Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to Spot a Social Media Marketing Specialist

Certified, Social Media Marketing Specialist, Facebook, Newton's Law, Twitter, I was reading a guy's CV recently and saw the descriptor, "Certified Social Media Specialist", and I know this guy and respect his energy, but I thought that was one of the most silly-assed things I've ever seen as a qualification. What do they teach you in social media certification school? How to use Facebook & Twitter? Shit, if you're any good at all you'll just get 15,000 friends on FB or a few million YouTube hits for a video of your cat. That's certifiable - but it doesn't make you a specialist. Probably it makes you lucky, or hard working and that's about it. But certified? Just remember, you can be a certified nutcase about as easily as being a certified social media specialist - and if you've got a spare $975, I can make you a certified Life Coach in just 16 hours with an easy and fun course!

Jeez. It's certifiably crazy. The next time someone tells you that they're a social media specialist, simply ask to see their blog - and if they don't have one, they don't know much about social media. Getting 15,000 friends on Facebook is no big trick. You simply have your staff 'friend' people for about a year and other people will generally 'friend' you back because they hate to say no - but that doesn't make you a specialist.

Anybody with a blog is already half way to specializing in something because they have not only defined a market but written to and built that market through a social connection that began online - not because they were trying to sell something, but more probably because they were offering something the market was interested in already and like most successful marketing, things work better online if you are filling a market need. Bloggers have an idea in the beginning, ship it, and then begin to field commentary about it almost immediately, make revisions and then wait for responses again. It's creation, market research and recreation almost all in the same motion after a while - and that begins to build an audience because there's an almost Newtonian action/reaction mechanism built in from the beginning. Facebook and Twitter have that as well, but what they don't tell you, is anything more than how many people follow you.

People with successful blogs learn not just about traffic, but about engagement and in the end, that's what social media marketing is all about - not about getting one time hits but about making as much out of the hits you get and continuously engaging that audience. Thank god I am not a certified social media marketing specialist, but I am a marketing specialist who just learned a few manners from mom on the way up and have found them useful in this new social media landscape: "Don't ever brag", she said, "Just let your accomplishments speak for themselves".

Ask your social media marketing specialist to show you what they've accomplished personally on the Internet, not what their company or educational credentials are - and if they can't show you anything like a successful blog or a famous YouTube cat video, it's probably time to say "Next!".

digital ninja from moon stuff on Vimeo.


  1. Hilarious! So I'm reprinting it above. Thanks Matt!

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