expert social media

Social media experts do not exist: Notes from the Social Media World Forum

November 29, 2012

“Social media experts do not exist!”Chris Thorne, EA Games

Social media is still actively evolving, so it’s impossible for anyone to position themselves as a guru or expert on the subject! Despite the larger-than-life titles, no one in the industry possesses a magic crystal ball. The first day of the Social Media World Forum (#SMWF) drove that point home. Platforms advance, buzzwords change, but the basic principles remain the same. Here are three notable reminders:

1) Relationships are the foundation of your social media presence

We often talk about social advertising, acquisition and the pride associated with having a Facebook page liked by millions of fans. However, the most important goal is creating a relationship with clients and maintaining that relationship over time. We need to look at levels of engagement and not just numbers.

2) Calculating your social ROI is a waste of time

Like the search for the Holy Grail, calculating return on investment is practically impossible in the social context. As content marketing specialist Ted Rubin noted, we’d be better served looking at “return on trust and return on loyalty”. Measuring ROI in the traditional sense doesn’t make sense anymore. We have to treat social media as an integral part of the brand ecosystem and not try to calculate its ROI as a distinct channel. In evaluating social media like we would traditional advertising, we lose the key “social” aspect!

3) The user is at the heart of advancements in social advertising

According to James Burnette, Head of Sales at LinkedIn, and Rob Wilk, Vice President of Sales at foursquare, user experience and user needs must be the starting point of everything we do.

What’s more, the best social media platforms happily use information provided by users (whether consciously or otherwise) to help advertisers better target their clients. These platforms can then provide increasingly more pertinent content that is adapted to our habits and to a specific context. The impact is twofold: stimulate engagement within the community and naturally increase the influence of what’s being shared.

What’s the take-away from these two days? Brands must make the effort at every opportunity to publish relevant content that is adapted to different social media platforms. To do so, they must put users first, relegating purely promotional agendas to second place. Success must also be measured in a more recursive manner. That is, by evaluating success at regular intervals, content can be refined to improve the performance of each channel!