Category Archives: Uncategorized

Everything You Need To Know About Investing In Video Content

Content marketing is still the name of the game in 2018, but standing out with great content is not as easy as it used to be.
J.R. Atkins Video content

Image credit: MaxPixel

With millions of blog posts published every single day, businesses can no longer rely on their company blog to supply the inbound traffic and leads they need.

The solution? Investing in video content.

Many companies are pivoting away from text-based content marketing and taking steps to improve their video marketing game, and for good reason. According to a report by Cisco, in 2021 as much as 81% of global internet traffic may be video-based. Here is what you should know about the benefits (and downsides) of investing in video content, as well as the best ways to start using it in your business, web design, and sales funnel.

The benefits of investing in video content

There are plenty of positives to including video content in your strategy. Below we’ve detailed the many great reasons why your business should be investing in this type of content.

Increase your conversion rates

Websites that use video content boast an average conversion rate of 4.8%, which is pretty high compared to the 2.9% conversion rate of websites without video. Plus, when it’s used as a part of a wider content marketing strategy, you can generate more leads, which gives you a bigger number of potential customers to convert. The people who find you because of your visual content are already primed for conversions, which makes the job of your sales team much easier.

Boost brand awareness

Consumers would much rather learn about a product by watching a short clip than read a blog post or consume other forms of text-based content. Video content is eye-catching, snappy, and provides instant gratification for the user.

Marketers see a 54% increase in brand awareness when they start using video content as a part of their marketing strategy. So, if getting the word out about your business is your main focus right now, then you should definitely invest in this type of marketing.

Improve your SEO

Google loves visual content, too. Companies who use video content get an incredible 41% more visitors from organic search traffic than companies that don’t.

If you are operating a niche business, then SEO-aware video content is a great way to drive relevant traffic to your website and help you own all the relevant niche-specific keywords words. While blogging is another great way to do this — vlogging and video content will actually help you expedite the process.

Build video content into your website to help drive traffic: if you’re an online pet store, then you can include videos answering questions about your pet products, offer pet-care tips, share animal awareness videos, and even curate crazy pet stories. Or if you are running a local accountancy practice, you can create video content on the latest tax regulations, startup guides, or financial ‘how to’ explainers to position yourself as a friendly voice of reason. This works in a number of ways: it keeps visitors on your site for longer, which helps you to rank better on Google. Plus, adding keywords to video titles, descriptions and alt text also helps with on-page optimization.

Include a video transcript and break it down into mini blogs and soundbites.

If you can improve your SEO game enough, you may not even need to spend any more money on paid advertising in the long run. It’s a win-win.
Help users understand your product
Business who use explainer videos or how-to guides reported that this content helps their visitors understand the product much better.

Why is that so important?

If your prospect understands exactly what your product does and who it is for, you will have an easier time guiding them to the “Buy” button on your website.

Moreover, if your product is not the right choice for them, they will be less likely to waste the time of your sales team with a call that ends up going nowhere.

In fact, 81% of responders reported seeing an increase in sales after incorporating explainer video content, and 53% said their support calls were reduced. The better your customers’ understanding, the more efficient your sales team will be at getting them to buy it.

Improve your operations

Not all video content has to be customer-facing. If you want to increase efficiency, you can also use it to support internal operations, such as your employee onboarding process. Don’t make your new employees read through a twenty-page manual — show them an entertaining video instead! Plus, if you create content around your company culture, it could double as an effective recruitment tool as well.

Increase social media reach

If social media impact is your goal, look no further than video content: it’s a versatile marketing tool, perfect for social media. Facebook has become especially video-centric in the last couple of years, and Instagram Stories and Snapchat are also great places to informally promote your products or services too.

The downsides of using video content

All of that sounds great, doesn’t it? The biggest downside of creating video content is the upfront investment it requires, both in terms of time and money. While it possible to use just your iPhone camera to create engaging content online, professional-looking video content will often require a much larger investment.

For example, if you want to create an “About Us” video for your homepage, you have to think about how much you are willing to spend. Pre-production costs (scripting, location scouting, props), production costs (lighting, sound, shooting) and post-production costs (editing etc) all add up quickly.

But as we know, if video content is done well, there are many benefits to your business. So if you want to rise above the competition, you need to start thinking about how to incorporate high-quality content using your available budget.

How video content can fit into your business

48% of marketers are planning to add a YouTube channel in their marketing strategy next year. However, YouTube is not the only way to go.

