What makes someone an expert? Can it be a self-declared description or should it be a deserved description, bestowed by others? We all know that people who claim to be cool, immediately vaporise their ‘coolness’. Should this theory apply to self-proclaimed PR social media experts as well?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of so called ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ on social media, entire agencies dedicated to it and people with fancy job titles. But what distinguishes them from the other millions people who work in the PR industry? If I blog, am on LinkedIn, use Facebook, tweet a lot, YouTube publish, know how to use Twitalyzer, Google analytics and a few other measurement sites, does that make me an expert? If so, shouldn’t most of us in the industry be experts?

I’ve come to the conclusion that to be a social media ‘expert’ is not just about everything you know… but about how you apply that knowledge to advise clients and brands on how to engage and converse with their audience online, as well as how you can formulate strategies and campaigns that really deliver business results.

At the end though, I think that no matter what title you get in relation to social media, it all comes down to judgement. If you deliver poor judgment in determining whether a communication challenge should be addressed through traditional or online/social media channels, whatever title you have doesn’t really hold up, whoever you are.

Surely, the best way to learn is by starting to do it for your own company. At Firefly, we asked ourselves some questions by Daryl Wilcox (who also drafted a whitepaper three years ago on the subject that we found very useful!), which triggered some discussions and laughs in the office. How well do you stand up to these?

Is it time to shape your reputation?

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