Beware of so-called “Social Media Experts”

By | December 11, 2011

Just days after teh realease of Google+ for business, Hubspot publishes a guide on how to use it for your business .  Was this written by Google themselves?  Of course not, because if there were suck a thing it would have to be something previously on Google’s on blog  for it to have any merit. And sicne bot even Google can say, or have yet to disclose, how exactly Google+ can be leveraged for effective business use, I am holding off before investing any of my own time trying to figure out.

Gary Vaynerchuk, in his usual low-key, mellow way, said last month that 99.5% of social media experts are clowns.

This immediately prompted a schoolyard-style kicking of the whole idea of a social media expert, with one prominent writer saying that anyone who does it for a living should “go die in a fire.” And that was one of the nicer responses.

The name-calling and vitriol are a little hard to watch. Here’s the thing, though.

Vaynerchuk’s making a point that needs to be made. But that’s not what interests me.

What interests me is what it takes to make that last 0.5%. What do the social media experts look like who aren’t clowns?

First, let’s talk about that hated title.

Is “social media expert” a stupid thing to call yourself?

On one level, of course it is. “Social media expert” is like being an “internet expert.” It’s too broad, therefore it’s meaningless.

There’s just one problem with that. Businesses that need help with blogging strategies, content marketing, social networking presence, and real-time PR usually don’t know enough to look for those terms.

They look for “social media experts.”

You can make social media pundits happy and change your tag line to something more precise. Or you can find customers by calling yourself a social media expert, then educate your clients about what that actually means.

I’m personally in favor of making the people happy who pay me money. Just a thought.

Sturgeon’s Law of Predominant Crap

Most graphic designers are pretty bad. So are most copywriters. And most SEOs. Add in most novels, TV shows, restaurants, general contractors, PR professionals, financial advisors, real estate agents … you get the idea.

Sturgeon’s Law, coined by the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon, is that 90% of everything is crap.

Sure, it’s easy to find lots of social media experts who know nothing about either business or social media. Why should social media consulting be immune?

There’s more demand for good social media advice than there are practitioners who can give it. Any time demand outpaces supply, Sturgeon’s Law comes into play.

Do businesses really need help with social media?

Some believe that businesses don’t need help with social media at all — that if their products and customer service are good enough, the social media side just takes care of itself.

This is precisely as naive as thinking that if your social media relationships are good enough, the sales side will take care of itself.