You can start by creating a “Welcome To Our Company” short piece for your landing pages. Or you can turn one of your monthly Q&A blog posts into a vlog and publish it on your company website.

Some examples of video content include:

 Product demos and reviews
 Tutorials
 Vlogs and interviews
 Customer testimonials
 Onboarding guides

Don’t forget about simpler forms of video content either — the filming features in Snapchat and Instagram are really easy to use even if you are just starting out.

People also tend to expect simpler video formats from Facebook Live events, as well as webinars. If you are just starting out, those platforms are perfect for you. Just prepare your talking points, set up a camera and go!

Video content is definitely an investment you need to make if you want to boost your marketing strategy. But it’s wise to take into account the initial investment. While you can hire a camera guy and an editor for cheap, you have to remember that high-quality content will be a far more successful part of your marketing strategy that poorly-made content.

If your business does not currently have the bandwidth to produce effective video content, you can absolutely start small. Posting behind-the-scenes videos on Instagram stories can go a long way when it comes to building brand awareness.

What did you think of our video content post? Let us know in the comments below.


Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. For tips and news in e-commerce, marketing, and design, check out her blog, Victoria Ecommerce. Victoria loves to help store owners get the best return on their e-commerce businesses.


How to Approach Cyber-security in Business

At one time, threats to cybersecurity mostly meant potential leaks of personal or financial information. Now, however, digital threats are on the rise and coming from a wider variety of sources. In 2016, hackers were able to hold the entire San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency hostage by locking over 2,000 systems with ransomware. In 2017, out of the roughly 3.5 million apps available in the Google Play Store, 700.000 of them were deemed “problematic” in terms of security.

Perhaps the biggest threat to cybersecurity, however, is the human factor. According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Cybersecurity Investigations Report (DBIR), financial pretexting and phishing were the source of 93% of all breaches investigated, with email being the main entry point 96% of the time. The report went on to say that companies are nearly three times more likely to be breached via social attacks than through actual vulnerabilities in their systems. This emphasizes the need for ongoing employee cybersecurity education. Here are 5 steps to handling cybersecurity threats to your business.

  1. Know the Value of Data and Security

    No matter what kind of business you run and no matter how large or small your business may be, you have valuable digital data to protect. This can include proprietary information, intellectual property, sensitive and personal employee information or even the financial data of your customers.

The first thing you need to do is assess your digital assets to determine which are most in need of protection and then develop the appropriate systems to protect them. Secondly, you need to assess what types of threats would cause your business the most issues and enable stronger safeguards against those threats.

  1. Assess Your IT inventory and Determine Business and Technology Risks

    Once you have determined what your greatest assets and greatest threats are, you need to assess what measures or security plans you already have in place for dealing with them. You also need to assess the most likely points of entry for those threats.

This includes taking a hard look at security software and making sure it is up-to-date, including the most recent patches. Older software is highly vulnerable, and updates and patches exist to fix those vulnerabilities. So, if you skip on regular updates, you are exposing all the data to persons with malicious intent. Your cybersecurity is only as good as the last patch that was applied.

3. Be Proactive: Educate your Employees

In 2016, IBM’s Cyber Security Intelligence Index found that 60% of all cyberattacks were carried out by insiders. Of those attacks, 75% were carried out with directly malicious intent, while 25% of them involved unwitting actors.

While there may not be as much you can do about employees that genuinely intend to damage your business, there is much you can do about the 25% that don’t.

It is important to educate your employees on proper management and security, such as what risks a public Wi-Fi network poses for unsecured devices or ways to identify phishing email scams. Especially with the trend of allowing employees to bring and use their own personal devices at work is on the rise (BYOD), the risk of a data breach has never been higher. This doesn’t mean that you should discourage such practices, especially if your teams are often on the move, but ensure that they are aware of possible risks and that their devices (personal or business) are properly secured.

  1. Develop a Strategic Cybersecurity plan

    The best way to deal with cyber attacks to treat them as if they are going to happen, rather than simply hoping they don’t. The more prepared you are for them in advance, the more likely you are to weather them well.

Before you reach that point, however, you also need to have strategic plans in place to keep hackers and other ne’er-do-wells from accessing your system in the first place. These can include plans for getting security patches installed immediately, regular password changes for employees, assigned passwords and even regularly backing up your entire system and storing it elsewhere in case of a ransomware attack.

