Now that title may at first glance appear somewhat pretentious but even being someone who manages social media for a large company like myself, I have a hard time proclaiming guru or expert status.
Here’s the thing. You can’t be an expert at something that first of all has really only started culminating the last couple years, and second, changes almost every week. You can call yourself a social media ninja, bad ass, maestro, whatever the hell you wanna call it….but there’s a 96.87% chance you are no guru or expert.
First, to say something positive (I’ve been trying to start off all my recent blog posts on a positive note), I love social media and I love how excited everyone is about it. It’s reshaping company/brand PR/Marketing efforts in a way that is healthy, creative, and cost effective…most of the time. I’d say my only complaint about it is that it’s made internet life quite a bit “noisier”…which I expected to happen.
Now then…..my point in this post is that to those claiming to be social media experts or even someone that claims to be in the know with social media and it’s big picture….this is probably not true. Just because you have a twitter account and you know how to use it, doesn’t make you a social media marketer. There’s an art to understanding that social media is all about people, about meaningful conversation that is genuine, relevant, intelligent (sometimes), and more importantly: REAL.
Also, you need to understand that because you have accounts on all the various sites, it does not make you an expert. If you want to eventually be an expert or guru at social media, the most important aspect of it that you need to understand, more important than the tools themselves that are at your fingertips is PEOPLE. To be really good, you need to ‘get’ people….different types of people, their interests, personalities, various thought processes, locales, etc. You might say to yourself..”ok that’s basic segment marketing analysis,” but we, as social marketers, have to understand that this landscape is different. The consumers of social media don’t like to be spoon fed empty one way communications about products, services and other crap. They are smarter than the old consumer, they have a lower attention span, and they put up with less bullshit than ever before. They have the power to immediately weed out and block all crap, unlike email spam which is and will always barely be under control.
The other side of this on the tools/technology side is that you need a cohesion that takes the sum of all the parts of what you do for a company or client. There should be a high level premise and plan on how all the accounts/tools all tie together to push out one message and a wave of consistent content. If you don’t have that, your efforts are null and void. Might as well head home and start gardening.
To be a social media expert or guru, you need to understand all the tools, how they all work together and you need to have a passion for human beings and their behavior, good, bad and ugly. If you understand that stuff, have a vision, and are fascinated with human beings, you will be a social media jedi one day. I hope I get to be one too.