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April 16, 2009

Copy Cats and Wannabes of Web 2.0? The Social Media Expert

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It’s mind boggling. MarketingSherpa’s chart of the week indicates that two-thirds of marketers with no social media experience consider themselves somewhat knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about social media strategy.

How Knowledgeable Are Marketers With No Social Media Experience?

Social media is today’s big thing, finding its way onto every other blog, being used by everyone and their dog. I find myself reading about social media constantly. So, forgive me for adding to the cacophony, but this new study makes me wonder…

If I had no firsthand experience in social media marketing, it’s possible that I might still answer yes to the question, provided a couple assumptions. First, I’d have to assume that knowledge does not require experience. And, of course, that’s true. I can have knowledge of an historical phenomenon, the Rain of Fishes, for instance, but that doesn’t mean I’ve experienced it. With me on this?

copy cat

Second, we can’t see the exact question our surveyed group was asked. As far as I can tell, the question could have been, “How familiar are you with social media?” in which case, being a regular user of Facebook and Twitter qualifies me to answer that I’m a somewhat knowledgeable social media user. If, on the other hand, the question was, “What is your expertise level of social media marketing strategy?” then that’s another can of worms. I’m willing to give the surveyed group the benefit of the doubt, but that would be really boring for the purpose of this analysis, so let’s not.

Assuming that our group of misguided marketers really thinks that because they’re on Facebook they’re a bona fide social media strategist, MarketingProf’s conclusion would follow:

Clearly, there is a disconnect between personal exposure and professional ability that is unique to social media. And this disconnect is one of the most critical dangers to the successful adoption of social media as a marketing strategy.

If unqualified members of the marketing industry indeed are going around claiming the title of social media expert, well, we’re in trouble. The social media guru is the next snake oil salesman and the truly experienced have to defend their services from such threats. But if the recession has brought one good thing, it’s the fact that the true experts will stand high above imposters as intense scrutiny is projected on results and the bottom line.

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5 responses to “Copy Cats and Wannabes of Web 2.0? The Social Media Expert”

  1. Theo Sapoutzis writes:

    I find it more surprisingly the survey didn’t show the vast majority of those stating to be “very knowledgeable”.

  2. Lee writes:

    Hi Virginia,
    I think Theo may be right. I was just reading about the Lake Wobegon effect – most people (approx 80%) think they are above average.
    Your point is well-taken, the question was not well phrased. Just being on Facebook or Twitter does not mean you have the ability to leverage it for a client’s advantage.
    I’m not adding much to the discussion but I just had to mention that I love the photo. Cutest copy cat ever.

  3. Virginia Nussey writes:

    Theo, are you saying you’re not surprised by the findings? And Lee, this lack of hubris is common? It’s all conjecture and opinion, of course. But at least there’s one fact to be found in this story. The kitty is adorable!

  4. Web Site Tasarımı writes:

    Thanks for the informative and article Virginia.
    Tendency of people to change their habits so I connect to do. People are changing their habits.
    Best regards.

  5. Lee writes:

    According to Wikipedia it’s a real phenomena. Or mostly real – depends how picky you are about your statistics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wobegon_effect



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