When designing any type of security plan, you always want to involve stakeholders as well as ensuring you are in compliance with local, State and Federal regulations. In many cases, you may need to raise funding from your stakeholders to boost your security, so getting them on board early is critical.

  1. Implement and Tweak Your Plan

    Implementing a good security plan is not like developing an exit strategy in case of a fire. Hackers and thieves are constantly adjusting their strategies, which means you need to constantly be tweaking yours to combat theirs.

The reason cybersecurity companies are constantly sending out patches is because cybercriminals are constantly devising new ways of breaching their security. Cyber thieves never rest, and therefore, neither can you. Your strategy cannot ever simply be a one-time thing that you assess, address and move on from. It needs to be vigilantly addressed, tweaked and changed as threats change as well.

As cyber commerce increases, more and more businesses may have greater digital assets to protect than physical ones. This means that where once businesses may have invested the most in protecting their physical assets and premises, they may now need to shift to investing in protecting those digital assets instead.


How to “Invite All” to a Facebook Event

Category : Uncategorized

As I am involved with getting the word out for events, I J.R. Atkins, Dallas Social Media Speakerdiscovered the following code to “invite all your friends on Facebook.” I hope this helps you have a successful event. Good luck.

 

For Facebook:

1. Click Invite Friends

2. In the dropdown, next to the search box, click Search All Friends

3. Scroll ALL the way down until names stop loading (I found it easy to click the first name and then hold down the spacebar or Page Down button)

4. For EVENTS Copy this code:

javascript:elms=document.getElementsByName(“checkableitems[]”);for (i=0;i<elms.length;i++){if (elms[i].type=”checkbox” )elms[i].click()}

For PAGES Copy this code:

javascript:var inputs = document.getElementsByClassName(‘uiButton _1sm’);for(var i=0; i<inputs.length;i++) {inputs[i].click(); }

For Chrome:
5. Press (CTRL+Shift+J) for WINDOWS or (Command+ Option+J) for MAC on your keyboard.
6. Paste the code into the box at the bottom and press enter (next to the blue “>”)
7. For large friends list, this may utilize all your resources and will cause the page to freeze and be unresponsive. Just wait a few minutes until all the names get selected.

For Firefox:
5. Press (CTRL+Shift+K) for WINDOWS or (Command+Option+K) for MAC on your keyboard
6. Paste the code into the box at the bottom and press enter (next to the blue “>>”).
7. For large friends list, this may utilize all your resources and will cause the page to freeze and be unresponsive. Just wait a few minutes until all the names get selected.

For Safari:
5. Go to Preferences – Advanced – check “Show Develop menu in menu bar” and close the preferences window.
6. Go to Develop – Show Error Console (or Command + Option + C)
5. Paste the code into the box at the bottom and press enter (next to the blue “>”).

For Internet Explorer:
5. Press F12 on your keyboard
6. Click the “Console” tab
7. Paste the code into the box at the bottom and press enter.
8. For large friends list, this may utilize all your resources and will cause the page to freeze and be unresponsive. Just wait a few minutes until all the names get selected.

 


We Will Soon Generated 5 Billion GB of Data Every 10 Min.

Author & Consultant J.R> Atkins address information overload in digital timesA recent article in the Wall Street Journal states “From the beginning of time until 2003 we generated 5 billion gigabytes of data. In a year, we’ll generate that much data every 10 minutes. How do you avoid information overload?”

An audience member will often ask me this when I speak and my answer is simple but challenging – Balance! this easier said then done but in short, we need to spend some amount of time unengaged for every we spend engaged in media – Social Media, Website, Mobile Apps, TV, Radio, Reading, … In other wise, the key to balance is a few minutes of quiet time each day.

How do you keep your sanity? Do you have any tricks you can share? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Check out the “Three Keys to Beating Information Overload” by Paul A. Laudicina in the Wall Street Journal.

Imagine having—at last—the entire knowledge of human civilization at your fingertips, and finding that it basically gives you a migraine. With the relentless 24/7 information smog of always-on news, e-mail, and social media, most of us are not feeling smarter or wiser these days. Just consider: from the beginning of time until 2003 we generated 5 billion gigabytes of data (“Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think,” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler). By next year we will generate that much data every ten minutes. Is it any wonder our ability to think and act with the future in mind has diminished with the daily assault on our over-stimulated brains?

