What really makes someone a social media expert

It isn’t a basic knowledge of how to build a Facebook page or proclaiming oneself to be a guru. You have to know how to build a campaign from the ground up.

Is it just my imagination, or does it suddenly seem that everyone is a social media “expert”?

Scan Twitter and LinkedIn, and you’ll see what I mean. With the explosion of businesses using social media, it seems that more and more people are trying to attach themselves to the movement and increase their marketability by proclaiming their “mastery.”

Here’s the stark reality, according to digital marketing specialist Anton Koekemoer: “You are not a social media ‘guru’ if you have the ability to create a Facebook business page, Twitter account, and have a couple of social media apps on your smartphone.”

So, what qualifies someone as a social media specialist? Consider the following three considerations:

You implement strategic, researched campaigns.

Have you constructed full-scale campaigns focused on strategically expanding a client or employer’s social media presence? Within that framework, did you do the painstaking research necessary to thoroughly understand the content your audience desires?

True social media professionals not only have done this research, but also have tested their hypotheses in a variety of situations and thoughtfully analyzed the results. What’s most important about social media is that given the rapidly changing environment of the digital realm, you have to challenge your hypotheses constantly to see whether they’re still relevant.

“If you are into social media and you are calling yourself a ‘guru,’ do you really understand what you are doing, and can you really deliver results?” asks Koekemoer.

Content creation is better than content sharing.

Another mark of a skilled professional is someone who’s creating more content for their brand than they are sharing. Tasteful, research-backed content is the signature of someone who knows what they’re doing.

Coca-Cola immediately comes to mind and provides a fantastic example of this concept. Scroll through their Facebook page, for example, and you’ll quickly realize that nearly all of their content is produced and not regurgitated.

You’d rather die than call yourself a “guru.”

Last, no matter how much success the professionals experience, they would never be caught dead calling themselves experts, mavens, kings, queens, legends, gurus, or juggernauts. Why? Social media is always changing. There’s no way to truly master any platform.

The moment you call yourself a social media “guru” is the moment you’ve claimed to understand it all. That’s impossible.

Ben Butler is national vice president of public relations for PRSSA and president of Top Hat IMC, an integrated marketing communications firm in Wexford, PA. A version of this story originally appeared on the firm’s blog.

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