Should You Hire a Social Media Expert, Guru or Clown?

Kangaroo Fight
Photo credit: Pascal Vuylsteker

Not sure if anyone else is keeping an eye on this internet all-star battle of words and blog posts but this is definitely an issue that a lot of people seem to have an opinion on.

Locally and globally, businesses are trying to figure out how to ‘cash in’ on social media. I know quite a few social media coaches and professionals. I also have to admit, some people I have met in my travels are a bit out of hand.

Over a year ago, LinkedIn told us about the rise in professional Social Media Ninjas. We all know about the rise in social media agencies, conferences, how-to books, articles and programming. Many of us are aware but others seem to have had enough…

Much ado about social media experts

This recent trail seems to have started when Gary Vaynerchuk, while promoting his book, The Thank You Economy, on TechCrunch said:

”99.5 percent of the people that walk around and say they are a social media expert or guru are clowns,”

That interview and one line made it to the end of the internet and back in record time. To see the full clip from the interview you can view it here.

The next big name to get in on the action was Peter Shankman, from HARO, who wrote a post called I Will Never Hire a “Social Media Expert,” and Neither Should You. Peter definitely lets his readers know exactly what he is thinking here. You should check it out and be sure to read through the comments (pro-tip: sometimes in these big famous bloggers blogs the best content is actually in the comments).

Phew… end of story, right? Social Media Experts are bad?

Not so fast… in comes Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz Everyone Should Hire ‘Social Media Experts’. Know why I like Rand? Data. This man has access to some really robust data thanks to his own tools but he uses it to back up his points and I totally appreciate that.

Oooh boy! So what say you? The big guys are coming out of their corners and stating their opinion… what about you – the independent consultants, the social media managers of businesses, the marketers, the small business owner – do you have an opinion? Are we headed for a dot com burst or will it all sort itself out?

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  • Bduffy

    Rand’s rebuttal is a good one, and frankly Vaynerchuck’s argument is full of hot air.

    Working towards integrating social communication and collaboration within the office workflow, especially in a regulated industry, is a complex problem which requires expert understanding of the tools and how they can be used.

    In my experience many that I preach SoMe to aren’t aware of how much it is around them when online or what its true value provides.