The temptation is to tune out what you can’t control (which is pretty much everything), and focus entirely on the few things you can—from the comfort of your private cocoon. But unlike some, I think going on a media diet or fast is neither realistic nor productive. In today’s complex world, you need to be a talent scout and an information omnivore, and ideally a discerning omnivore.

This might sound like an oxymoron, but let me explain. Clay Johnson, a successful practitioner of political campaigning using the Internet, makes the point that it’s not so much information overload people are dealing with, but rather information overconsumption of the wrong kind. He thinks we read and watch too much information from sources that merely affirm what we already think. I agree.

The first step I would recommend to anyone is to subscribe to—and read—a print newspaper or two. A recent University of Maryland study found that young people the world over think that the news they need finds them, not the other way around. But if you consume news online, you may miss a story that is relevant to a problem you face at work, or learning about an individual who makes you consider an issue in a new light. Online browsing – particularly when so much of today’s content is algorithmically pushed to us based on previous site visits and habits — keeps us from experiencing these serendipitous stories, which can have an unexpected impact on our thinking.

I would also recommend that if you only read relatively highbrow publications (like this one), you should regularly browse the likes of People, Hello! and Entertainment Weekly. Likewise, if you are immersed in pop culture, sports, and social media, I’d advise you to regularly peruse news sources that focus on politics, business, and economics. There is great danger in traveling the same mental routes every day and becoming a “silo” expert when we need more generalists.

And if you want to expose yourself to emerging leaders and tap into the world’s brainpower hubs, you also must realize that reputations are lagging indicators. Looking at rankings is like looking at the nighttime sky: You see the light, but it’s coming from the past. To meet those who are young, hungry, and full of promise, meet everyone you can in your firm. Talk with your seatmates on your next flight. See who your direct reports admire at work and make their acquaintance. You may be pressed for time, but time isn’t the most important ingredient in business: it’s people—and what they know.

Yes, there are times to unplug. Effective people in any occupation do not zoom at warp spe

Author J.R. Atkins recommends “Beating the Global Odds: Successful Decision-Making in a Confused and Troubled World.”

ed continuously; even field generals retreat to move forward. Finding time to pause, think, reflect, recharge, and be creative is absolutely essential to success in any field. We need to take stock of things overlooked in the hubbub of daily life.

The future belongs not to those who turn down the volume, cancel their subscriptions, or unplug. Instead it will go to those who vary their information diets, listen for important but subtle “weak signals,” and go out into the world to discover remarkable people, ideas, places, products, and services for themselves. Take it all in, as the discerning omnivore you ought to be.

Paul A. Laudicina is managing partner and chairman of the board of A.T. Kearney and the author of “Beating the Global Odds: Successful Decision-Making in a Confused and Troubled World.”


Why do Time, Money & Relationships matter?

Consultant J.R. Atkins discusses time, money and relationshipsVery simply, these are the only three things that matter. I assert that all other issues, goals, solutions, answers …can be boiled down to one of these three. Let’s go through each one and see.

Time is often considered the most valuable commodity. After all, you can get more money, love, people, cars, books …but you cannot get more time. The closest thing to getting more time is to leverage your time or other people’s time. Time is the first commodity we are given to manage. As a young salesman with E&J Gallo Winery, I was taught to manage my time first, then I could manage others, and this held true.

“Too often, when we have money, we don’t have time and when we have time, we don’t have money.” Jim Rohn

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins address money, time & relationshipsMoney is held in high regard in most of the world. It represents power, accomplishment, wealth, knowledge, wisdom, and even love is often expressed in the form of money or gifts. With money, you can do almost anything. Without money, there are so many obstacles to overcome that most people cannot do anything without money. When I consider the issues I face in life; most of them would either go away or be less important with the addition of more money. Not all problems can be solved by money which brings us to people or relationships.

Money is not the root of evil; “the love of money is the root of evil.” 1 Tim 6:10

Relationships affect us in both our work and personal lives. I have heard many people joke that their life would be so easy without these darn people messing it up. While comical, it is also true. We are made to be in relationship with each other, some more Author J.R. Atkins points out that Relationships Matterso than others, and relationships create issues. As leaders, we are asked to get people moving, creating results. As workers we are asked to follow our leaders and get things done. It is a two way street. Gone are the days where one person orders and the other person complies. We all have to work together, get along, collaborate, avoid confrontation … to generate results and keep the peace.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Cor 13:13

With these three “commodities” addressed, let’s look at an example of Starting a Business.  To start a business you need all three: time, money and relationships. For example, I connect with many people wanting to build a mobile application for smart Author, Speaker & Consultant J.R. Atkins is a member of Startup Americaphones. Most have little or no money so they put in time and strive to find others that will contribute their money, in exchange for future earnings. Relationships are key in this environment as the entrepreneur must interact with people in order to get them to support his/her idea. They must attract talent, investors, customers, mentors … and all of these require some level of time, money and relationships. Can you think of an issue an entrepreneur might face that cannot be addressed by these three?

