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9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation

November 18th, 2010 · 100 Comments

I’ve seen many guides to choosing the right social media consultant.  Many of them fall short because they don’t give you simple empirical guidelines to follow.  I think that’s a mistake and I’ve decided to rectify that oversight.

One of the main points I feel is most important is that the social media “Expert” must be deeply involved in social media.  The experience you gain in personally building a large social network is essential to understanding social media.  The criteria here is how do you find an “Expert” so the bar is set high.  One of the commonly quoted rules is that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert- that’s 2 months short of 5 years.  Which means there are very few true social media experts around.

An Expert is defined as: having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience
Social Media Expert Minimum Criteria:

  1. Google- Your expert should have a dominant presence on Google.  When you search on their name or their social handle (mine is ckieff) you should see an abundance of social media listings with the major sites at the top.  If your social media expert’s Google listing starts showing their high school football exploits half way down the second page they aren’t much of an expert.
  2. Twitter Followers 2010+ the consultant must have a network over 2000 Twitter Followers.  2000 is the Twitter imposed limit where the user must have a following of 90%.  To get more than 2000 followers you must have more than 1800 followers of your own (90%).  In other words, any idiot (or spammer) can follow 2000 people, but you have to work hard to get to 2010. Any “Social Media Expert” who has less than 2000 followers hasn’t put the time in, and doesn’t have the experience to be called an expert.
  3. Twitter Lists 100+ One of the best measures of how much others find your Tweets valuable is to measure how many take that extra step of adding the account to a list.  It’s a vote of confidence and recommendation to others for me to say I value your tweets and want to tell others that.  Remember that some lists today are generated automatically so check the lists and look for words like; Retweet, follow, people-i-retweet, interactions, etc.  These lists can be automatically created by tools such as FormuLists and don’t reflect true interest by people.
  4. Klout Score of 30+ Klout is a social media rating service that rates a Twitter and Facebook profile for interaction and engagement.  While Klout is far from perfect, it is the best that exists today.  Some social media companies have spoken about using a minimum Klout score of 30 as a criteria for judging a social media specialists.  This score is a gauge of how engaged and interactive the account is in it’s activity.
  5. Facebook Friends 1000+ A social media expert must have an extensive network of other social media experts to collaborate with and to exchange ideas.  They should have built that network on Facebook as well as on Twitter and LinkedIn.  They should have an extensive network of Facebook connections and they should be able to call upon that network to connect them and exchange ideas.  Because of the reciprocal nature of Facebook Friendships the expert should have taken the time to build a network of at least 1000 people.
  6. LinkedIn Network of 500+ It’s harder to build a network on LinkedIn than it is on Facebook or Twitter.  You need to have people accept your invitations and people are much more picky on LinkedIn in general.  Therefore it takes some time to reach a network of 500 or more.  In addition I would look for 10 or more Recommendations on LinkedIn, and 5-10 Best Answers in the social media field.  And finally they should include a sprinkling of well known recognizable names in the industry.  For your consultant to be an “Expert” they must be known and connected to other experts in the field.  This takes time and expertise.  But if they are a social media expert they should have had the time and ability to connect with a few of the recognized top people in the field.  (I think I miss this mark with the Best Answers criteria, but I make it on the others :)
  7. Facebook Page with 250+ Fans/Likes - Your expert should have a top notch Facebook Fan page.  It should entice you to “Like” the page and it should be updated regularly with content from a blog and Twitter along with custom Facebook only updates.  It’s true that often experts have poor pages- a case of the cobbler’s children going shoeless.  (My own Facebook Page is dismal and I’d love it if you could Like it now.)  But a true expert will have overcome this issue to showcase their own skills.
  8. An active Blog with active comments- Blogs are essential to social media and any expert who doesn’t at least have a blog that they update weekly has to be questioned.  If they are blogging there should be some comments, or evidence of discussions happening on other sites like, Digg or Twitter in the comments section. Your expert must know how difficult it is to blog regularly to be able to tell you how to get it done yourself.  It’s even better if they blog for other sites beyond their own.  Because that demonstrates that others value their thoughts enough to allow them to write on their own sites.
  9. Profiles on many other social media sites- As a social media specialist, I believe it is my duty to my clients to check out each new social media product in order to determine if it could be a good fit for my clients.  So I have profiles on almost every single new up and coming social network.  Your consultant should have done this too.  They should be on, Foursquare, Shopkick, GoWalla, Digg, Flickr, YouTube and a few dozen more.  Otherwise how could they call themselves an expert if they don’t know what the offerings are?  I’m too busy isn’t an excuse in this case, they need to be doing the homework to determine what is good and what isn’t for you.[Edited after the initial post]
  10. Your Brain- Use your brain, if they have some of these attributes in areas where you are interested but none in the areas you are uninterested in, they may be just fine.  If they have all of these but not one customer who can talk to you about what they did for them in social media, keep looking.  This is meant as a guideline for people unfamiliar to social media to help you understand who may be a real social media expert and who is a fake.  The problem is that this field is overrun with fakes and neophytes need some way to determine the snake oil salesmen from the true practitioners. And I’ll maintain that anyone who uses all of the techniques listed in the comments section below to game the system has a pretty good idea of how the social media networks work, although they would be ethically challenged.  (And sorry I don’t have a link to my brain, yet.)
    [End edited section]

