An expert [noun]: a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area. [adjective]: having or involving such knowledge or skill.
There seems to be a number of self-proclaimed social media experts. The result is strategic confusion. Sadly, people and organizations in need are falling victim to misinformation. Sometimes unintentionally, and sometimes not.
Market your skill set honestly. I by no means would consider myself an expert really in anything at this stage in my career – still far too much to learn, experiences to be had and mistakes to be made. I believe I have a responsibility, which is to appropriately, and honestly, communicate my abilities, skills and knowledge. I’d like to believe we all have such a code.
I’m not here to point fingers. In fact, the responsibility is twofold. As entrepreneurs, small business owners, or large organizations it our responsibility to select the best candidate or candidates for the job. Typically our goal is to address knowledge gaps and fill areas of need that are perhaps beyond our own scope of experience.
Arm yourself with information. Just like with any employee hire or consultant contract make sure you take the time to better understand your candidate options. Don’t fall victim to buzzwords. Just because someone may know how to talk in social media speak doesn’t mean they are necessarily an expert.
Know your organization’s needs. Do you really need a social media expert? Do your homework ahead of time. Maybe the need is deeper than that. As an organization have you clearly mapped your goals, objectives and/or strategy? If not, then social media isn’t where you need to start.
There are people who I would consider experts. Individuals who are respected, offer wisdom by way of experiences and have the results to back it all up. More often than not I find that they are incredibly modest. They are busy doing rather than boasting or bragging. Instead the communities around them are helping them to build a credible reputation infused with collective confidence.
Expertise takes time to cultivate. Be willing, open and patient to learn from others.