in Digital & Social

The One Question That Truly Defines Someone’s Level of Social Media Expertise

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to blog. Now that my life is a bit more settled, I hope to be able to write and share my thoughts on a more frequent basis.

Over the last number of months, there’s been a fair bit of discussion in the social media world about how people describe their level of social media “expertise”. Terms like social media “expert”, “evangelist”, “guru” and, surprisingly, even “ninja” are used so frequently, it’s almost like there’s a fire sale on them.

Now, I am all for the progression of social media – I feel that it’s important for companies to leverage available tools and technologies in becoming more social and more human in the way they act, communicate and conduct business.  Having people who are enthusiastic about social media, as well trained in and knowledgeable about social media tools and emerging technologies, is key to this progression.

However, unfortunately there is a significant credibility issue when it comes to people and their often self-proclaimed level of social media expertise. Social is evolving at such a breakneck speed, can anyone really claim to be an expert? In my opinion, no. Further, and more notably, many who claim to be experts actually lack formal marketing or communications experience – social media doesn’t exist by itself in a vacuum, it needs to be integrated with marketing, communications, customer service and other business functions!

This leads me to a key point I would like to make. There is one great way to judge someone’s knowledge of social media. Ask them this question:

What tangible business results have you created through your social media efforts?

The proof should be in the pudding. Even Bruce Lee can’t fake an answer to this question.

  • Anonymous

    The main focus of my work in social media over the past nine years hasn’t been business: it’s been working with the marginalized for empowerment. But that’s not to say there have been no tangible results: I’m the one who taught April Smith blogging and social media, and now she has her own company that employs several DTES people on a part-time basis. One of my students got a full scholarship to SFU based on his blog:

    Of course, I do work with companies, although I prefer working with smaller ones: entrepreneurs, startups, and solo flyers, and I’ve helped them a great deal, but changing someone’s life is to me a more fundamental value than increasing sales 10% or what-have-you.

  • Eric Buchegger

    Those are definitely some tangible results, Lorraine! April Smith is actually one of the first people I became aware of in Vancouver’s social media community – she certainly has a well-developed online persona. I haven’t had a chance to meet her in person, but I feel that i have a sense of who she is and what she stands for.

  • Laurent

    Great question. I use my personal profiles for a few reasons. Here are a few examples of results:

    – organized a Tedx Vancouver application event for 15 people
    – sold many tickets for my events via SM
    – got great client leads and new clients from SM

    I also use SM to learn and keep on top of news in a few different categories. Don’t know how I can quantify that but I know I get value out of it and never want to stop.

  • Eric Buchegger

    Hi Laurent,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment and share what you’ve achieved through SM. Clearly you’ve been able to leverage the tools to your advantage!