My Definition of “Social Media Expert” is Different from Social Media Experts…

Filed in Social Media by Matt McGee on March 26, 2013 5 Comments

… and that’s okay, I guess.

I say this because I see social media experts:

1.) Publishing valuable, original content on someone else’s domain.

I just don’t get this at all. Why would anyone, much less a social media expert, publish their own content in such a way that it creates value for some other domain? If you’re using Quora blogs or Google+ or LinkedIn to publish evergreen content that attracts links and generates long-term value, you’re not getting as much value as the site hosting the content.

As I wrote in my article, Where & How to Start a Business Blog, great content should be published on your own domain so that it can serve you for years to come, and because it won’t disappear if and when the site shuts down or changes direction. And if you don’t think that’ll ever happen to your favorite site (that you don’t own), ask yourself how all those people and businesses that built their empire on 6-7 years ago are feeling right now.

2.) Tweeting their Foursquare check-ins, TV viewings and other … stuff. (Or posting Facebook check-ins as status updates.)

I imagine an argument would be made that this kind of thing helps fans/followers learn more about you via the places you visit, programs that you watch, etc. And maybe it opens the door for a deeper connection with some people — i.e., “I love that show/restaurant, too!” Okay, maybe so.

But I just can’t imagine anyone caring about where I’ve checked-in, what badge I just won or what TV show I’m watching. So I’d never want to post this kind of content into my Facebook or Twitter streams. It just seems like clutter to me. And maybe a bit narcissistic.

3.) Retweeting when someone says something nice about them.

When someone compliments me, I hope my normal response is to offer a sincere “thanks.” That’s how I try to respond when someone tweets about how they liked one of my articles or something I said/did. When someone compliments me, I don’t grab a megaphone and say “Hey, everyone, did you hear that? Here’s what John/Jane just said about me. Aren’t I great?”

Don’t get me wrong: I know that self-promotion is part of doing business and pitching yourself to potential customers. As I said in the comments of this conversation with Andy Beal, I expect to see self-promotion and customer testimonials on a company website. But I don’t expect to see so much of it in a Twitter or Facebook stream.

A year ago, almost everyone agreed with me when I asked about the practice of retweeting when someone mentions you in a Follow Friday list. I think this is pretty much the same thing.

Bottom Line

I don’t believe — and don’t mean to suggest — that there’s only one way to use social media (i.e., mine). We all have to come up with guidelines and principles that fit our own voice, our own goals, our own idea of what works and what doesn’t.

At the same time, maybe it’s good to keep in mind that some of the things that the “social media experts” are doing and suggesting aren’t universally considered smart things.

(Stock image via Used under license.)

Comments (5)

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  1. This is just incredibly refreshing, Matt. Sometimes I find myself thinking that we all just need to grow up. My dad is 90 years old and he uses the internet. He thinks social media is complete nonsense. Why would anyone willingly give up their privacy? What good can come of it? OK, I know there are a few good replies to those questions, but he’s got a point regarding narcissistic, juvenile behavior for all the world to see.

  2. Jacob Puhl says:

    Matt – agree!

    This is just one of those things in the industry that can erk you after awhile. One of my pet peeves is reguritating large scale, highly publicized social media anecdotes and applying them to small business owners. I’ve been to seminars with a room full of 60 small business owners and the presenter used Dell’s twitter success to prove why Johnny Auto Mechanic should be on Twitter. Not sure that’s apples to apples 🙂 and the business owners go home completely mislead.

  3. Mike Bayes says:

    Great thoughts. I guess you are a thought leader now. (my favorite Social Media Term)

    I am amazed how many Social Media people, don’t understand the basics of rankings and the value of building your individual brand. Using S.M. to attract people and companies to your site makes a lot of sense, using social media as the hub is insane. If for no other reason, the simple fact is you have no control over the S.M. page. If they decide to make a change in what ever policy, all your work is diminished.

  4. Kristinn says:

    If you are selling stuff search is where it is at, no question about that. Social to me is client support and increasing the perception of being a good thing. Also, if all your work is going to go down the drain because of a bad business decision, I’d want it to me mine, not Zuckenburg’s or whomever.

  5. Chris says:

    Great points, so true. SM is like an addiction with some…they just can’t fathom NOT telling (and showing) their ‘friends’ what lunch looks like. And yeah the cross platform posting of useless content only dilutes effectiveness of beneficial content….like the boy who cried wolf!

    The retweeting of the wholeheartedly selfish is a big pet peeve…but I’ve probably been guilty of it too.

    The expert thing was probably borne out of industries and small businesses not being comfortable using the platforms (at first), or understanding the technology, or figuring a way to transmit their message – so social media experts (unemployed people under 30) filled that void.

    Without getting into the fundamentals of marketing, advertising, & sales…

    Used to be the term expert was bestowed upon someone of considerably above average capability, demonstrating skills honed over years of experience (what’s that 10K hours stat again?) with the results to back it all up…the key point being bestowed upon someone…by someone else…

    Somehow it seems we’ve (generally speaking, humans) quantum leaped into the idea that if we say it…on the internet, it’s true. And we’re drinking our own Kool Aid way too much.

    Usually the person touting themselves the loudest is either one of the least qualified one in the room or a total jackass. If that sentiment holds true in sports and war, is it the same in business?

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