When Peter Shankman says he will never hire a social media expert, “and neither should you,” it attracts attention. Shankman is a well respected “marketing pundit,” with an impressive client list. He even markets himself as a social media entrepreneur. So why is he disenchanted with the idea of a social media expert? For starters he says, “Being an expert in Social Media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.” In other words, just because someone is good with Twitter and Facebook doesn’t mean that person can replace a salesperson.
And if you call your social media expert a “guru” or a “rockstar,” Shankman is still not impressed. Social media experts build fan pages but they don’t truly sell anything. For that you’ve got to go back to the drawing table with good old fashioned customer data analysis and take action from there. But in spite of Shankman’s impressiveness, others beg to differ. Social media has a track record showing fans and followers are not only customers, they are also marketers. Plus, social media rockstars may actually be doing other things while simply using the more trendy term to get attention. It’s a digital world after all, and we just do business in it. Besides, it’s important to know the inner workings of Facebook friending and Twitter following. Not everyone can do that. And really, if we’re living in a social media world, it would seem that we need experts to make sense of it all.
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