Will the real social media expert please stand up?!

Just about everyone I meet these days claims to be a social media expert but 2minutes into the conversation, one realizes that apart  from the general gushing  over Twitter and blogs, there isn’t much else. So, I cheered when I saw this great blog post on 25signs of a strong SM consultant (which incidentally also  inspired my first blog post of 2009).

My favorite one on the list is,

 “#25 Understands that social media isn’t the sole terrain of marketing or PR and helps clients educate internally to other departments.” 

Although, it’s easy to think of social media as just Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, there’s much more to social media than just a handful of tools and websites.

The social media revolution is a  fundamental shift in the way customers are using and sharing information across the web. Marketing/PR are  no longer one-way channels, the consumers now have the power to take information your company puts out there and do with it as they please. They can blog it, digg it, stumble it, twitter it, etc. across their social networks and the scary part is that you might not even know about it until it”s too late. 

For me, one of the most exciting parts of this new ‘social’ revolution is how it has not only democratized external communications but it’s on the verge  of breaking down silos within organizations. It’s no longer just the marketing Joe or Jane who’s responsible for the messaging, it could very well be Jack, the product line manager who’s messaging the customer directly.

I can’t imagine a better use for social media than to open up real communication between a company and it’s customers – without restricting it to one department or group of people – now that’s real enterprise social media/web 2.0.


6 responses to “Will the real social media expert please stand up?!

  1. I have a favourite tweet as follows.

    Sometimes the fastest way to screw up a company’s social media strategy is by letting the marketing department run it.

    Good points, and there is often resistance to tools that break down silos, because often, there are people whose powerbase is centred on controlling those silos, although their days are numbered because, as you say, the genie of social media is out of the bottle.

    There is some good material on this topic in the book ‘Age of Conversation 2’ – http://ageofconversation.com (Disclosure – I’m one of the authors – but there are 236 others).

  2. The next time I call myself a social media expert is the first time. I do believe these tools will become part of internal and external communications and will be blended into many facets of corporate life, just like e-mail, phone, etc.

    • True that. Some day, social media will no longer be the new bright shiny and will be as common as email but as it evolves, it will continue to be a challenge to separate the experts from the poseurs.

  3. Yes – but you need trailblazers to demonstrate the viability, invest the time and prove the efficacy of different social media tools in order for others to “jump in”.

    While we are seeing a shift from centralized to decentralized, there remain organizational branding, quality, and information issues that sometimes prove to be more of a hurdle than just getting people to participate in community online. The real challenge is to move from “process” to “people”.

    • Hi Laura,
      Great points! I agree, we need trailblazers but we also need some neutral voices that advocate tools/services that are best for the customer rather than what they’re most familiar with.

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