The bloom is off the rose. Being a social media expert has lost its charm. Why? Because there are too many experts. And many of them are advising from a light or cracking base of experience.
Good thing too. Because I am not a social media expert. I am not the guy to call the day a new platform launches. And I will not write the first post on how to use Google+, Pinterest or the next hot hangout.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I love using social media tools to learn, meet new people and share ideas. I’ve been using them aggressively as a way to communicate with readers of Tim’s Strategy, my career blog. since 2008. It’s been great. And I love teaching organizations how to effectively use social media to engage customers or donors.
This question came up last week as I was introduced to a nonprofit organization as a “social media expert”. And I had to correct them. Even though I’m sure the original introduction was more credible and comforting.
What then? What is the better description?
Really what I do is help people share and engage on social media platforms that are right for them and their objectives.
My qualifications are less about some fancy level of expertise and more about certain experiences I’ve had online. After a while, as you watch people succeed and fail on a platform like Twitter, you learn a bit about what really works.
And here’s what I’ve learned: it’s about using social platforms with an authentic purpose.
If people want to hop online in this mature networking environment and blast everyone with selfish content, they can. But growing any following in today’s online environment takes a few key characteristics:
Authenticity – To do this right, you are not involved in social media as a mask for more devious objectives. If you throw in a few smiley faces from time to time or actually talk with someone each week, that’s not enough. If you want to introduce people to a new product, do it. And tell us you’d like your feedback. There are many reasons why people won’t follow.
A willingness to engage – To succeed in social media you have to talk with people. It’s not about blanketing your followers and fans with content all day long. Sharing content is important and can be part of your role as a knowledge base. But you can go overboard. And many do. To their peril.
A purpose – If your purpose, however, is strictly social you may have a short run. Because while, social is important, it is not enough to maintain momentum. While we use social media to meet people, we also use it to learn from them and from the they re-tweet or share from along the way.
A personality – A company page on Facebook or a Twitter bio without personality is hard to follow. It feels corporate and without the potential for true human interaction. I’d like to follow Mike at @Nike a lot more than following @Nike. So you need to have a brand personality there somehow. One that reinforces the brand promise.
That’s what I think. You?
Thanks Affiliate for the photo via Flickr