The model below represents a “Balanced Approach” where time, money and relationships are seen as equals. Yet, most of the entrepreneurs I speak with would rather have more money and less time and relationships since they can “buy” time and relationships with money. I call this “A Money Centric Approach.” Without enough money, even with plenty of time and relationships, the road to success is very, very steep.

Consultant J.R. Atkins comments on the intersection of time, money & relationships 

How do these concepts and ideas fit into your world view? Do you have an idea of your “hourly billable rate?” Claiming an hourly rate that you desire will help you choose what task you will do and what task you will hire others to complete. Your hourly rate will also help you compute the dollar value of your participation in a project or business.

I look forward to reading your comments, please post them at http://somethingdifferentcompanies.com/blog/

 Events Worth Considering:


Can your Smart phone serve as your PC?

I saw this on “the Next Web Apps” RSS Feed and thought it was worth sharing.

What if you could run around town with your Android phone using it like you normally do and when you get to the office all you have to do is dock it and start your day? That’s exactly what Ubuntu wants to do with its pitch to Android handset manufacturers to embed the operating system into its devices.

Ubuntu for Android
is a full-featured operating system for desktop computing and all you would have to do is dock your phone to use it.

In addition to a desktop operating system, all of the functionality from the phone would be available to you at the click of a mouse. If your phone gets a call or text message, it would pop up on the external monitor you’ve set up to use it. As we noted yesterday, Apple is taking a unification approach to its mobile and desktop operating systems, and this Ubuntu solution would be even better since it doesn’t require two devices:

Dallas Mobile App Strategist J.R. Atkins comments on Ubuntu for Android 

While the operating system isn’t available right now, Ubuntu wants to get consumers excited about it so the pitch to handset creators will go that much smoother for it. Ubuntu states that a desktop environment hosted only on the web on devices such as netbooks haven’t gone over well with consumers since the desktop requires horsepower and storage for optimal productivity.

The approach makes total sense and I could see Android handsets jumping on this bandwagon. One device that provides multiple functions, especially business functions, could become extremely attractive to IT professionals who are looking to control the costs within their organization. Instead of providing each employee with a desktop machine and a mobile device, all they’d have to do is provide them with a phone. Since employees would only be using one device, there would be less security concerns as well as issues with syncing things like calendars and contact information.

As mobile phones get more computing power, the one device approach is becoming a reality and it’s one that I’d be interesting in giving a try. Even though Google does a great job at syncing information, I’d much rather only have to worry about having one device that could replace my laptop with nothing more than a few peripherals that I can leave behind when I’m on the road.

There’s no time-frame for when we could see Android handsets with this capability but if the company can prove that consumers want something like this, it’s a no-brainer for handset manufacturers.

See the original article “the Next Web Apps”


Will Google+ Make it?

Dallas Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins likes Google+, and offers training on Google+In late June of 2011, Google launched its third attempt at a social media site, Google+, and since then, people have been asking, will Google+ make it? Here is the take on Google+ by Dallas Social Media speaker, J.R. Atkins.

1. Yes. Why?

  • The 3rd time is a charm, after Google Buzz & Google Wave
  • The market is ready for a Facebook competitor
  • Google will integrate with Google Docs, Calendar, Reader, Gmail
  • Google will somehow make it better on their ndroid operating system.

2. What’s it mean to me and my business?

  • In addition to The Big 5 (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog & Video) you will now need to learn Google+.
  • In time, Google+ will add “pages” or business Profiles. For now, they are asking you not to create a personal account for your brand and have removed some well known brands.

3. When can I get started?

  • As soon as Google+ starts accepting new accounts again. When it started on June 28, Google+ accepted new accounts from you if you got an invitation from the beta group, mainly the Tech and Social Media community.

4. Could Google+ fail?

  • Yes, unless they start accepting requests from people for new accounts. I have met several people who are so frustrated that they cannot get a Google+ account that when Google+ does open again, they don’t want an account, it’s called “backlash.”