Now every social media expert won’t measure up to every one of these tests. I don’t measure up myself to every one.  But your social media expert should come close to many of them.  If your “so called expert” has a Twitter account with 250 followers and 300 college buddies on Facebook with no significant footprint on any single social network- then it’s time to keep looking.  You should see plenty of evidence of your social media expert in the first 3 pages of their Google Search.  If that’s not dominated by social media mentions then your expert may be more “wanna-be” than “is”.

There are a few social media specialists such as Mari Smith on Facebook, and Laura Fitton @Pistachio on Twitter.  These experts literally wrote the book on how to use their respective networks.  They are the exceptions, not the rule.  For the generalist this should not be an issue.

Give me 1 Good Reason why you would hire someone who says they’re an expert when you can determine if they are with Google and a few other sites in a few minutes.

My rebuttal to the comments here are in this post.

Since you’ve read this far please take a moment to consider this post as well:  Give Facebook t0 Someone You Love

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Related Reasons:

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  2. How I Game Social Media
  3. The SECRET to Social Media REVEALED!
  4. What’s Driving Social Media?
  5. Nestlé’s Social Media Meltdown- A Case Study

Tags: How To · Twitter Thursday

100 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rhona Bronson // Nov 18, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Interesting approach, but I don’t agree. I’m largely hiring (and have been hired as) a social media expert for what he or she can do for the business. I’m more interested in how the expert can show he or she has grown numbers for a business client from zero to 1,000 in 100 days with solid, interested audience members, not gross meaningless numbers.

  • 2 Chris Kieff // Nov 18, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Thanks for your comment. I agree that you should hire based on your business needs. I’m simply saying that if someone claims to be an “Expert” they need to have the level of experience that qualifies them for the title. This is one empirical approach that would determine if they are truly and expert. That doesn’t necessarily make them qualified or unqualified for any particular job.

  • 3 Josef Katz // Nov 18, 2010 at 7:44 am

    hmmm. I am close to being an “expert” based on this list.

    I would also add that the “expert” has to have some real work to prove they can do what they say. Getting followers, interacting and talking the talk is one thing but actually executing social media marketing campaign should also be important. Those who can, do. Or something like that.

  • 4 Chris Kieff // Nov 18, 2010 at 8:04 am

    And Josef I think you are an expert because you do use it to run campaigns and make it work. Which puts you head and shoulders above many of the people you’ll find on Twitter if you do a simple search for social media expert.

  • 5 Tommy Stern // Nov 18, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Great article! Love your candor (admitting your short comings – like Dr. Phil say, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”)- which leads me to the answer to your question and next point.

    A true expert to hire has to live in a long term environment. The only way to do that is having absolute integrity which leads your expert to Do The Right Thing by you and strongly impresses upon you that you Do The Right thing by you clients.

