5 Signs You’re NOT a Social Media Expert, Yet

by Brett Borders on October 5, 2009

Over the past few years, social media has quickly flown onto mainstream business marketing’s radar. This boom has created thousands of “Social Media Kindergarten Teacher” types with lower-intermediate skills… who get passed off as industry ‘experts’ on unsuspecting novices or clients. Next, there’s a class of smart, relatively advanced social media users who are still learning the professional + business consulting ropes. Above them, there are a handful of true social media experts who personally innovate & define the industry’s best practices and train the mere ‘professionals.’

“Expert” skiers can ride ANY type of terrain confidently. Can you handle all things social media? photo: Miles Holden

These folks are the 7th degree black belts who can handle almost any kind of social marketing crisis or solve any challenging professional puzzle with panache. The ones who deserve to be called “expert” are distinguished, in my book, by a few highly-uncommon traits and characteristics. If several of the following ‘needs improvement’ points describe you, then you might not be a social media expert yet:

  1. You Lack Expert-level Online Productivity Skills. Do you spend all day surfing the Web, peering over your pictures in Facebook and chatting on Skype/AIM ? Do you struggle to get in an hour of ‘real work’ each day cuz you’re so distracted over Tweetdeck? Do you get feverishly excited each time a new blog comment or friend request comes in? Then you’re probably not a social media expert, yet! Experts know how to deal with the noisy online distractions like Chuck Norris knows how do deal with bad guys. They’ve got custom-built tools, shortcuts, batch processes and assistants – and they know how to use them. Time is (big) money for social media experts; they can’t afford to fuck around.
  2. You Haven’t Yet Monetized Your Social Media Presence into Consistent, Substantial Income. Do spend the bulk of your time on social media tasks that don’t really make you any money ? Do you have a corporate or agency “social media day job” where you’re constantly being reigned-in or encouraged to perform below your true potential? Are you a consultant who doesn’t spend half your day fighting off big budget project + speaking proposals with a stick? Then you’re probably not a social media expert, yet!
  3. You Lack Expert-level Online Communications Skills and Etiquette. Social media experts have a polished panache for communicating online – and getting messages out through blogs, video, audio and status updates. They know how to connect with people, how to persuade and convince, how to criticize, when to bite their tongue, handle disasters gracefully, and they constantly get people to promote their stuff without looking like pimp.
  4. If your online communications aren’t ultra-polished and there isn’t much of an audience or reaction to what you have to say online… then you probably aren’t a social media expert, yet!

  5. You Have Few High-level, Inside Contacts. It’s not about the number of friends. Most ‘real life’ social media experts have close, cultivated connections with the right people. People with power and influence to help get your (client’s) message out to the target audience, or who can go to bat “behind the scenes” for you. Do you know someone who can get your (clients’) product launch written up in Mashable, Wired, or TechCrunch? Do have inside contacts at Twitter / Digg / Facebook’s account team? Can you e-mail an engineer at Google with a confidential problem, or DM a power user who will help you get you 100 retweets or Facebook fans in 15 minutes? If this sounds like a fantasy, rather than what you do on a daily basis…you might not be a social media expert, yet!
  6. You’re Not “Blazing” with Creativity and Intuition. In order to be effective at social marketing, “You have to be part sociologist and part salesman…. being extremely creative is arguably just as important,” says Stuart Foster. Social media experts also have an uncanny, intuitive grasp of how the social web’s collective-mind works and how it will likely react to any given campaign, headline, image or idea. How? They’ve witnessed thousands of successes and failures – both their own and others- which give them an expansive databank of experience to analyze and construct hypotheses from. If you haven’t gotten so deep into the fabric of the social web that it permeates your consciousness – allowing you to reliably tap in to the higher, “genius” brain-circuits of creativity and intuition, on demand – you might not be a social media expert, yet!

Experts ride so deep in the information wave, it becomes an extension of their intuition & consciousness. Photo: PrGibbs

What ‘Expert’ Skills Are You Working On Cultivating?

I’m not a social media expert, yet. I made this list as a self-reflection checklist: I’m guilty of almost all of them. Some people I admire who DO have many of these ‘expert’ traits of business acumen, productivity and creativity… are the ones who I list in my blogroll (under “Rockstars”).

Do you agree or disagree with these 5 signs? What ‘expert skills’ are you most interested in personally developing?

