Brand, Online PR and Marketing, Social Media, THE BLOG

What makes a #socialmedia Expert?

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a different head for each clientI read an article presented by in 2009 only the other day, entitled “You’re NOT a social media expert, you idiot” by Joel Mackey.  It caught my attention, I suppose in the tiny, yet natural part of life, when you suddenly think you are faking what you do for a living!

Good old self-doubt!  I digress.

It was a good article.  It made me both angry and nod in agreement. Mr Mackey talks about how many have jumped on the bandwagon of social media and are now calling themselves experts. Maybe.  I wonder how he thinks on the subject now, 3 years later!

His succinct yet, slightly aggressive explanation of the five kind of experts made me chuckle but still holds a lot of clout, in parts. I imagined old Worzel Gummidge choosing which heads he would wear that particular day.

He explains them as follows:

The Authoritative Expert– Someone with a bit of authority that can cross over into the social media world (i.e. celebrities, high profile execs etc.)

Power User Expert (Has had success in one social media institution and can transfer that over to other networks)

Content Creation Social Media Expert (a studier of people, interaction and a trend follower, they know how to work with stats and analyze results)

Natural Expert The new breed due to Twitter and Facebook.  The social butterfly – the people person)

Social Media Salesmen (They don’t care about the social part, they have something to sell and that is what they do.) I particularly liked the image he used to depict this guy…




Anyway – we will forgive his odd spelling mistake, as I’m sure it happens to us all…especially if we are ranting – but I read on and couldn’t help but feel an inkling of resentment from our man.

Now I will ignore the fact that he sounds like he’s had his nose knocked out of joint and agree with most points he has made on each social media role. I also agree that an expert can prove that he is an expert by his achievements and the results that he has in his portfolio, but surely, a good social media expert encompasses equilibrium of all those things?

Like Worzel and his collection of interchangeable heads; each suiting a particular occasion or allowing him to perform a certain task at the right time, social media experts need to be in tune with their clients and understand how to achieve realistic goals. There are most definitely many ‘players’ out there that promise stuff they can’t deliver, so Joel, I grant you that, wholeheartedly.  But would you not trust a naturally nosey, social butterfly, who is a prolific content creator and is able to improve your business through analytics and insights in turn getting results?

I would.


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