    In my opinion one thing worse then having a inapt expert is one that has the skills and leads you astray due to a lack of integrity.

  • 6 Michael Cohn // Nov 18, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Chris, while some of your points are well taken, I do not agree to all of them.

    1st I think the term expert is poorly used, i rather a term like social media strategist.

    2nd within social media strategies, one can specialize within a specific social media channel so a LinkedIn specialist for example doesn’t need to have the 2000 followers on Twitter to still be considered an expert is LinkedIn. Similarly a blogger expert or Facebook expert doesn’t have to have the activity on Twitter.

    3rd I am a strong believer in quality vs quantity. That’s where the strategy comes in place. By using well thought scripts to screen those who ask you to be their connection on LinkedIn and Facebook you get quality connections not virtual “friends”. If you do not know anything about your connections and friends and you never had a dialog with them, than they are not connections.

    4th If your name is unique like Chirs Kieff than it is easy to find you on Google. But if your name is John Smith or Michael Cohn there are thousands of people with these names so it becomes a real challenge to stand out in Google.

    5th The Klout score is based primarily on Twitter and Facebook. Back to my 2nd point. If you make the noise and buzz on other channels than Klout score is meaningless.

  • 7 Josef Katz // Nov 18, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Chris, Thanks and yes on Twitter it seems everyone is an “expert”. I think a key to being an expert is not feeling the need to use the phrase “expert” when describing oneself. Real experts know who they are and their work and interactions speak for themselves.

    BTW- FWIW I quickly figured out you were the real thing when we meet all those years ago on Twitter. Keep up the great work.

  • 8 Sonya J Mills // Nov 18, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Well said Michael.

    The terms social media expert and social media guru always make me gag. Social media strategist though, that actually means something and you need proof to back up a claim like expert social media strategist. In my opinion, that proof is not in the numbers on any social media platform, but rather in the numbers of how you’ve helped clients.

  • 9 Steve Woodruff // Nov 18, 2010 at 9:47 am


    I think one area where I’d differ with you is on Facebook – not every active business social networker chooses to use Facebook in the fashion you’ve described. For instance, I don’t actively seek to multiply contacts on Facebook, preferring to keep that particular circle more intimate and somewhat less business-focused.

    The Google thing is pretty telling, however – hard to argue with that measure!

  • 10 Chris Kieff // Nov 18, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I don’t meet all of these criteria myself. I’m just trying to offer a way to begin to tell the real experts from the fakes.

  • 11 Martyn Hodgson // Nov 18, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Great article to generate debate.
    In my mind it parallels to the arguments over accuracy of page rank & Alexa ranking
    What is black & white is that PR0 site is never as good as PR10 but the bits inbetween are a bit more grey.
    Your article is good at the high level – seeing the numbers gives clients an idea if you’ve got enough “mileage” behind you so you can be trusted, rightly or wrongly.

  • 12 Chris Kieff // Nov 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Finally somebody gets it!
    it’s not a standalone concept meant to be done in a vacuum. But it is a good way to start measuring someone from scratch. Another tool to use is you brain. I should have included that as #10.

  • 13 Ellen // Nov 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    There are many ways you can measure your expertise in social media or marketing in general. I think general knowledge of the technology is key but also being creative in your approach can seperate the men from the boys. At the end of the day if you aren’t able to generate income for yourself or a client using it, what is the point?

  • 14 Leigh Durst // Nov 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm


    While you make a couple decent points, I disagree with a lot of your assertions, specifically related Facebook but also resonating with some points others have made.

    Unfortunately, I really don’t have the time or energy for a debate due to a pending client launch. I’m just disappointed to hear you say this stuff.

    You talk a lot about numbers… and I also find it disheartening that you say NOTHING about the work. The only work you allude to is the work the so called “experts” have done for him/herself.

    There are more than too many egregious self-promoters and “one tool ponies” out there that have attempted to manipulate a digital footprint to prove their “WORTH”

    The proof is in the work people do, Chris. Many of us who are entrenched in doing the work do not take ample time to play the influence game you seem to elude to.

