Social Media Experts or Hammer Gurus? Part 3

11 Feb


As discussed previously on this blog, a good carpenter does not call himself a Hammer Guru. Being knowledgeable in your tools of the trade is important, but you should focus on the job, not the tools.

And that’s what social media is: a medium, a channel, or a tool with which you may engage. Saying you’re an expert with the tools is saying nothing.

Too many PR people are riding the wave of corporate ignorance about social media and promoting themselves as Social Media Experts. As of today, here are the numbers of those whose Twitter profiles identify themselves as being the following:
Social Media Expert      382

Social Media Guru         218

Social Media Maven      163

Social Media Strategist  460


Strategist?!? There is no Social Media Strategy! You need a business strategy or a communications strategy and apply tactics – including the use of social media – to it.
I won’t go as far as Foursquare and give out Social Media D******** badges, but I’m getting close.


Another group of self-proclaimed experts, gurus, kings, queens, and mavens is the PR Measurement crowd. About 99% of the discussion at PR conferences, on blogs, and via Twitter is about WHY you should measurement PR activities and results. Rarely do any of these “experts” tell anyone HOW to measure. Maybe that’s the secret sauce that I haven’t paid for. Or the snake oil…

Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of smart PR folks who know measurement. But a PR person saying they are “into” in social media or measurement is like a politician saying he’s against waste. Wait, who is FOR waste? Again you’re not saying anything.  

A better long term reputation-builder is to show your skills in creating the messages and content and starting the conversations that will help your clients achieve their real goals.

So, I ask you – what are the best ways for PR prosfessionals to promote themselves as being great communicators without resorting to telling the world they’re Hammer Gurus?

8 Responses to “Social Media Experts or Hammer Gurus? Part 3”

  1. TJ Dietderich February 16, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Jack, I have had long and gesture-y conversations with my friend Keith Trivitt about just this topic. The thing we always end up coming back to is really simple: the people who are quietly doing their jobs and doing them well don’t care about promoting themselves. They’re here (here, as in the online space I guess) to do what they do naturally, and they don’t really see a need to make a fuss about it.

  2. prworkbench February 16, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    Great point TJ…who was it that said long ago that effective PR people are NOT a household name??


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