Social media

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An ‘Expert,’ Huh? Who Isn’t These Days?

Published August 2, 2010 by heatherksmith

Do you ever wonder what constitutes an ‘expert?’ I considered my professors in college experts, I trust my doctor to be an expert, my mechanic, my two year-old niece an aficionado of cuteness, you get the idea.

Other than my niece whose expertise is self-evident, most experts carry some type of credential. A degree, license, certification. But there’s a plethora of ‘experts’ rising out there without any specific diplomas or alma mater that prove their so-called proficiency.

Enter social media experts.

Once social media became more than sites for high school and college students to procrastinate during finals week and evolved into an effective tool for marketing, advertising, and public relations, everyone jumped on the bandwagon. But no one had mastered steering the wagon.

I open invite after invite to social media webinars, workshops, and conferences. All of which presented by an ‘expert.’ There’s always debate about the proper use of Facebook, Twitter etiquette, LinkedIn strategy, etc. I often wonder how many of these debaters actually understand what they’re talking about. How many actually HAVE and USE a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIN Account or write his or her own blog?

The best lessons I’ve learned in social media are from people who refuse to call themselves experts. They work with various forms of social media everyday for a variety of businesses, nonprofits, organizations, associations, etc. They spend time studying, reading, and testing best practices while working to find a way to measure its success.

They’ll tell you there is no ‘cookie cutter’ method behind social media. Let’s face it, there isn’t. What’s effect for one person may be completely opposite for someone else.

If you’re looking for a tutorial on the social media ropes, seek out someone who fits your needs. Are you in the travel and tourism industry? Medical field? Education? There’s probably someone who fits your niche. Take Beth Kanter for example, she’s an expert on nonprofit technology and just wrote a new book, The Networked Nonprofit. She’s well known in the nonprofit world because she knows what she’s talking about.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty capable people out there. But don’t be fooled be everyone who has ‘expert’ on a business card.