Hiring A Social Media Expert

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Katie Allison Granju breaks down the title of a social media consultant.

In other words, if a social media consultant’s only interest in and experience with the field comes as a result of trying to earn a living off of telling other people how to do this thing, well, I would see that as a real weakness. Personal engagement in social media is the boot camp for a good social media “expert.” It’s where you learn the ins and outs and nuances of how online communities grow and contract and evolve over time. It’s how you learn to tactfully negotiate flamewars and deal with trolls. Your personal blog is your laboratory for playing around with what really works in building a readership and following.

I see a lot of social media marketers being “that guy” who barges into preexisting conversations without any sensitivity to the things that make that social media space unique and special. Online communities have personalities and inside jokes and dialects that are highly specific to them. A social media “expert” who has cut his or her teeth with meaningful personal experience knows this intuitively, and thus brings a really big advantage.

Online community is all about conversation and connection. Joining the conversation in a smart, appropriate way, and building those connections is really both an art and a science. It requires very good listening skills, and the ability to show respect to the people who are already in the room, so to speak.

I think her post is one of the best I’ve read about the anatomy of an online conversation. But she hits on something very important. If you are just tossing stuff out online on various platforms and not engaging in the conversation, then, and I can only speak for myself, you lose me.

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2 Comments

  1. Paul Chenoweth said April 3, 2009 | Permalink

    Katie is definitely ‘on point’. A good Social Media consultant understands the concept of ‘merging’ into traffic. The wannabe’s race down the side of the conversation-interstate and suddenly expect someone to ‘let them in’.

  2. Tish Grier said April 3, 2009 | Permalink

    One of the reasons I got into social media consulting is because of my years in online communities. I figured all those times when I screwed up, had fun, and got flamed, counted for something. Going into other online communities taught me a lot more than having my own blog. So, I’d advise people who want to do social media consulting to spend some time in a variety of online communities, and esp. in long-existing online communities. They will teach you a lot more than your own blog will.

2 Tweetbacks & Trackbacks

  1. jacklail (Jack Lail) on April 3, 2009

    New blog post: Hiring A Social Media Expert http://www.newstechzilla.com/2009/04/hiring-a-social-media-expert/ (via @newstechzilla)

  2. sound advice from an SM consultant: http://www.newstechzilla.com/2009/04/hiring-a-social-media-expert/

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