There is a lack of available regulated qualifications in Social Media as any course or qualification would be out of date by the time it hit the training room and this has led to a growing number of opportunists with self-proclaimed titles such as Social Media Expert, Master or even the cringe-inducing “Social Media Guru”.
Sure there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the changing landscape, but the worrying trend with these new self-proclaimed job titles is they automatically suggest that the individual has mastered and understands everything. However the actual reality is that the brave new digital world is constantly changing and evolving, which ultimately means you can never truly master every Social Network, so there are no experts.
Originally brands jumped on board the Social Media with a simple recipe of success which consisted of creating a Facebook business page followed by a Twitter presence and finally build up a following of fans, some even opted for a short-cut of purchasing fans/followers for an impressive following ratio.
This short-cut has led to many companies in 2014 having 30,000+ followers but struggling to find any ROI with no engagement. Possibly the most important strength is being able to fully understand the audience that they operate in, rather than any of the Social networks which is possibly the first hurdle that so many of these “experts” fall at.
If we forget about all Social networks and technology for a moment, it’s clear that the key to success is around engaging your audience, offering something of value, the use of both creating and curating content to spark conversation, but probably most important of all, is that brands need to listen to their audience. I believe that brands should steer clear of all technology and social networks until this concept has been fully grasped.
It is possible to remain true to your brand but be interesting and relevant to your audience rather than just shouting marketing messages at them, you wouldn’t follow a Twitter account like this on your personal account, so why should your customers? Social Media is a dialogue, not a monologue which is something our guru friends often forget when posting Mashable links and very often directing traffic away from their own site in the process.
There are some positive stories though, Coca-Cola who already have an established following, but are leading the way in not only creating content but also engaging its audience and generating material that they can share, making this a perfect example of how to create brand advocates.
The popular brand also offers seamless content that is apparent when you visit their social presence on their Facebook page, Instagram photos, Tumblr images, and influencer videos on Twitter where 83% of Coca-Cola’s Tweets on average are direct @Replies.
The lessons learned here are to not concentrate on individuals with self-proclaimed job titles or brands with exaggerated claims but remembering that whatever your field of expertise is in life, if you are genuinely good at something you avoid over exuberant job titles and simply let your work and results speak for themselves.
Call me old fashioned but if you truly are a Social Media Expert, it will always sound better coming from someone else rather than shouting about how good you are anyway.
I would love to hear about your own comments/experiences, so please let me know