Social Media Gurus, Experts and _____ (fill in the blank)

As much as I love the concept of social media, I am shocked dismayed stunned annoyed with the number of opportunists who have dubbed themselves ‘experts’ of these new(ish) channels of communication.

I’ve been playing in the digital world for over 10 years now, but I would be the last person to say I’m an ‘expert’. Enthusiast? Sure. Participant? Definitely. Addict? Perhaps. But really, who has ‘mastered’ these new realms? We haven’t even had time to fully explore them!

Oklahoma City is (surprisingly) in the forefront of this digital revolution, which is fantastic to see. We have in our midst several companies/individuals who are using (and, in a few cases, abusing) social media to their advantage. Some of these folks are giving seminars, speaking at public events and even writing books about ‘social media strategies’.

I love the fact that we have so much interest in this phenomena here, but does getting on Twitter throughout the day really make one an ‘expert’? Does publishing your own book make you an authority? Heck, I could write a book next month about playing guitar… and I could relay stories of all kinds of succesful musicians who have sold millions of albums… but that wouldn’t mean that I know the first thing about successfully navigating the waters of the music biz.

Don’t get me wrong… When someone like Gary Vaynerchuck writes a book about HIS experiences and what made HIM successful, I listen (or read, as the case may be). The major difference here is that he’s not selling me on his services, he’s giving me advice. And, I would add, that the small price of his book, Crush It!, or the opportunity to hear him live TONIGHT (, is certainly money well spent.

So… Is there a point to all this rambling? Ummm… Sort of.

Beware of the ‘Social Media Guru’. Hiring a professional marketer with social media experience to help your business get involved in this revolution is a great idea. Hiring a self-professed social media expert to handle YOUR business online can be a fatal mistake. Even worse, I suppose, is having your 19-year-old intern handle your brand in the digital world because “he’s familiar with that stuff”, but that’s another post.

Now, get back to work.


3 thoughts on “Social Media Gurus, Experts and _____ (fill in the blank)

  1. Great article, B2. Self-proclaimed social media experts irritate me. Just because one uses Twitter for work, it doesn’t make one an expert.

    You probably remember a month or so ago where a local company was called out via Twitter for charging money for Twitter/social media services? I was pretty outraged by the responses of so-called social media experts who did nothing but criticize.

    “Why didn’t you contact me, I could do it for free” and “why didn’t you just wait for my book – it’s a fraction of the price” – bullhonky. Nice response, “social media experts.”

    The true social media expert here is the company who MAKES MONEY from social media strategies. Obviously, this company communicated the value of the social media strategy to their client, and in return the client views this as a fair trade for the $$ involved.

    Anyway, that’s a really interesting post – it should give a lot of people food for thought and start to consider whether the term “expert” is deserved of simply self-labeled.

    Anyway, I got to get back to me being an IT Expert. What, I can use Word – that makes me an expert, right?

  2. Excellent thought about handing your businesses social media over to someone else to manage it; it’s begging for a disaster and is (essentially) an invitation to control and redefine the brand, might as well hand over the business objectives as well!

  3. Completely agree with your take on all the self-proclaimed “experts.” We’re all in this together so we should be helping each other learn and use these new communications tools, not competing against each other for 15 minutes of fame. Can’t wait to read what else you have to say.

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