Call yourself a social media expert?

You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for  months.  To be honest I got tongue tied and overwhelmed.
I’ve been blogging for 8 years now and on this blog for 2 years.  In that time the world of SEO and social media has become a very crowded place. So what differentiates the experienced social marketeers compared to the new comers in the industry?
The barriers to entry are very low to the SEO and Social media industry.  Anyone can read a few books and then set themselves up as a social media expert.

It’s the new fad that everyone is jumping on the band wagon and flying the flag. Everyone from PR to web designers to content writers to IT consultancies.
So what differentiates the experienced vs the novices?
Having been in the digital industry for 15 years, it’s not just about reading a book, it’s fundamentally understanding about how people use the internet. That knowledge you can’t glean from a book or a blog posts, it’s something that you learn over time.
Focusing on the outcomes
Not only that, it’s about focusing on the outcomes – what are the actions you want to happen? More sales? more business leads? Managing reputation online? Engaging with the community around your business?
Anyone can teach people how to tweet or how to write blog post  but unless you know what your goal is, then how do you know what strategy you should implement. Just doing social media for the sake of it isn’t enough these days.  People talk about return on investment of return on engagement.
Understanding how all the different elements of email marketing, community engagement, SEO and social media all combine together to develop a powerful digital marketing mix is the key differentiator.
It’s about being transparent
I was at a launch event of an new investment company of one of the Dragon Den entrepreneurs in October. He had a slide of people that were involved in the business.  He mentioned his digital expert who I checked out on my iPad.
She didn’t have more than 10 connections on LinkedIn, no blog, and very little footprint online.  Would you trust your digital strategy with someone with such little credibility?
Trends for 2012
Enough of a rant…..but the one trend that I do see coming through this year is consolidation and ROI. Just doing social media for the sake of it and teaching people how to tweet isn’t going to make the grade. Focusing on the business change and delivering a truly great social media campaign is what is going to  divide the strong from the weak.
People want to see how using Twitter or blogging can grow their business and that’s what I’m passionate about. How using these new technologies can create a unique competitive advantage for businesses to enable them to grow.

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