Social media is just one of many online communication strategies that is exploding with both opportunity and growth.
In its infancy, social media is still a mystery to most organizations in their understanding what it is and if, how and when it can help them communicate with their target audiences.
Enter the social media “expert.” Recently we came across two companies in the mid-Atlantic that, according to their Web sites, offer an impressive menu of social media services with each of them wrapped in a security blanket of their “expertise.”
So, with something as new and “mysterious” as social media, how can a company make an informed decision when selecting a firm to help them with their social media initiatives?
Checking references is the logical first step. Or is it? We think checking out the Web site may be the most telling way to verify the promised expertise.
For example, a quick tour of the Web sites of each of the two social media “expert” firms reveals that they rarely blog (way less then even once a month!) and when they have posted a blog, it’s been blatant self promotion rather than to share their social media knowledge.
One of the two firms does not even have a Twitter account. The other posts infrequent and inconsequential tweets, missing an opportunity to showcase its experience, knowledge and yes, expertise in a forum tailor-made for such ongoing education.
A blog, a Twitter account, LinkedIn and Facebook are typically the foundation of a social media strategy. Based on that, these firms are batting less than .500 in their own social media strategy.
We take the meaning of “expertise” seriously and believe others do as well. We suggest that companies who market themselves as experts in something should demonstrate it at every opportunity.
We also suggest that the best demonstration of an expertise in social media is to actually use it.
It’s the ‘walk the talk’ thing at work again.