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I just joined this forum, and while browsing through some old discussions, the "social media expert" one interested me. ( http://www.techhui.com/forum/topics/social-media-expert?xg_source=a... )

I understand what your concerns are about people who are doing FB and Twitter for 6 months and then calling themselves "experts", I too shudder when I meet some of those.

However, there are some professionals out there who truly are the expert, although because of the stigma associated with that term nowsadays would not call themselves as such.

So if one is truly adept in social media; if one is truly passionate about it and has valid experience and knowledge, what should he call himself? I discussion I mentioned earlier is almost a year old. Social Media had progressed since then, and in the recent months I have seen businessmen on Maui wanting to get involved in social media promotion. Many do not have a clue how to effectively do it. They need or want an "expert" to tell them....

Put it simple, I have a passion to help others using learn about social media to help their businesses succeed. I initially thought of calling myself a "social media coach" but now I am doubtful that might be a cause of "eyebrow raising" too :) I love referring myself as a "wannabe geek, because I am a social media geek" is that good enough? :)

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Oh, here's a link making me think more about the need for social media consultants or coach: http://www.inc.com/news/articles/2009/12/afraid-of-social-media.html
Hi Liza - That thread got a bit more colorful than I had expected :-) It was only intended as a lighthearted post about an amusing interaction. That being said, some interesting points were raised by Viil and others.

You ask a perfectly valid question. In my opinion, for what its worth, if you have implemented a few successful campaigns for customers I would go with web consultant or strategist with social media experience or, if you really want to emphasis just the social media aspect, social media strategist. If you have done dozens over a period of a few years, you are probably as close to a social media expert as the industry has, and no one can really make fun of your title :-) I think it all comes down to your portfolio.

These days, for my own title, I oscillate between Mascot and Chief Lemur Wrangler. Neither title is ever challenged. :-)

Have a great holiday season and good luck with the Maui businessmen you mentioned! I noticed some folks on Maui getting into the social media mix. Kapalua Villas just launched a Facebook contest for guests.
Hey Daniel, thanks for the reply and input. Very much appreciated. To bring this to full circle, and let you know that your initial post is actually truly valid though meant to be a lighthearted post, here's a link to a funny video of what it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIoSh_Yr8Uk

:) Liza



Daniel Leuck said:
Hi Liza - That thread got a bit more colorful than I had expected :-) It was only intended as a lighthearted post about an amusing interaction. That being said, some interesting points were raised by Viil and others.

You ask a perfectly valid question. In my opinion, for what its worth, if you have implemented a few successful campaigns for customers I would go with web consultant or strategist with social media experience or, if you really want to emphasis just the social media aspect, social media strategist. If you have done dozens over a period of a few years, you are probably as close to a social media expert as the industry has, and no one can really make fun of your title :-) I think it all comes down to your portfolio.

These days, for my own title, I oscillate between Mascot and Chief Lemur Wrangler. Neither title is ever challenged. :-)

Have a great holiday season and good luck with the Maui businessmen you mentioned! I noticed some folks on Maui getting into the social media mix. Kapalua Villas just launched a Facebook contest for guests.
This is a good topic Liza and I could go on about it. I think we might schedule the topic for an upcoming meeting of Social Media Club Hawaii. To any SME wannabe, I suggest the following as a starting point:

Your case studies, your presentations, your testimonials - the same things a client should use to vet any consultant - should be prominent.

You should be active (doing research, testing different tools and strategies, watching content and ideally creating content) for at least a year with all of the following tools: a blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouYube + other video, and Flickr.

You should have some sort of other internet business background, in marketing, communication, web development, etc. You cannot be a social media expert in a vacuum just by knowing a few tools. And the corollary is that if you do have that other background, you cannot instantly morph into being a SME just be using the SM tools for a few months. It can actually be harder, as I have seen many people (PR people in particular) try to use SM tools as they would traditional PR. SM is in many ways the opposite, and it takes time to figure that out and get it in your DNA.

OTOH, if your client loves what you are doing for them, none of the above matters. :-) At the end of the day, business is as subjective as every other part of life!

This is my world limit for posting on discussion boards - I will likely carry it further to my own blog!

Let's plan a Social Media Club Hawaii event on Maui for 2010. Are you interested in helping? I've got a few others who are.

Aloha,

Rox
Hi Rox - Good idea. If you do a Maui event for the Social Media Club, we'll feature the event and stick a prominent link in the Maui Techies group. We will also mention it in the newsletter if you give us enough lead time. I imagine Bob Sommers, David Fisher, Tommy Russo and Doug Levin would be interested in participating. Also, Virendra Nath's Maui Angels group may be interested.
Hi Roxanne,

Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful reply. I consider you as "expert" on social media" and I agree with what you said.

Yes I am willing to help in organizing a Social Media Club Event on Maui for 2010. Currently, I am putting together (slowly putting together "Hello Maui" which is a by product of "Re-Think Hawaii" (to echo that conference to the local entrepreneurs, etc). The event would most likely be in early summer depending on Jeremiah Owyang's schedule. He graciously agreed to come to be the keynote speaker to help Maui.

