As all this "social stuff grows" many businesses, large and small, are plotting strategies and finding resource who can help. Developing to leverage the power of "social technologies" first takes an understanding of the dynamics that make "social" a powerful conversational marketing tool for any business. Finding the appropriate resource can help you and your business save a lot of time and mistakes that could be very costly.
Where Are The Expert Resources?
It seems that everyone claims to be a social media expert. There are even aggregated community blogs claiming to have the most technically astute and most popular bloggers offering small and large businesses a "plug and play" system. We've even seen offerings targeting businesses with guarantees to "jump start" their entry into the social space. Beware, like everything in life there is no short route to gaining maximum return or value. Value is something that is created and provides unique propositions to a specific audience of people, whether customers, supplier or employees. A return on time and effort comes from learning; applying and providing your value proposition to the people you aim to serve.
Today there are hundreds of self appointed experts for everything and anything social. There are subject matter experts in SEO, Blog platforms, RSS, Widgets, Communities, Networks and the list goes on and on. There are even firms offering to set up a blogging platform within your existing web site and bring you bloggers to populate it. Everyday we're seeing "social media" propositions targeted at businesses and the ill informed are being led by "the self appointed experts" who in the end do not provide lasting value. Like with any new market there is a lot of "sales pitches" aimed at sounding like an expert but designed to dazzle you with buzz words rather than educate you with meaningful knowledge.
How Can You tell if Someone is an Expert?
Wikipedia notes: An "expert" is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability in a particular area of study. . An expert can be, by virtue of training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially rely upon the individual's opinion. Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage. The individual was usually a profound philosopher distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment.
Given the above definition one could easily create a series of questions whose answers can either verify someone's expertise or at least make one question the extent of a person's expertise. Following the above guidelines as the definition of "expert" the questions needing to be asked include but not limited to the following.
- How much time have you spent learning the dynamics of social media?
- What are the top five things you have learned?
- What are your biggest failures in using social media technologies
- Do you share what you've learned with others and if so how many follow that which you share?
- What major media publications have your opinions, writing or commentary appeared in?
- What, if anything, have you published commercially which could be considered your landmark work?
- What examples of social media business failures can you reference?
- As a result of your own learning what special expertise do you have to offer?
- Who would you consider to be an expert in social media?
- Which do you believe is more valuable to the success of social media, the technology or the conversations and why?
Many of the social media "experts" can share with you how to build a blog, use social networks, but few understand the human dynamics of "how to create" traction and attraction to a business proposition. Many still believe that applying old marketing methods using new technology works. Here is a clue, it doesn't!
Our last point. An expert is one who transfers their expertise so you can become your own expert. Choose your experts wisely.
What say you?