5. Pros & Cons of Google+:

6. For a Google+ cheat sheet:

What do you think? Is your business looking at Google+? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Future Events of Interest:

09-01-11 Gordon England, former Secretary of the Navy

09-01-11 DFW-AMA Meet-n-Greet

09-06-11Aggie Business Luncheon featuring Cathrine Hatcher

09-07-11 An evening with Former U.S. Sec of Defense Robert M. Gates

09-13-11 September AAF Luncheon – “Doing Digital Media Right”

09-13-11 Dallas Interactive Mktg & Internet SEO/SEM There is No ROI in Marketing

09-14-11 Webinar: Making Social Media Work for Your Business

09-15-11 the Association for Corporate Growth Sept Breakfast

09-15-11 Dallas Safari Club Sept Meeting with Larry Weishuhn

09-16-11 The Speaker Co-op DFW Monthly Meetup

09-21-11 Tim Pitt & Karen Shaffer of Rent-A-Center

09-21-11 Digital Dallas visit with Moonbot Studios

09-22-11 Dallas Business Club Reception & Discussion

09-22 11 World Affairs Council Dinner Featuring Thomas Friedman

09-27-11 The Last Tuesday Happy Hour at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas

09-29-11 AAF Dallas Happy Hour @ Naga Thai Kitchen & Bar


How secure is your Excel Data?

Category : Uncategorized

I ran across this last Friday at the MTBC and thought it was worthy of a 2nd look.

Are you, or someone you know, at all concerned about exposing sensitive data? Is some of that data used in Excel?

Theft-Proof Data is working to bring a very novel new method of securing electronic information to market. Without exception, the people to whom they have demonstrated TPD Office for Excel say “WOW, that is so cool” – or at least words to that effect. Perhaps that’s because most of us have had our personal information leaked by one trusted company or another.

“Theft-Proof Data makes it impossible to steal sensitive information.”

They’re ready to Beta test TPD Office for Excel – which means they’ll GIVE AWAY lots of licenses and other future goodies to those organizations who actively participate in our formal Beta process. This could be extremely valuable, especially to a large corporation or service provider. The amount of work expected is very small, the potential reward very large.

This might not apply to you –
however everyone knows someone, and they (and we) might be very grateful for an introduction. Please email me with your close contact at a company or organization that would be interested. Ideal for the test would be a group with at least 3 people who are each using Excel more than 3 times a week.

Please try it yourself!
Everything you need is here (including the manual and small software download): http://theftproofdata.com/Downloads.html. You can use the user name and password “Trial / Trial”. They currently support Excel 2003 and 2007 running on XP, Vista and Windows 7.

Mark Gluck, CEO
Theft-Proof Data



The 12 Types Of "Social Media Experts" – Which One Are You?

Category : Uncategorized

This was origianlly posted as the 9 Types of Social Media Experts and has been updated as follows

Monday, March 22, 2010

The 12 Types Of “Social Media Experts” – Which One Are You?

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There is a fundamental problem among social media experts today. Some people have argued that the problem lies with people who are rushing to call themselves an expert without having the necessary experience. Others create some sort of artificial metric to try and put some parameters around who should be allowed to call themselves an expert and who should not. The easier way out (which I myself have taken on occasion) is to excuse yourself from the entire debate by saying that no one is REALLY an expert and we are all just people who use these tools and try our best. Since coming back from SXSW, I have been thinking about this and realized that none of these methods really works because they all assume that a “social media expert” is a single type of person.

To be sure, there are some people working in social media who really shouldn’t be – but I don’t believe this number is as high as others would say. Instead, I think that many people who could be great at certain roles are simply trying to fill the wrong role. So, to help, I thought I would share what I think the 9 types of social media experts really are. And in true social media fashion, since 9 is such an uneven number … let me know what you think the 10th would be. I will add the best suggestion for a 10th to this list. Thanks to all the great suggestions, I have added 3 more types of Social Media Experts to this post and updated the title to share 12 instead of 9 types. Thanks for all the great comments!