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  • http://pluperfecter.blogspot.com/ Vaspers aka Steven Streight

    Fantastic post my wonderful friend. I’m so glad I shared some White Hat SEO secrets with you on Twitter. You are very smart. I have to decide how I rate here. Challenging. However, not all Social Media Specialists need to make money with their own blog, unless you mean their blog drawing new clients. I don’t run ads or monetize my blogs but some of my clients do. See http://newsanchormom.blogspot.com

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I would argue that making money is one of the biggest separators between “talk” and “action” – I make no money off my blog now – just making enough to gey by with consulting. I look at the people who rake in the cash with style.. and I think those guys are the ones who have it a lot more figured out than I do. I feel like a sucker who works too hard and doesn’t make enough for it ;)

  • http://www.boostinternetmarketing.com Brian Austin

    Great article, will definitely look @ these for creating better results thanks

  • http://www.littmannweddings.blogspot.com MarcLittmann


    Thanks again for another thoughtful post. Are there any distinctions made now about other rankings of social media types, below the pay grade of ‘expert’? If not, I would love to see ‘social media 1st Lieutenant’, ‘social media captain’, ‘social media first mate’, even ‘SM sous chef’ or ‘deputy SM rear admiral’. Perhaps we could then give something for all the rest of us to aspire to! :-)

    But seriously, not everyone wants nor needs to aspire to being an ‘expert’ in this arena. If you agree, where do you see social media’s role 5 years from now? Will SM jobs exist then that haven’t been created yet today? Best ways to get equipped for the future to be a more marketable ‘expert’, either as an employee of a small/med/large company or as a contractor?



  • http://www.zacharyadamcohen.com/ Zachary Adam Cohen

    Great list here, as someone who just incorporated a business doing social media strategy, i’ve got to remind myself that I am not where i want to be, am only capable of doing what i know works, and to let my clients know that. i can’t do everything and am upfront about that…that doesn’t seem to be able to stop their interest though!

  • http://kimsherrell.com KimSherrell

    Great post, Brett! We could almost add a sixth sign from your conversation-starter and last paragraph.

    6. Ability to conduct accurate self-appraisal; recognize strengths and areas that need improvement.

    Hm… I seem to be doing okay in the areas of creative inspiration and cultivating social media connections. Your checklist provides a nice measure for goal setting and getting honest with myself about productivity. Ouch. That kind of truth is annoying! But then again, I’m not a Social Media Expert… I’m an Internet Distractions Expert. Big difference. Hahaha!! Thanks much!! ~ @Kim

  • http://www.zacharyadamcohen.com/ Zachary Adam Cohen

    great one kim! distractions expert!

  • http://www.IAmNickArmstrong.com Nick Armstrong

    I totally agree, but I think the idea of a “social media expert” is laughable.

    Social media is, by definition, about the audience. In order to be a social media expert, you’d have to be a master of social studies, social and generational dynamics, technology, culture, technology-oriented group culture theory, and many more disciplines.

    The best we can hope to be is social media strategists – good ones, granted, but if anyone claims to be a guru or an expert, someone needs to set their pants ablaze.

    The real winners here will be the ungurus. I don’t teach social media to make money (my weekly, hour-long classes are only $1), I teach social media to expose new voices, new talents, and new stories.

    Great thoughts, though. Definitely a worth-while self-eval!

    -Nick Armstrong

  • http://www.goldcoastsocialmedia.com Cam Gleeson

    Great post Brett, I agree I think those that are true experts in social media are extremely rare. As for the rest of us, well we really are students – a category I am happy to reside in!

  • http://www.IAmNickArmstrong.com Nick Armstrong


    SM jobs will exist when businesses realize they can’t walk the same old marketing line on Social Media by either “playing” in the CMO’s free time or by hiring high-school “facebook” interns to post their crappy ads everywhere.

    SM is akin to a new programming language (or the implementation of hydraulics in machinery) – tools to assist in an existing field. On its own, it’s a time-sink, but when used with purpose and with other marketing tenants (that is – relationship building, not “buy my product or die”), it can be quite effective. Just look at Best Buy’s Twelpforce!


