I am noticing a recent backlash at the social media experts that are not actually experts. In one such rant, a real social media expert proposes a few simple questions that can help separate the good from the not-so-good.
A few simple things:
- Proof of experience and demonstrated results.
- Business leadership, not necessarily thought leadership.
- Dig deep into a consultant’s background and social media presence. Is he or she simply good at promoting him- or herself?
The chief complaint is that the bad ones are destroying the reputations of the good ones. It is no mystery that any fair and competitive market has a vetting mechanism and the hallmark of protectionism is in promoting the absence of such vetting… “except my own”.
Subjectivity or objectivity:
The Real Expert certainly means well, however, they are reflecting on the profession in their own image. This is entirely valid and correct, in fact, the CEO of the hiring firm is likely doing the same thing, saying to themselves: “Obviously, a social media consultant who is very good at promoting themselves would also be very good at promoting my company”. As such, the consultant that self-promotes is ironically casting the less selfish image.
A few not so simple things:
- There is a dire shortage of social media consultants relative to the “adoption” rates needed to solve real problems.
- Prices increase as demand increases and supply stays low.
- There is too much social media work for the existing “good ones” to possibly do in their lifetimes.
What every expert should know:
- Social Media is about engagement and sharing, inclusiveness, and empowerment.
- Social media success is a function of critical mass – the more people doing it; the more social media consultants will be needed.
- There are as many different levels of expertise as there are levels of need for such expertise. The ability to match the correct knowledge surplus to the correct knowledge deficit is the hallmark of an expert.
- A social media expert for a construction company is a lot different than a social media expert for an advertising agency – and it is unlikely that either would think of the other to be an expert.
- The world needs lots and lots of social media experts covering a wide range of disciplines real fast – no holes.
Will the Real Social Media Expert please stand up?
Where are the social media experts who are devising the curriculum, certification, structure and ascension plan for all the emerging consultants? After all, social media expertise is in itself the art and science of bringing mass quantities of people around a common goal, concern, message, or product, – quickly and efficiently using modern tools of mass influence – etc. What expert(s) is bringing together ALL social media “experts” under a vetting mechanism that serves market efficiencies not subjective efficiencies?
A kettle and a stove walk into a bar…
In other words, if they are so good, why haven’t they organized themselves?. The CEO says, “If they cannot organize their own “Social Network” industry, how can they organize mine?” Until then, the Riff Raff are entrepreneurs too and an essential ingredient in the development of innovations that will become standards that act in the best interest of the market, not necessarily in the best interest of the “real” Social Media expert.
Besides, who else would the Underdog go after?