammer and is therefore more than a hammer guru.
There are hundreds of twitter users who list in their bio that they are social media experts, gurus, kings, queens, and mavens. Uggggg!
I’m not sure what credentials one needs to make this claim. Did they discover LinkedIn two days before the rest of the world? Do they have more time to spend on Facebook lately since their PR agency business has slowed down?
One of my local PR community’s favorite butt of many jokes is one such self-described “mavens.” My favorite part of this story is that this CEO joined Twitter only after hearing about it on Oprah this past spring. You can’t put lipstick on an outdated publicity model and call it a social media consultancy.
Here’s another gem. I recently started following on Twitter a marketing and PR agency that says it specializes in social media strategy. What happened next? You guessed it…I received a generic auto-DM saying “thanks for the follow.” I hope they are not charging their clients actual money for their social media expertise.
Don’t misunderstand – there are many true social media experts out there. The best of them do not need to call themselves experts; their clients and peers are doing that for them.

6 thoughts on “Social Media Experts or Hammer Gurus? Part 2

  1. Jack – BINGO!! Thank you so much for writing this post! Social media hasn’t been around long enough for any of us to be experts.

    To add to your comments, I love it when I run into “social media experts” who don’t use social media either for themselves or their company. How can you be a so-called expert if you have 15 followers on Twitter, don’t have a Facebook account, and haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile ever?

    There is not a single person out there who is an expert. The closest I would say is Robert Scoble, and that’s because he’s been using Twitter since the inception…which wasn’t even three years ago.

    It takes more than two years to be an expert at anything.

    1. Thanks Gini. Even better than those “experts” who only have 15 followers are those who do have lots of followers but are following no one. Real engagement happening there!

  2. Jack, this is spot-on.

    I know very few “communications experts” let alone those who can help companies sort out their business strategy FIRST, then why in the heck they need (OR DON’T NEED) social media.

    ALERT! ALERT! Some people/companies/businesses don’t need social media. They sell stuff just fine. They don’t need your expertise in social media, or your 100,000 Twitter followers. They do need your help in figuring out how to sell more widgets.

    I love to ask folks, first and foremost, why the heck they’re in business. Seriously: if they’re a rich guy who is using the company as a playground, or a couple of broke students trying to figure out how to make a buck — this is a freaking good question.

    Great post!

    1. Great point, Dave. I would guess there are very few people in the industry who would advise a client against using social media right now regardless of their situation.

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