The following LinkedIN conversation is real, albeit edited, and the name has been changed to protect the ridiculous.
Kid’s email: I thought you might be interested in attending my free Social Media seminar next week. [Location, time, etc.]
JZ response: Thank you for the invitation. What will you be teaching?
Kid’s email: I am giving EXPERT [emphasis mine] advice on how to use social media tools to build your business. It is for beginners mostly.
JZ response: [Thinking: dude did you even read my profile before sending this?] Actually, I already write a blog about my adventures in PR, I have a twitter account that I use daily and I have been on FB for a while, so I will pass. Out of curiosity [because I looked at his LinkedIN profile and he works in banking!] what is your experience in social media?
Kid’s email: We built a website for my dad and he got a lot of new visitors to his site, so I am going to teach other business owners how to use social media to increase their sales.
JZ response: [After banging my head against the desk and moaning] I wish you all the best in your new venture. May I ask, who is the “we” that you mentioned?
Kid’s response: A couple of my friends are doing this with me.
JZ response: Really, do they work in marketing? [Meaning, please dear heaven above, let the friends be marketing majors because nothing on your professional LinkedIN profile shows that you have any relevant experience at all.]
Kid’s response: No, we just like to go online a lot so we want to make a business out of what we love to do.
JZ response: [Because who am I to knock down someone else’s dream, right?] That sounds very nice. Best of luck to you all.
On Monday morning in my LinkedIN feed his newly updated profile pops up introducing him as a SOCIAL MEDIA GURU AND ONLINE MARKETING EXPERT!
I almost fell out of my chair! I was distraught. Shocked! I thought, perhaps he didn’t understand what the words EXPERT and GURU mean? But it seems, upon further review of his profile, that he is, in fact, intent on presenting himself as THE source for social media expertise in Idaho.
That must have been one hell of a free beginning social media seminar!
I know, I am so mean, but seriously? What have we if not our professional code of honor? Ok, if that is too much to ask, how about at least a reality check, then?
I have worked in PR for 15 years, with a couple of years of pure marketing in the mix. I interned at a PR firm and was hired after my internship was successfully completed. I worked as an account coordinator with daily interaction under the leadership of experienced PR pros for over two years. I moved to in-house PR & Marketing at a then famous start-up, later taking a promotion with a well-known tech PR firm in Silicon Valley. I did freelance work (for which I was paid by real clients) for 9 years before even getting a real logo. [Coming soon!]
How did he become an EXPERT over the weekend, when it’s taken me this long to get to plain, old, boring “really good at what I do?” Clearly, I have set my goals too low. I will now begin to refer to myself as a PR Goddess!
There are so many people in social media that I respect, but these fly by night’s are going to ruin it for all of us.
I know I have said this before, but it takes more than a Twitter account to manage a brand or implement a strategic communications plan. After 15 years, I know that much, but don’t worry, I still promise not call myself an expert! I probably never will, because the day I am convinced that I know it all, is the day I become useless to my clients. Real experts, or at least the people that I think areleaders in communication today, are the ones who would never, ever refer to them selves as such because they are the first to admit they are still asking the important questions.
But, I am way better off than the self-proclaimed GURUS I keep meeting; they are already useless to their poor, unsuspecting clients. ~ Jules
3 Signs You May Be an Expert in your field:
- Your primary source of income is related to work that you do in within your area of expertise. If you bus tables or have a totally unrelated day job, you may be an Expert-In-Training.
- Other people (not related to you or charged with promoting you), who have some degree of knowledge within your area of expertise, refer to you as an expert.
- You do not have to announce that you are an expert because everyone already knows that you are.