    -Nick Armstrong

  • http://www.thehappyaccident.net Greg Pincus

    I like this post a lot, as well as your ability for self-reflection. Point one in particular, where I am…uh… challenged, is one that translates to many, many other areas. I do have a question about point four, though – are you saying that expertise is defined by who you know, not what you know? I would certainly agree that someone with those connections is a person who would be better to hire to help with a project than someone without those contacts, but is that the definition of being an expert? Perhaps a social media expert would be able to figure out who those “right people” are in any given situation and understand the way to reach them in a way that would work (even though nothing works as well as the connection)? I admit I don’t work towards that level of contact, so perhaps that’s what informs the way I think about it, but I tend to view experts as people who know the material not necessarily the players.

  • http://www.littmannweddings.blogspot.com MarcLittmann

    So SM ‘students’ ought to focus developing skill in psychology, communications, logic, political science, human behavior, sales, and more. Adding yoga and thai chi, meditation and a degree in treating Restless Brain Syndrome, or RBS, might prove valuable.

    Speaking of RBS, time to shut down the computer and go to sleep…oooh look–something shiny!


  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I’ve never heard of RBS, but man.. I probably have it. It’s late, I’m fried. .time to go to bed for me too! ;)

  • http://www.anigalla.net/ anigalla.net

    that is a good post. Points 1 to 4 are something which anyone can get by learning or trying hard. but the point 5 is the toughest one “You’re Not “Blazing” with Creativity and Intuition”, which i feel that one should have by birth and it is something which can not come by hard work or learning. :) what do you think?

  • Anonymous

    I’m trying to dip my toe in and learn more about social media because, currently as an internet sales consultant I represented 30% of sales and over 25.5 million in revenue last year for my company but I’m still trying to figure out how to learn more about this and implement it to be even more productive at bringing in sales for a company. Any suggestions (or companies to work with to learn more about social media would be awesome!).Nice interesting post.

  • http://Www.kerryregoconsulting.blogspot.com/ Kerry

    I absolutely abhor the term “expert”. I distrust anyone that calls themselves that. Its simply obnoxious. I happen to train businesses to understand the tools and how they can be incorporated into their marketing strategy. Steer clear of anyone that refers to themselves as an expert (IMO).

  • http://pluperfecter.blogspot.com/ Vaspers aka Steven Streight

    Dear friend, do the top bloggers make money from their blog? Seth Godin? Tom Peters? BL Ochman? The smartest marketing minds I know of do NOT make money from their blog, but their blog indirectly rakes in cash via selling their books, attracting clients, etc. Monetized blogs are generally made ugly and hard to use with ads all over them. NEVER feel inferior because your blog is not a cash cow or vending machine. That said, if we have some expertise, and we share it on our blog, and there is no result, then we may be doing something wrong. But — the main thing about blogging is NOT making money, but influencing, teaching, sharing, helping, and self-expressing, IMHO. All the best comrade! I love your blog. Comments, which you get tons of (I’m jealous! heh) are the best sign of a healthy blog.

  • Anonymous

    I would add two things: experts have a clear purpose and know something about measurement of impact and results. And those things definitely go together ;-) .

  • http://sem-group.net/search-engine-optimization-blog/ Gerald Weber

    The first thing that comes to mind when you say “social media expert” is all the self proclaimed social media experts on Twitter with a couple hundred followers. It’s really gotten to the point of ridiculousness. lol

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I know, dude. I think they fall into the “social media kindergarden teachers” who feel qualified to advise companies because they have personally figured out how to update Twitter and Facebook. To me, experts are the best of the best, the people who blaze the trails for the other top pros – not the people who teach n00bs.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    Great points! Experts know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. For me measuring results is easy, because I’m a web traffic developer. Look at analytics, see if there’s more traffic (or not). For people trying to use social media for branding and such, it must be harder to measure.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I agree that titles like “expert” or “rockstar” are not ones to use as self-descriptive modifiers.

    Training businesses is an important thing to do (I partially do that for a living, also) but it just makes us a professional teacher- not necessary an ” industry expert”

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I would read blogs like SEOmoz, DoshDosh, Mashable, Read Write Web, etc.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a data hack from way back :-) . Would love to see other ideas about how to measure in addition to traffic.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I think that blazing creativity and intuition can be developed through years / tens-of-thousands of hours of experience with social media.

    When experts exposed to so much information, over time – it just becomes part of their consciousness and they develop amazing ideas and have a ’6th sense’ for what works and what doesn’t.

