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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
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!
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?
Get a FREE Website Evaluation!
Brett Borders, the author of this article, is a professional copywriter who specializes in increasing website sales and signup rates. I'm available now to write for your website and optimize it for maximum sales and profits. Please contact me now for a free consultation.