472 Ways to Go Viral, or, What makes you a Social Media Expert, anyway?

1 Sep
Social Media Marketing Expert

Social Media Marketing Expert

I’ll be the first to admit it- though I work in social media, I am far from an expert.  Before December of 2009, I had no idea how to use Twitter, and thought it was for narcissistic loners.  I’ve come to embrace Twitter as a business tool, and it seems as though every day in the Twitter feed there is a steady stream of links to blog posts with names like “How to Maximize your Facebook Page as a Tool for Converting”, “My Top 10 Ways to Increase the Impact of Your Social Media Strategy”, and on and on.  Which makes me wonder, what is with the proliferation of social media experts? And what, exactly, makes one an expert?

The very nature of social media is democratic.  My 14 year-old second cousin is on Facebook…as is my 52 year-old first cousin.  Everyone can figure out the basics, but what many of us seek guidance for is how to BEST use social media.  How to find influencers and become influencers…how to generate business leads…seek the latest industry news…and read what Dwight from The Office is posting on Twitter (for reals, he is funny.  Check out Rainn Wilson!).

I recently attended a professional conference on search engine optimization and social media strategy, and the conference program was filled with the smiling faces of a litany of…experts.  I appreciate technical advice, but when a social media expert instructs me to “focus on what you know” or “use these tools to connect with others”, I can’t help but think…isn’t this obvious?  And who is listening to any (or all) of these social media gurus? I suppose there are people out there who really need the reminder that social media is about being…social.  And listening.  But who can tell amidst the chatter of all of these experts?

Now, it’s my turn to listen to you.  Am I being overly cranky here? Is there a way to tell who is a truly valuable social media expert amidst the many out there in our newsfeeds? Is this generic advice about the importance of communication not that obvious to others? How do YOU think social media should be used?

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