I’ve always cringed at the term “social media expert.” I’m even reluctant to include “social media strategy” among my specialties, but in a blog post last August, I explained why I do:
[T]oday, if you want to be seen as knowledgeable about social media, it’s necessary to include the phrase in your title. Otherwise, your audience may assume social media strategy isn’t one of the services you offer–or they may simply forget to think about it. However, I think it’s just as important to quickly move the conversation to the ways in which social media is part of a larger continuum. After all, social media use now represents nearly a quarter of all time spent on the web. If your audience is making fewer distinctions between social media use and web use as a whole, you should do the same.
On Friday, I read something by Peter Shankman that reinforced my belief that it’s necessary to view social media as part of a larger whole. In “I Will Never Hire a ‘Social Media Expert,’ and Neither Should You,” Shankman doesn’t pull any punches:
No business in the world should want a “Social Media Expert” on their team. They shouldn’t want a guru, rock-star, or savant, either. If you have a “Social Media Expert” on your payroll, you’re wasting your money.
Shankman’s entire post is worth a read, but it all comes down to this: social media is a means to an end, not an end unto itself. Look at as part of your larger marketing and communication strategy, and look for help from those who understand, as Shankman says/screams, that:
IT’S ABOUT GENERATING REVENUE THROUGH SOLID MARKETING AND STELLAR CUSTOMER SERVICE, JUST LIKE IT’S BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.