If the Social Media Event will be prior to that, then that would be a great prelude to it. Let me know how I can get involved.

Liza




Roxanne Darling said:
This is a good topic Liza and I could go on about it. I think we might schedule the topic for an upcoming meeting of Social Media Club Hawaii. To any SME wannabe, I suggest the following as a starting point:

Your case studies, your presentations, your testimonials - the same things a client should use to vet any consultant - should be prominent.

You should be active (doing research, testing different tools and strategies, watching content and ideally creating content) for at least a year with all of the following tools: a blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouYube + other video, and Flickr.

You should have some sort of other internet business background, in marketing, communication, web development, etc. You cannot be a social media expert in a vacuum just by knowing a few tools. And the corollary is that if you do have that other background, you cannot instantly morph into being a SME just be using the SM tools for a few months. It can actually be harder, as I have seen many people (PR people in particular) try to use SM tools as they would traditional PR. SM is in many ways the opposite, and it takes time to figure that out and get it in your DNA.

OTOH, if your client loves what you are doing for them, none of the above matters. :-) At the end of the day, business is as subjective as every other part of life!

This is my world limit for posting on discussion boards - I will likely carry it further to my own blog!

Let's plan a Social Media Club Hawaii event on Maui for 2010. Are you interested in helping? I've got a few others who are.

Aloha,

Rox
Dan and Liza,

Thanks for all the great ideas; I will follow up accordingly as our plans develop.

Aloha,

Rox
I think Social Media Consultant is similar to PR in that there is very little that an interested CEO / VP of Marketing couldn't do themselves if they really put their mind to it. This is not to say that businesses will not / should not buy social media expertise. Perhaps it is not in their DNA or it is uncomfortable. But social media is precisely that -- social - which implies its pretty easy stuff to learn and master if you want to. Granted, building complex FB pages can take more technical expertise (although Sprout makes it pretty easy) but for the most part social media can be learned quickly and easily and for that reason its best to understand exactly what you are getting when you pay someone to do social media for you.
Alex, I agree that there is very little that an interested CEO of VP or Marketing couldn't do themselves if they really put their mind to "Social Media" , and to add to that I'd say if they put their "heart" into it. The problem I see with many traditional PR CEO/Marketing Staff who is diving into social media without understanding what it truly is (like what you said, "social") is that they are applying a traditional way of PR communication using the social media tools. For example, a prominent mall on Maui recently announced that they are on Twitter and Facebook. However, they never cared to engage - all they did was announce what is on sale or what is happening. Many of the "Maui Tweeters" tried ot engage them into a conversation and they do not respond at all. That's not social media, that is traditional one way promotion using a social media tool. If perhaps it is indeed not on their DNA or is uncomfortable, then it is best to hire someone to do it, or at least train them how to do it. "Engagement" is a vital part of social media and I think that's where there traditinal "marketing experts" who are not adept to social media lack.

Thanks adding your input to this discussion Alex. I think there are a lot of interest going on right now on this topic, especially with the coming New Year when businessmen set their goals for the next year.
Alex Salkever said:
I think Social Media Consultant is similar to PR in that there is very little that an interested CEO / VP of Marketing couldn't do themselves if they really put their mind to it. This is not to say that businesses will not / should not buy social media expertise. Perhaps it is not in their DNA or it is uncomfortable. But social media is precisely that -- social - which implies its pretty easy stuff to learn and master if you want to. Going to disagree with you wholeheartedly here Alex. Social media is not that easy to learn which is why it has taken years for mainstream adoption and why so many companies get FAIL on their first social media campaigns. It involves a complex soup of technology - both devices as well as as apps, and huge shifts in the culture of a company to open up and have honest conversations with their customers. It involves an entirely method of communication and it is 24/7 across numerous platforms.

Harvard Business Review has been studying social media scientifically for nearly a decade and a recent blog post shows how clueless many companies and especially their C-levels, are at understanding not only the nuance about how to be successful on the social web but also the big picture. Both are necessary to implement a strategy. It is not once size fits all. And to address Liza's point, being a blogger or Twitter user for 6 months probably does not make you qualified to advise a major brand about getting into social media communication and marketing.

The Social Media Club is a nonprofit professional organization of which I am a founding member and also the founder of the Hawaii chapter. Our meetings have been packed with people wanting to learn how to use the various tools, and the more I speak to smart business people about Social Media, the more I realize it is not obvious, not easy, and not natural for the average successful person.

"With new social media platforms popping up every second, many companies worry that they can't keep up with their customers." - The intro line in the article to which Liza linked - is a genuine concern and certainly prevalent. Unlike PR, social media is best learned and adopted inside the company. A social media coach can be the determining factor in how easily, quickly, and smartly a company gets up to speed in their use of social media, or not.

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