    I think creativity can very much be developed and learned with experience and expsure!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I would argue that social media is just as much about who you know, as it is about what you know. This isn’t rocket science or accounting – it’s social media. It’s about people a “people artist” and knowing the right people to help make things happen on the Web.

    Just like PR experts (99.9% of the time) know influencers in print media, real social media “experts” are usually pretty well connected with the people who own the networks (in an administrative or ‘power user’ sense).

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    they’re extremely rare. they are the ones at the very top of the pyramid, the people who train the mere “professionals”. I am a professional (meaning, I do this for a living) but not an expert.

  • Anonymous

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your perspective on this :-)

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I agree. I try hard to be a competent professional. Being an expert means having things figured inside and out (and in my book, making a ton of money for having done so). I’m not even close to that.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I work at home, alone, and I can get horrible distracted. If I spent 25% of the time I’d spent surfing random pages in the past 3 years on writing content and monetizing it, I would probably have a nice little bit of side income.

    Live, learn (reflect), adapt and survive! that’s the name of the game!

    p.s. MISS Oregon / Ashland!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I’m trying to find a narrower market to specialize in. “All of SEO” is way too much for one brain. so is “half of social media.”

    I’m looking to get more focused on an aspect of these fields that I am very passionate about. Haven’t figured out my online game yet – so I’m definitely no expert ;)

  • http://www.zacharyadamcohen.com/ Zachary Adam Cohen

    Although the topic is about experts and gurus, I think we need to be a bit
    more careful. There are a lot of people who love social media, and its
    awesome that people are jumping into this new world, particularly if they
    know people who need and want the help. Now of course, no one should refer
    to themselves as an expert unless they have deep experience, years of
    training, etc…But I detect a bias against people who are smart, motivated
    and are natural evangelists for social media. What’s the harm if more people
    come into this world. If Social Media is to be as big as everyone as saying,
    intimitely connected to all of our lives, then we need all the evangelists
    and helpers as possible. Some will do worse jobs than others, but still,
    someone has to help the small businesses and clients who can’t afford 10k
    retainers and 6 month committments from the so called Experts.

    As someone who has just started a consultancy here in NYC, i am very honest
    about my experience with my clients. I tell them what I have learned and how
    I believe I can help them. I tell them that their are no sure fire ways to
    do antyhing and that everything is still in experimental stages, but that
    with a little guidance and some training they can put themselves on a path
    to at least being on board with social media. We reevaluate in three months
    and see what’s worked, what hasn’t and refine and tweak the process from
    there. Even without a long history in this profession, I have more clients
    than I know what to do with, and i believe it is because I NEVER promise
    them anything, and have never said i know everything. In fact, I frequently
    tell clients to ignore anyone who claims to be a guru in social media.

    Anyway, there is another side to this story, i know there are some bigwigs
    on this chain of comments, and I just wanted there to be a moment of pause
    for new people who are authentically getting into the business now with good
    intentions, positive approaches and who are simply trying to build the
    social media community into something grander.



  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I know what you mean on the bias against smart, self-motivated
    entrepreneurs getting into the social media field.

    I’m NOt trying to point daggers or cut anyone down… my only intention is to spark some discussion on the topic (which is near impossible these days – as the blogosphere gets more crowded – without a provocative headline and slightly contentious copy that raises people’s emotions.)

    Social media is hot right now.. and it can be competitive and even
    catty. Egos flare and some people want to take a pot shot at people
    for trying to honestly help others – with no puffery, pretension or

    I would call honest consultants who make a living helping others with
    new media “social media professionals”

    I personally reserve the title “expert” for folks – like Brian Clark,
    Chris Brogan, Muhammad Salem – who have been in it for years and who
    regularly blaze the new trails that the other professionals follow –
    who make top dollar doing it – who have behind-the-scenes connections.

    Thanks for your comments and massive success with your new social
    media endeavors!

  • http://www.zacharyadamcohen.com/ Zachary Adam Cohen

    thanks brett! i agree completely!

  • http://pluperfecter.blogspot.com/ Vaspers aka Steven Streight

    Site traffic is a lousy metric. Only conversions to sales is important. Or comments that enrich the conversation. Curiosity clickers are worthless.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    “Site traffic is a lousy metric” is – oftentimes – the mantra of
    marketers who don’t know how to drive site traffic ;)

    It depends on who you’re working for. I’ve worked for several
    publishers who run a cost-per-impression ad model. Pageviews and
    traffic are EVERYTHING.
    One time visitors = money. MY job is to drive more traffic to the
    pages, we don’t care who or what or why they visit.

