The business world has its share of experts and/or consultants. You can find a wide array of professionals in practically every business topic imaginable.

The Social Media world also has a fair share of “experts” and it can be difficult at times to figure out how the title was earned (self-proclaimed or not). Recently, Steve at Social Media Soap Box decided to investigate whether or not the term “expert” can be attributed correctly. He makes some great points on why some of us still “shirk” at the idea of a social media expert. One of the four determining factors from Steve’s Post:

I think it’s safe to say that there are few things that evolve as quickly, as dramatically, and within such short time frames, as social media.  It’s hard just to keep up and understand the implications of these changes, much less build a foundation of knowledge and experience that one would traditionally need in order to be considered an expert.

Louis Gray and Chris Brogan have also weighed in on the topic of what it takes to be a  social media expert.

In his post, Social Media Experts are the New Webmasters, Louis states that the individual’s “efforts to rebrand as social media experts will be short-lived and futile.” Louis encourages the self-proclaimed social media experts of the world to stick with their traditional expertise (marketing, communications, PR) and add social media into the mix as a foundation builder.

In the post What I Want a Social Media Expert to Know, Chris Brogan calls upon the self-proclaimed SM experts to focus on the strategic and tactical aspects of social media. A social media expert should be familiar with everything from “how your role ties to marketing, PR, advertising, R&D, finance, HR, sales” to having at least “five stats worth knowing for any blog/website.”

I have been debating on the concept of a social media expert because, frankly, I have wanted to give myself the title. What I have come to realize… there is one factor you need in order to be properly titled a social media expert.

1. The True ROI Expert

If you are touting yourself as a social media expert you are either:

  • A. Selling your expertise in a B2B relationship
  • B. Selling your expertise in a B2C relationship

Whether you are categorized in the A or B category it is extremely important that you can show potential clients a return on investment in social media. How do you do this? Gain success with current clients. The concept is simple but the process can be hard.

Have you helped a company or individual gain success in the social media world? Have you been able to map an increase of sales based on a communications strategy in social media? Have you seen increased visibility and traffic to a clients website?

You can have a wealth of knowledge in platforms and applications but if you cannot create success for your clients…. your title is a mute point.

Create success for a current client or even in your own business. Use it as the foundation to support your social media “expert” title.

If you can use social media to create success… you deserve the title of social media expert.

Thank you to Michael Fruchter for turning me onto the Social Media Soap Box.