Is That Guru I Hired Really A Social media Expert?

There’s been a series of running jokes recently among a few of my blogging friends with social media as the punch line. It seems everyone these days can call himself an expert. All you need is a website, some Twitter and Facebook followers and the ability to regurgitate information. Add in a snazzy infographic and you’re golden.

It’s so tempting to do. You spend enough time figuring out how to navigate all the social networking platforms, read scores of articles online about what’s trending and suddenly you say to yourself, “I can set up a shingle in cyber land and shovel a load of this techie crap as well as the next guy.” Who’s going to stop me?

The reality is that there are a boat load of self-proclaimed experts out there that are either not very good or don’t know a whole lot more than the rest of the Internet trolling public about social media. I keep thinking to myself how they all make a living.

If you’ve been wondering how to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, look no further. There are tell tale signs that the person you think is an expert actually is not.

1) Uses an AOL email address

Let’s face it, communicating via an AOL address is like saying to the world, “I lost track of what’s new on that thing they call the Internet back when Saturday Night Live was still funny.”

2) Thinks Foursquare is a new burger chain

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with every website and application but if the so-called expert doesn’t know his Foursquare from his StumbleUpon, he’s on the wrong side of the learning curve.

3) Speaks in acronyms and tech laced jargon

If any single conversation or correspondence is filled almost entirely of indecipherable verbiage, the person is trying too hard, has no idea what he’s talking about or enjoys feeling superior. No matter how you slice it, it’s not good. Look out for a preponderance of phrases or words such as “HTML,” “micro-blogging,” “cloud-centric,” “avatar, ” and “CSS” especially in sentences where they don’t seem to make sense.

4) Takes a “Let’s throw everything but the kitchen sink up and see what sticks” approach

I like to call this “The Strategy Without a Strategy” plan. Start posting on every conceivable social networking platform, blog, set up an email marketing campaign. If saturating the market with your business’ logo seems good one place on the web, do it everywhere, all the time.

5) Writes a whole lot of words online that say very little

There’s nothing quite like reading an entire article online that only speaks in generalities. My plumber could tell me that social networking is all about making connections or social media is a time commitment. The only thing worse is seeing one of those infographics in place of an actual blog post. Venn diagrams may convey an air of expertise but they’re seldom all that interesting or informative.

Choose wisely. Chances are you can do most of the social media magic yourself.

This post and my diagram up top was inspired by an article on Ragan’s PR Daily called 12 Traits of a True Social Media ‘Expert.’ Go there for the things to actually look for in a social media expert.

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