    In selling products, targeted traffic is important. People somewhat
    interested in the topic or product would be dine. In more abstract
    scenarios.. like ‘branding’ – perhaps traffic is less important.

  • http://www.marketingfirst.co.nz/blog/ Sheldon (Marketing Consultant)

    Thanks for the reality check Brett (you shattered my illusion)

  • http://twitter.com/SarahCaminker Sarah Caminker

    Hi Brett,
    I really appreciate this post. You provide some great insight and real truth behind labeling someone a “social media expert.” The one thing I have a hard time grasping is the fact that companies consider people SM experts based on the number of Twitter followers they have. However, today you can buy your followers (how pathetic), so how can a company measure your experience based on that? Unfortunately, the real experts probably don’t get enough praise/credit. They are the ones who are actively engaging in discussions and with the online community, not counting their followers. Thanks for the great content! Look forward to your future posts! @SarahCaminker

  • http://phoenix2life.blogspot.com phoenix2life

    Interesting list. But how to get out of this mold and become social expert. What steps one should take to reach to that expertise and achieve online social nirvana. Some of the bullets in above list do answer how negate the negativity but not all. Especially about creativity and insider contacts. It is rare thing and need to be established with years of practice, experience and observations …Like it very much

  • http://phoenix2life.blogspot.com phoenix2life

    So true…it is like a party …whoever is the most engaging and with interesting contents fetch the crowd in the party. So it applies to online also. More engaging contents, more related information and solid understanding of needs of participants help to be a social expert.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    I think number of friends is an incredibly poor measure of expertise. I know a guy with 100k mutual followers on Twitter. All this proves is he spends a lot of time chatting with people.

    I don’t know if having lots of community discussions makes one an “expert” though either… for me big litmus test is “how much money do they make off their social media brand?” and “how wide, advanced, unique, uncommon, non-parroted is their skills and knowledge?

    There a re a lot of people who are all following each other, talking about the same stuff everyone else is talking about, not really making a lot of money doing it. That doesn’t scream out “expert” to me.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders


    postiive steps:

    1. Develop expert online productivity skills
    2. Focus on how to earn money for the hours you put into your social media game
    3. polish your communications and etiquette
    4. go to conference and events, do guest posts, voluenteer and power network your way to high-level contacts
    5. spend so much time immersed in social media that it creativity and intuition become second nature

  • http://phoenix2life.blogspot.com phoenix2life

    Absolutely. Nice positive list. Agree to it very much.

    Especially point 5 about time management is the must.

    Awesome article Brett.

  • http://ariherzog.com Ari Herzog

    Expert, sexpert. Who cares?

  • Anonymous

    After reading this, I slowly started ticking the no or maybe but definitely not yes (not yet!) I believe it is something I would like to pursue full time, but where on earth do I start?
    I want to be content and quality driven. So that when I do send out notifcations and articles, people actually read it and or forward it.

    I think this list puts a lot of people into context for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.wchingya.com wchingya

    Upon reading through the 5 signs, obviously I’m no way near to be a social media expert. ^^ Shame shame.. although I like to mark myself as a learner, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop where I am and be contented. There are still many levels in the learning process. While being encouraged by your post about how miniature I am in the world of social media, it’s my hope to gain productivity knowledge and communication skills along the way. Dare not to think about monetizing for the time being, just hope to connect with some like-minded social media enthusiast, engage in a collaboration perhaps and make something happen. It takes a lot more than just saying along, with efforts and a bit of luck, maybe? *finger cross*

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, this ‘debate’ gets a little bit embarassing. Social folks are the only ones who can spend 24/7 talking about wether they are real or not. With all necessary respect, who defines what is real and not? Why do you care? Do butchers roam around asking wether they are real butchers or not? Don’t think so.

  • Anonymous

    One of the biggest challenges in using social media (in my opinion) is not being so direct. Most businesses are working the social media channels to generate leads/sales, but if you make it so obvious that this is your goal then you will get no where. The true experts find such a great balance between keeping it interesting and keeping it productive. I have not had success using social media in generating business, but I have had great success in finding new and unique suppliers which has made it worthwhile.

    Thanks for a great article.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Great list – the first one is the killer though. It’s not only a question of wasting time, it’s also making the best choice in how you spend your time… and then if you are doing everything my yourself, there is just so much more you always want to do.

