Are There Really Social Media Experts?

15 Jun

Lately I have been seeing a barrage of ads and articles from people claiming to be social media “experts.” Are there really experts in the field of social media? Has as any one social media platform even been around long enough for someone to reach expert status in it?

Due to the grassroots, viral nature of social media, anyone well versed in the field will tell you that it is largely trial and error. What audiences are not looking for in social media is the same content that they consume on your website or in your advertisements. They want something new, something unique, and something they can participate in and use to share experiences with their friends.

The great thing about social media is that it is, if nothing else, completely public. If social media “experts” did/do exist, their approach and strategy to social media is fully available and transparent to anyone who wishes to access it. Therefore, with each successful or unsuccessful social media campaign, don’t all attentive and perceptive social media users become just as experienced as the creators in what does and does not work for particular audiences? If need be, this can help to take the trial an error out of social media.

Anyone developing a new social media campaign can take 1 of 2 intelligent routes. The first, and safer, route is to review other successful social media approaches, and adapt similar methods to your company, product and audience. The second is to develop something completely new and stimulating that your audience has not seen before, which cultivates excitement that they can share with others. While this approach tosses trial and error right back into the picture, it has a greater potential for payoff.

So, this brings me back to the question of experts. If the greatest potential for results stems from trial and error, and we all have access to the full range of successful and failed attempts, what additional knowledge would classify someone as an expert in the field? Does knowing how to use a third party ROI tool or understanding SEO make someone an expert?

I have come to the conclusion that in this fluid and rapidly developing field, the term “expert” is used very loosely. If you are a proficient user of various social media platforms, you pay attention to other existing campaigns and their effects, and know how to use tools to measure the results of a social media marketing when applicable, congratulations, you may be in the running. However, as this would likely include a sizable portion of social media users, it seems that what people are referring to as “experts” truly equates to what has become today’s fluent social media user.

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