Cisco Blogs

My Social Soap Box: What Makes You A Social Media Expert?

May 24, 2010 - 16 Comments

I did an interview with Social Media B2B recently to share best practices on how our Social Media Communications team successfully built the CiscoSystems Facebook fan page and received a comment by an anonymous person questioning my credibility as a social media practitioner. How can I be an expert if I’m not “publishing on Cisco’s blogs, or writing content, or being the engaging personality that customers and partners will want to get to know and then meet at trade-shows and events.” Which then got me wondering about what defines a social media expert.  Coincidentally, the same week the article was published, I attended the Cisco-sponsored MashMeet hosted by Mashable.  It was no doubt a great party and networking event where I met a lot of active social media practitioners and entrepreneurs. I also managed to squeeze through the crowd for a 15-minute conversation with Mashable CEO, Pete Cashmore and a couple of photo opps with him to boot.

(cc) Kenneth Yeung –

But if all it takes to be a social media expert at a company is your own blog, a sizable Twitter following, and being a recognizable face at social networking events, then we’re in trouble. You may be an expert at creating your personal brand but at some point, if that doesn’t translate into success and impact  that is measurable for the company or client you work for, you might be “socializing” yourself out of a job.  I’ve even heard stories from hiring managers of large and small companies who were eager to hire the seemingly bright social media talents whose credibility were instantly justified by their online social presence and “network” but were also quickly put to the test when tasked with equating their social skills to corporate ROI. I asked leading social media and PR expert, Brian Solis to weigh in and this is what he had to say:  “Social media experts are inspired by possibilities but proven through experience and the ongoing quest to transform theory into practice. The more seasoned experts will also have figured out how to establish business metrics and in turn, design campaigns that map to objectives.”

And we, collectively as a Social Media Communications team at Cisco are doing just that. I will be posting more frequently on the Cisco Platform Blog – sharing experiences, insights and best practices from our team and across Cisco on how social media is used to engage with our customers, fans, employees, press and other influencers. Hoping to share more B2B social media case studies since most are more consumer-focused. If you’re interested in keeping track of our progress and engaging with us, follow us on Twitter via @CiscoSystems and on our Cisco Systems Facebook fan page.                    


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  1. Social marketing is taking over, as well as leaving quite a few people in the dust. I don’t know if I agree that you have to be a well known name to be a ‘expert’. Just knowing how things work and how to do the right job gets you quite far, and in my mind makes you a expert. Now if you want to be considered a social marketing guru , then that is a different story completely!

  2. The term social media expert”” makes me cringe. Sadly, anyone with a bunch of Twitter followers thinks it’s okay to call themselves a “”social media expert.”” If you have to tell others your are the expert, chances are, you are not. Being effective and demonstrating results on social channels takes marketing skills, sales skills, communication skills, discipline, and some type of industry expertise so you know what you’re being social about. Great post and discussion going here. That’s just my 2 cents!”

  3. These are some great points made, Autumn! Simply being a part of big social networks like twitter, facebook and youtube is absolutely useless unless you’re able to use it for the good of the company and has relevance to the clients. Windsor Real Estate

  4. This is very interesting for me, I will follow you do the same things… thanks

  5. great post on social media, totaly agree with your points, also im a member of both facebook an twitter it realy brings people together

  6. Can’t wait to see the B2B case studies. I think businesses are unsure of how to navigate these uncharted waters.Thanks for doing the research.

  7. You have more employees then you do Facebook Fans. I don’t see how that equates to success.

  8. An interesting view on social media, I look forward to your future articles and will also follow you on twitter.

  9. Very good post! it helped me alot as am also willing to do same!

  10. Pete is a great-looking guy! I follow him on Mashable, one of my fav sites. I agree, the trouble has always been the metrics”” and showing ROI within the Social arena. I will be very interested to see more of the case studies and what they may reveal.”

  11. Its a Wonderful post. Thanks for putting your thoughts so precisely.

  12. Thanks dude for sharing such a nice experience. Social networking sites like twitter, facebook are doing a great work in bringing all the people together.

  13. You make some very valid points about what defines an expert””.I think a lot of businesses have a FB page or a Twitter just for the sake of it and to follow the trend without any real idea of it’s potential or why they’re even doing it. They might see it as the latest “”buy your own .com”” craze.”

  14. Never thought Pete would be so young yet so famous!On the topic, yes – I love social media, but it needs lots of time and one must be very sociable with diverse interest to make an impact in the field.A real challenge.

  15. I think successful social media is a lot harder than most people think.

  16. Very interesting Autumn. I completely agree with your assessment. It is not enough to just have a twitter or facebook fan page. If you cannot then translate what it means to the companies bottom line, then the natural question is why are we doing it? We face that same battle with Inclusion and Diversity, and how does it grow the companies bottom line. Putting metrics behind it has been challenging, but every agrees that we must continue to do the. I am very interested in seeing how you come up with these metrics and if there are any lessons we can apply to the great work Cisco is doing around I&D.