  • http://www.wealthnetpartners.com/ Marc

    I’m with you, Zach. Social media is something that a lot of people are constantly trying to improve upon. I think that unless the majority of us do nothing but that all day everyday with a thirst to learn and improve, we’ll not likely master Brett’s list here.

  • http://www.zacharyadamcohen.com/ Zachary Adam Cohen

    thanks marc!

  • Anonymous

    I would say if you are a true social media expert you must be very googleable. I looked someone up and he had four entries. Not an expert! On the other hand, a woman I looked up had 1,890,000 hits and she is number two on Twitter in the SF Bay Area. Definitely an expert!

  • http://www.zacharyadamcohen.com/ Zachary Adam Cohen

    I wonder how much a three month strategy costs w her. There are plenty
    of people who can do great work without being googleable. Btw I am
    googleable but still. Ur logic is not sound.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I guess we can agree to disagree! I’m not saying someone has to have a million plus hits to be considered an expert but in my opinion, they need to be easily found and be heavily involved with social media to be an expert. You can find her @annevanston on twitter.

  • Anonymous

    Well said! I couldn’t agree more. We will see more and more jobs looking for SM Experts to be the voice of their company. Southwest Airlines and Best Buy are perfect examples of things to come!

  • http://www.thehappyaccident.net Greg Pincus

    Brett – maybe we’re only talking a semantic difference. I agree that connections are incredibly valuable and certainly make getting initial attention (and often more) in social media much, much, much easier. A company who has that goal would be wise to hire someone with connections to help them achieve it. To me, though, a social media “expert” would be able to create an event/tool/whatever that was so compelling that Mashable, for example, would have to cover it. Great PR practitioners do that as well. And sure, connections can help even there, but aren’t the key characteristic. More importantly, wouldn’t an expert be able to do something for themselves or their clients that achieved the goals they set out to do even if those goals might have nothing whatsoever to do with attention… and even if the needed connections are the ones the client has, not the outside consultant. Some people need the tools explained, but not hundreds of retweets or articles to reach their goals

    As I said, it might be semantics. I know the value of connections is true in every business, and social media is not different. Still, I have trouble with a definition of expertise that’s about who you know not what you know. Maybe social media changes that, and maybe some of the rockstars on your list will join you and tell me I’m missing a key point. Or…semantics.

    Thanks for the post and starting (and continuing) the great conversation throughout the comments….

  • http://www.zacharyadamcohen.com/ Zachary Adam Cohen

    greg i really dig where you are going with this comment, and Brett, you obv
    have started a fascinating thread that has now stretched on for several
    days, so kudos to you.
    I think one thing we’re missing here is the cost issue, which i alluded to
    in an earlier comment, and which I will flesh out now. Small businesses are
    not going to hire all star social media gurus like brogans etc…They can’t
    nor should they afford him. So there will be people selling a less glamorous
    and perhaps not a totally revolutionary service but for a lot less. I charge
    between 3500-7500 for full on consultations, training, on site development
    and strategy. I don’t tweet for people, and I don’t ghost. I am happy to
    help them come up with blog ideas, to edit them, to get them sharing what is
    of interest to them and their natural community members, and I facilitate
    partnerships between businesses and the social networkers of importance to
    that business.

    I am sure that my service is less involved and less revolutionary than the
    brogans, schwabels, solis’ etc…but those guys, I hope, charge an arm and a
    leg. There are much more of me than there are of them. Right?

    And i get to watch them, and many more, and learn, listen, experiment, be
    creative and see what works all the while building my business, my client
    and knowledge base as well as my influence in my small circle.

    If coke needs a social media guy they aint coming to a guy like me. But then
    again I don’t charge 200k right?


  • http://blondish.net Nile Flores

    The problem is that some bloggers do not want to make money on their blog, only share their experience.

    The goal is not to be an expert in social media, but well rounded in the knowledge and to influence your followers enough. They are the ones that decide whether you are an ‘expert’ or ‘guru’, even if you have a Bachelors or Masters in Marketing. Remember, social media is just another word for marketing.

  • http://www.twitter.com/MrMattAnderson Mr Matt Anderson

    Nice stuff and made me smile :-)

    I do think that the field of social media is now SO big and growing SO fast, that a humble approach that you cannot be an expert of it all is a good starting point.

