Businesses Don’t Care About the Social Media Expert Debate

After reading a few of the different posts about social media experts, including ours, our partner and founder, Mike Seidle (@IndyMike), wrote this response:

First, I am not a social media expert. I do sit on the board for a company that has several people that I would classify as experts on the payroll. Anyone who is saying “there are no social media experts” falls into one of two groups:

  • People who can’t accept that others may have more experience/deeper understanding than they do. This argument boils down to “since I don’t understand it, or can’t keep up, you can’t.”
  • People who do not have the resume to actually be an expert that are trying to get a job or gig that is for an expert. These people will claim that no experts can exist because of massive recent change that obsoletes past experience.

In the end, anyone who claims that social media experts are like the tooth fairy, Santa Claus or the Easter bunny ends up looking pretty silly:

Executive: So, you are here for the social media director position. I see here you’ve been using social media for two years. What makes you an expert?

Social Media Not Expert: There are not experts in social media. We are all explorers at sail on an undefined sea filled with incredible wonders and indescribable dangers. You see, no one can possibly be an expert on social media since it changes so fast. What I learned last year has no application to the future, and the tools we use and strategies we build often are rendered obsolete in the blink of an eye.

Executive: So, if it’s not possible to be an expert, then why are companies shelling out bucks on social media people?

Social Media Not Expert: Well, social media can get incredible results. Most social media campaigns fail because they are not well planned and are mismanged. On top of that it’s impossible to measre the ROI on social media… so do not count on predictable ROI or even expect a return you can measure. But social media will greatly enhance your brand. That’s why most companies are doing social media.

Executive: So, most social media campaigns fail for lack of management or knowege. I can’t expect any ROI, and you are not an expert. Right?

Social Media Not Expert: Well, when you put it that way… it doesn’t sound right. I would say that I’m not an expert, but I have experience and can guide your company around making mistakes that will make your social media campign fail. While we can’t …

Executive (Redfaced, Cuts off Social Media Not Expert): The door. Use it. Use it now.

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    About Erik Deckers

    Erik Deckers is the President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing and social media marketing agency He co-authored four social media books, including No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (3rd ed., 2017, Que Biz-Tech), and The Owned Media Doctrine (2013, Archway Publishing). Erik has written a weekly newspaper humor column for 10 papers around Indiana since 1995. He was also the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL.


    1. I don’t refer to myself as an expert, but I do see the need to be a reliable source for helpful information to others. So while I may not refer to myself as an Social Media expert, it doesn’t mean the next person shouldn’t.

      It really comes down to semantics. No one can be the 100% definitive expert on anything. There is always someone else out there who knows just a little more, or a different way at looking at a situation, or has a creative idea of how to leverage a service. Don’t let that hold you back though. Leverage the knowledge you have and make the best of it. If you aren’t comfortable being called an expert, then find another way to express your knowledge. If you want to be called an expert, then make sure you know what you’re talking about before you open your mouth. It’s just that easy.

    2. I have wrestled with this for awhile. for a long time, I was hesitant to refer to myself as an expert. Then I realized, I had a lot more background, experience, and success then many of the so-called “experts”. so for me the compromise is to refer to myself as a marketing expert who uses social media as one of my tools. ( I have the degree, and street credibility to pull that off)

      This allows me to stay in a place I am comfortable, talking about marketing, messages and media, with Social media being one of many.

    3. Recently, there have been many voices debating the use of expert in social media.

      1. As @kmullett said, “Grow up, and get over it.” (I’m pretty sure those were the exact words)
      2. Seriously, as Mike has pointed out, how do you explain what a social media…person does, when explaining to the people who pay you, who don’t know what it is? I think you should set them straight and… you just tell ’em there are no experts! That’s why I recommend the title, social media stratesultant.


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