Want To Become A Social Media Expert? PRactice What You PReach

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These days when it comes to social media, anyone that is engaged in channels like Facebook and Twitter and reads articles on the latest viral campaigns is considered a ‘social media expert’. While doing these things certainly helps your understanding of what’s happening online, it takes a lot more hard work to really earn that designation.

So when you’re trying to build true credibility for current clients and prospects and prove to them that you’re the right person and part of the right team to be counseling them on their efforts, I wanted to provide a few ideas as to how you can make that happen. After all, you can’t just become an expert by reading about how to use these different networks, you need to experience them for yourself.

1) Research Social Media Courses and Attend Workshops – While going to conferences are great, learning about things such as HTML, Facebook advertising, and how to use WordPress firsthand can serve critical to your understanding of these platforms.

2) Engage, Engage, Engage – Too busy to take part in LinkedIn discussions and participate in tweetchats? It’s simple, make time. If you’re telling clients they should be doing these things than shouldn’t you be doing them as well? Your direct experience in these areas allows you to counsel clients better than the person who doesn’t do these things.

3) Take Your Creative Ideas And Test Them Out Internally – Think your client should run an online contest? Why not try one at your agency first to see how it works? A few weeks ago I worked with several others on an agency-wide survey in which we offered incentives for participating. Guess what? It worked! From that experience we also received tremendous insight into how quickly people respond, what they like in a contest vs. what they don’t, and other helpful information that we can use the next time we need to advise a client on how to do something like this for their customers.

4) Start An Online Community – I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve written a blog post at midnight or posted a note on the LinkedIn Group I started for PR Pros from the Big East Conference. It’s no fun and takes a ton of work. That being said, since I started doing these things I’ve been involved in some great new business pitches, client brainstorms, and have become very humbled by some of the attention I’ve been getting from influencers and trade publications. I never would have had these opportunities had I not become fully engaged in a variety of social media channels in order to increase my knowledge level.

There are certainly a lot of smart people out there who can offer client counsel on social media initiatives, but being able to offer advice to your clients based on your own personal experiences might help separate you from the rest of the ‘experts’ out there and could be the difference between winning a client assignment and losing one.

Related Articles:

HOW TO: Pick the Right Social Media Engagement Style (Mashable)

5 Reasons Why Your Interns Are Better At Social Media Than You Are (The Business Insider)

How to Hire a Social Media Specialist (Inc.)


6 comments on “Want To Become A Social Media Expert? PRactice What You PReach

  1. Really liked this post Andrew. Great recommendation about intra-agency (or intra-company) as a testing and training ground for social initiatives. The one thing I’d add is the need for social media strategists to have a deep understanding of how social media drives business objectives. Garnering 100,000 Facebook “Likes” is great, but the real challenge is understanding how to steer those fans toward specific calls-to-action (driving purchase intent, visiting a store, etc.). I believe this is how we’ll truly show our clients (or our company execs) how valuable social media engagement can become. And then we’ll be able to sit back and watch all those “media” dollars start coming our way!

    • Thanks, Tyler! You’re totally right about understanding business objectives. Personally, I’ve been working a lot more on SM ideas that can also be revenue drivers for clients. Hoping to learn some more from mentors like yourself and take a few courses on this topic as well.

      Appreciate the comments! Hope the new gig is treating you well

      • Awesome. I love that you’re thinking about SM engagement as a revenue driver for clients. That’s quite a departure from the traditional PR approach, isn’t it!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Want To Become A Social Media Expert? PRactice What You PReach « PR at Sunrise -- Topsy.com

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