The joke around here is that if you’ve ever wanted to be a “social media expert,” all you have to do is wait six months.
In that time, Facebook ad revenues hit $2.6 billion, Snapchat turned down a $3 billion bid for its takeover, Instagram and Pinterest tested ad platforms, and Twitter filed for its IPO. And that’s just the big news.
Following on the heels of those headlines are a list of “experts” who provide the color commentary on what it means. Count us among those who can’t document the changes fast enough to keep up.
But it raises the question – if things are changing this quickly, what truly defines an expert?
Oreo was the social media darling of 2013, with its war room style of activation that generated a lot of “buzz” (watch out for that word, too) around real-time events, chief among them being the “You can still dunk in the dark” Super Bowl tweet.
Ever since, experts have declared it the benchmark for “great social media” for those who don’t know better. Since then, big real-time activation teams have become the “hot” capability, because the perception is that brands on social have to be like Oreo. But who’s your audience? Better yet, who are you? Before a social media expert leads you down that path – or any other that doesn’t consider your goals – ask why.
Do we know what Oreo’s goal was? Not entirely – we just know that they got a lot of buzz. Do we know how they did it? Oreo had the budget for a team of 15 on the night of the 2013 Super Bowl, including strategists, writers, designers and more, all primed to react in real-time.
But if buzz isn’t your biggest priority and you can’t afford a real-time activation team, guess what? You’d be ill advised to chase dreams of being the next Oreo. In fact, you’d be ill advised to try being anyone but yourself.
The best brands find creative ways to use social to align with their core business objectives while sharing the experience with users. Which means that sky-high engagement metrics might look good, but so do purchase intent and sales. The true social expert knows that it’s an art form to accomplish both, serving customers and the business without neglecting one or the other.
So your “expert” must have two very important skills:
1. They must understand the multitude of platforms that exist, the audiences that use them, and the proper way to communicate accordingly.
2. They must be diligent marketers who can synthesize the buzz-driven ambitions of the modern “social expert” with the dollars and cents bottom line of their client.
Is that who’s leading the charge of your social initiatives? If not, tweet me @iamdavidberry! I’d love to chat with you about our Social RX, or chat with you about our points of view on any number of social media topics.