    Specializing in a niche, owning it and living it every day is the only way to become an expert in a particular field, such as online PR.

    I think that point 4 is something that we all can aspire to but probably cannot achieve totally at the moment. :-)

    The bottom line that so many people forget is that good communication and networking skills are at the core of successful social media.

    If you don’t have a good story (content) to sell to your contacts then you are screwed.


  • http://marketingdifference.co.uk/ Ian Turk

    A big issue is that social media has not been around long enough for anyone to develop real expertise. I am concerned by marketeers who provide mechanical instructions rather than going back to basics and producing a strategy.

  • http://vikingtextads.com perfectstorm

    Outstanding points and a great reminder that no matter how many comments I get from my family and friends about the things I am able to do with social media there is always room to get better at what I do.

    I’m like Vaspers and do not run ads or monetize my blogs.

    I treat my social networks like I am going to a party, my blogs are my home, and my website is my business. That’s just me!

  • http://my.hellohello.net/perfectstorm/2009/10/11/5-signs-you%e2%80%99re-not-a-social-media-expert-yet/ 5 Signs You’re NOT a Social Media Expert, Yet | The Perfect Storm Team

    [...] 5 Signs You’re NOT a Social Media Expert, Yet. Submit this to Script & StyleShare this on BlinklistShare this on del.icio.usDigg this!Post this on DiigoShare this on RedditBuzz up!Stumble upon something good? Share it on StumbleUponShare this on TechnoratiShare this on MixxPost this to MySpaceSubmit this to DesignFloatShare this on FacebookTweet This!Subscribe to the comments for this post?Share this on LinkedinSeed this on NewsvineShare this on DevmarksAdd this to Google BookmarksAdd this to Mister WongAdd this to IzebyShare this on TipdShare this on PFBuzzShare this on FriendFeedMark this on BlogMarksSubmit this to TwittleyShare this on Fwisp Categorized in Blogging, Micro-Blogging, Social Bookmarking, Social Networking Tags: Social Media, Social Media Expert [...]

  • http://davaidavai.com/2009/10/11/social-crm-ready-for-action/ Social CRM. Ready for action? | davaidavai.com

    [...] RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet BoxWhile we are talking way too much about real vs. not so real Social Media Experts, definitely too few people debate about what social might contribute to the value of [...]

  • http://blondish.net/what-makes-a-person-an-expert-in-social-media/ What Makes A Person An Expert in Social Media? | blondish.net

    [...] My response to the Social Media Rockstar article called 5 Signs You’re NOT a Social Media Expert, Yet: [...]

  • Anonymous

    This will be in the curriculum (or the syllabus for a class) for all “Bachelors Degree in Digital Identity and Social Media” programs/universities across the country in 2011.

  • http://clayfranklin.com Clay Franklin


    First time here. I have really been enjoying your articles, writing style and blog. This is an interesting article. I am quite impressed with how humble you are based on your extensive background. I love social media also and have been around computers since the commodore Vic 20, have a BS in Marketing and 20 years in Business Relationship management. Still I am not a social media expert either and do not meet most if not all of the criteria you have discussed in this article.
    I have also tweeted about being with cool people and totally enjoyed talking with them too. My next step is to really work on the first 2 items and take more action and make more money. See you on Twitter.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you

  • http://thepracticalcafe.com TPC Online Marketing

    Great post! I look at these and say ‘Ugh, I am none!’ But I think that when I have learned enough to make the claim of such a title as “expert” , “Guru”,etc I will have stopped learning and thereby failed my clients.

  • StevenKan

    I agree. That is a list to aspire to the 7th degree black belt level. Persistence is important but it is good to have a rockstar mentor to follow. Look forward to learning how to get out of kindergarten! And on the inside track to monetization.

  • http://www.healthinformationtips.net/ health insurance

    I think a social media expert would be able to figure out who those “right people” are in any given situation and understand the way to reach them in a way that would work.

  • http://www.carvermediagroup.com/services/website-development.html Web Development Services

    With the rise in the importance of social media to the business world, has flooded the market with ‘experts on the subject. These days, it seems as if it is even impossible to turn your head without falling in at least three of it is not terribly surprising, really “social networking gurus.” – Everyone wants to get into the social game, and there is money to be familiar with social networks, and help companies figure out what is the whole deal ‘social’ everything.