  1. The Pretender – This is the person who everyone loves to hate. The newly arrived and minted “expert” who has barely used any tools beyond Facebook and Twitter, has hardly any friends or followers, and bases most of their thinking on what they just read from the dozen or so social media “gurus” who frequently share free advice on their blogs.
  2. The Trainer/Teacher – Being a great teacher is a gift, and not many people truly have it. If you are a natural trainer or teacher, you have the ability to make complex ideas that are part of social media easy to understand. After listening to your direction, someone new to using the tools and thinking about social media will feel dramatically more comfortable using the tools and (most importantly) why they should even bother.
  3. The Professional Speaker – Popular sentiment is to treat these people as the biggest blowhards in the industry because they get up on stage and get paid to talk about social media. It is the existence of this type of expert, however, that often creates the inspiration and excitement about social media as a whole. Once again, not everyone is necessarily good at taking this role – but listening to a great speaker about social media can create a real impact across the entire industry. Speakers may be the rising tide that can lift everyone else’s boats.
  4. The Content Curator – I have blogged at length about how I believe content curators will be among one of the most important social media jobs of the future. While some may equate the job to that of a digitally savvy librarian, I see the role of a curator as much more of an editor about a particular topic. The curators are the ones that can help us make sense of the exploding amount of content online. The almighty search algorithm won’t be enough.
  5. The Event Organizer – In social media, there are lots of great events. From the more official conferences and summits to the less formal meetupsand tweetups. If your gift is in creating really engaging moments for people to gather in real life and to facilitate those moments, you might fit this category. The Event Organizer, too, is vital for the social media industry to thrive because they are the ones that drive the real moments where virtual relationships become real.
  6. The Community Manager – Having a great community manager may be one of the most difficult roles to fill on a digital team, because the skill set can be quite elusive. A great community manager is dealing with real conversations in real time and reacting to those conversations transparently. If you happen to have these skills and use them well, you could easily grow into the very center of an organization’s entire social media efforts (a great place to be).
  7. The Content Creator – This is one of the most public types of social media experts because their expertise is on display consistently. Content creators are great at writing thoughts in blog posts, sharing their every thought via Twitter, or creating video. In the right role, content creators can become indispensible assets to a team and generate highly original content to engage an audience.
  8. The Marketing Strategist – If I have one intention with this post, it is to point out very distinctly that not every social media expert should automatically be put into this category. If you are a marketing strategist, you know the best way to use social media to achieve a marketing objective such as promoting a product or service. You don’t blindly create a “platform” for a client with every social media tool, or consider “start by listening and then engage people in a conversation” actionable strategic advice. Instead, you are able to solve a real business problem with a smart plan for using social media, and entirely capable of admitting which business problems social media may not be the best solution for.
  9. The Designer/Builder – In some ways, this is the most important type of social media expert – because these are actually the people who make real solutions. Strategy is great, but at some point you need a real execution plan and these are the experts who can get it done. More importantly, they will also be able to provide advice based on experience for how you may want to implement your plans, and what strategy or tactics you may want to stay away from.
  10. The Networker/Connector [Added 03/24] – This additional category, suggested by several commenters, is the person who actively uses social media to make connections with people both online and offline. In some cases these individuals may be HR professionals, but in most instances they are simply people who actively believe in being social online and use their connections to introduce people to one another. In the best case they are the ones that enable real connections between people – but in the worst case they can also be shameless self-promoters. (Suggested by Maxiosearch, Ann Marie van den Hurk, APR)
  11. The Evangelist [Added 03/24] – Often in the role of speaking for a brand and putting a human face on an organization, the Evangelist is the person who uses social media to promote a belief, product or organization. For this individual, social media is a way to share content and engage in conversations about something they are passionate about. As some readers pointed out, this could also be someone who preaches the use of social media internally within an organization. (Suggested by Phil Simon, Ingrid Hein, Russell Pearson )
  12. The Entrepreneur [Added 03/24] – One category that several readers alluded to but no one specifically suggested was the category of innovator or entrepreneur. This is the person who sees everything in social media and decides that their expertise is in creating a new tool or platform to share with the world. The creators of popular services like Foursquare or Twitter might fall into this category, as well as anyone who has ever launched a new service or app to solve a particular need or desire. Entrepreneurs are the ones who use their expertise to create something new in social media and drive innovation.

You might be tempted to read into this post that there are certain types of experts that are more valid than any others, but except for the first type I strongly believe that each has an important role to play as organizations and businesses of all sizes get smarter about how and when to use social media. If you work in the industry or interact with those who do – my simple plea is that we all need to get better about understanding which of these roles we are particularly good at and focus on that. As a whole I can think of nothing better to help legitimize and grow the entire area of social media and the groups who are able to benefit from using it well.


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