An increasing number of people are calling themselves “social media gurus”.
But how can so many people suddenly be social media experts?- isn’t it really just the rise of the pro-am.
It may be the case that marketeers consider themselves knowledgable about social media strategy and tactics, despite having no experience of actually carrying out such work. But it is people – with knowledge and experience in social media that create departments and firms that are strong at it.
The story I hear again and again from marketeers who are leading social media work is that it was delegated to them as they were the first staff person found with a profile on Facebook or LinkedIn. These marketeers may mature into genuine experts, but results (and their ability to make good judgement calls) at first will surely be limited.
You don’t need formal training to lead social media marketing campaigns but experience is important, however bright, determined and well-intentioned the marketeer.
However, the bloke who has been posting in forums for the last 30 years and knows everything there is to know about social media is not the answer, because marketing smarts is crucial as well to lead successful social media campaigns.
I’m sure if you surveyed all people claiming to be “social media gurus” many would admit to being stronger on the marketing sides or the social media knowledge side. But we are in times of flux in digital- we are living through the age of the pro-am, where the real pros in social media need to be carefully and patiently identified.
But another age will come when this is less important because marketeers who are increasingly investing in social media will upskill and turn themselves from interested amateurs into genuine social media practitioners and strategists, acquiring the knowledge and skills required to become well-rounded, professional marketers.
However, in the meantime, sussing out people with genuine social media experience under their belt as well as marketing know-how is important, in order to avoid campaigns resting in the perhaps overconfident but slightly shaky hands of the pro-am.