May 27, 2009

Sarah Dopp re social media expertise

As I’ve previously noted, the concept of “social media expert” is problematic at best. Still, people are constantly trying to figure it out, because … well, because they want to get paid for their “social media expertise.”  Sarah Dopp offers an interesting take on social media expertise, which I shall herewith quote at length.  My comments are in italics.

1) Since having a social media presence is about reputation and relationships, it needs to be personal to the individual.  … The approach needs to be custom-tailored to fit the client’s personality and worldview, and the client needs to have a lot of say in the development of this fit.  … Agreed.

2) Having an effective social media presence is different from traditional marketing, and it’s also different from the ways we’ve been using the internet in the past.  True but overstated.  There are three golden rules of social media marketing:

  • Make your messages robust.
  • Train and trust many of your employees to deliver the message, implicitly and explicitly.
  • Trust your employees to show their own personalities without hopelessly undermining the “personality” of your enterprise.

The first two have actually been good management practice for decades, and the third one frequently worked as well.

3) Developing a social media presence has to be done gradually.  A client has to pay attention to what’s working and what’s not, listen to feedback from the community, and constantly refine their approach with little changes. Agreed.

4) The social media consulting model is in contrast to the web development consulting model, where you just build something and walk away until it needs to be updated.  It’s also in contrast to the idea that social media consultants exist to give expert advice — if clients think of them that way, they’ll only go to them with the big questions, and try to answer the little questions on their own.  But social media success is in the details, and it’s the little questions that will make or break an online presence. Agreed. I have clients who ask me to review a large fraction of their individual blog posts. I think that’s a great use of my time … but then, I think the same thing about press releases.


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