I’ve been involved in marketing for much of my career. And over the last several years, I’ve immersed myself in the world of email and online marketing, in particular, developing a level of expertise that my clients, friends, and colleagues have come to rely upon. I’m going to make a bold statement here.

I am appalled at what is passing for “Social Media Expert” in some quarters.

But maybe I’m wrong. What do YOU make of the self-described social media expert who doesn’t respond to comments on their Facebook Business Page and posts little more than “inspirational” quotes and links to their own website – but who conducts seminars and workshops that purport to tell YOU how to “do” social media?

Or the webmaster whose own company website violates every “best practice” known to mankind? (Slow-loading Flash, click-wasting “Intro” or landing pages that are an exercise in self-indulgent “artistic” expression but add nothing to YOUR website experience, music or voiceovers that assault the ear as soon as you connect, dead links sprinkled throughout the site, etc etc etc)

Back in the day, I remember getting annoyed with the ad agency whose own print ads failed to demonstrate creativity and a compelling message. I mean, why would I ever hire you if you can’t even create excitement about your own service/product/brand? But what I see online on a regular basis is taking incompetence to a whole new level.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! The examples above are the kinds of things that positively turn off prospective clients, so remind me again: Why would I be interested in hiring you to market MY products and services online??

And, truthfully, for me it goes deeper than that: As someone who HAS put in the time and effort to hone the required skills and expertise, I resent the fact that this kind of sloppiness tends to taint those of us who work hard to remain current in our knowledge and achieve results for our clients.

Because there is no official “certification” or “degree” for “Social Media Specialist,” I suppose it’s a case of “Let the buyer beware.” But those who have made it their business (and often their passion) to learn everything they could before launching their businesses are fairly easily identifiable, if you know what to look for.

  • They have researched and stay up-to-date with the various social media platforms so they know which ones are likely to work best for your business (one size does NOT fit all).
  • They have particpated in beta testing or were “early adopters” of new sites and applications, so they can help YOU avoid the pitfalls and problems known to exist in each.
  • They will develop a personalized, targeted online marketing plan for each client, rather than just “jumping in” and “winging it.”
  • Their approach is one of online ENGAGEMENT, and not just “posting” to social media.
  • They have first-hand knowledge and experience developing effective online communications (yes, it differs from print!).

So, please don’t just dive in head first with a so-called social media maven, expert, guru, diva, or consultant, because the main thing to remember about the world wide web is that once it’s out there, it’s there potentially forever – whatever “IT” is. There is always the chance that copies of “deleted” pages and posts still exist somewhere in cyberspace as a cached page, on someone’s personal computer as a “screenshot,” or as an excerpt being circulated by someone who received or saw your material before it was deleted. Wade into these waters with someone who knows the tides so your reputation isn’t at risk of being washed out to sea.

Consolidating Multiple Personalities
Social (Media) Gaffes