    While many examples come to mind, consider Jeff Widman, one of the brightest talents Facebook today…He’s managing a company that is exploding and barely has a website. 100% of his work is word-of-mouth and his results prove his worth. He has handled FB presences for MAJOR, MAJOR successful brands… and I’d hire him over other pundits any day. At the end of day, it’s DELIVERY that matters…

    Your formula doesn’t stack up against the real experts I know and work with every day, Chris.


  • 15 Rich Becker // Nov 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I’m sorry. I have to point out that social network counts don’t demonstrate anything, really. It’s too easy to add hundreds of connections or dump them.

    And, I might add that the weakest of all tips here is including Klout. If any social media expert told me to look at Klout scores to prove their expertise, I would kick them out of the office.

    All my best,

  • 16 Danny Brown // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:02 pm


    For the most part, your stuff is usually good, but you missed the ball game completely on this one.

    To your points:

    1. Google. I can use blackhat SEO (I don’t) to not only help me own Google, but ruin the reputations of my competitor “experts” into the bargain. Scratch this one from the list.

    2. Twitter followers must be over 2,000. Awesome – I’ll get Justin Bieber to market my company today – do you have his number? Or, I’ll get TwitterAdder to get me over the magic number and then I’ll be good to go (once I finish high school, obviously, unless I can get a note from my mum).

    3. Twitter Lists. This can be useful, but again, it depends on what you’re being listed for. If I’m on 100+ lists, but 25 are for my Batman comics, then I’m not really going to be much good, am I?

    4. Klout score of 30+. There’s so much wrong with basing a reputation on an automated measurement tool that I’ll just leave it at that.

    5. Facebook friends of 1000+. Curious – how do my college friends, ex-lovers that hate me but haven’t removed me from their friends, my baker and the newspaper delivery boy that are part of my Facebook friends make me an expert in social media? Some of my ex-girlfriends would say I’m anything BUT social…

    6. LinkedIn network of 500+. Have you worked with each of these 500+? Have you made their business more successful? If you’re only connected with them because you have LinkedIn’s icon on your blog’s sidebar and you’ve never really connected otherwise, then they’re faux connections.

    7. Facebook fan page 250+ Likes. I can buy 1,000 fans for $197 from uSocial – does that make me an expert at social media, or an expert at gaming the system?

    8. An active blog with active comments. Don’t disagree too much here, except don’t get caught up in the comments game. Two words – Seth Godin.

    9. Profiles on every other site. Um…. yikes! Where’s the strategy in this? Where’s the benefit? Where’s the time management and being focused on where you need to be? Say you set up on 100 networks, have a basic profile, then are only active on 5. The other 95 are now dead, but anyone stopping by and seeing you haven’t updated since 2009 will then ask, why should I trust this guy with my social media needs?

    I can see this comment as coming across as snarky, and to be fair, it probably is. Because I care about things being done right, and sorry, but your advice in this post isn’t.

    Just my four cents.

  • 17 Chris Kieff // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    As I pointed out in the piece Klout is the best of a bad lot.

  • 18 Gini Dietrich // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I’m not sure I have more to add to why I disagree than what others have written here. I DO agree that to be an expert you have to practice what you preach. Too often we find so-called experts who aren’t using the tools at all. It’s the wild, wild west out there and I really hope business leaders who know they need to understand the web for company growth don’t look at an “expert’s” numbers, but pay attention to the case studies and the ROI they’ve managed to create for other companies. It hasn’t been five years yet, but it has been enough time to show real business results. THOSE people are the experts.

  • 19 Chris Kieff // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    To torture this concept even further. If I found someone who had done everything you suggest I would hire them because they obviously know how these sites do work.

  • 20 Danny Brown // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    So you’v ejust admitted you’d hire unethical blackhats, Chris? Really?

  • 21 Chris Kieff // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    No. I said to torture the concept further I would.
    Let me say again the 10th tool you need is your brain.
    Without that you are lost.

  • 22 Danny Brown // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    The brain is only useful if it knows something about the topic in hand. Your post single-handedly devalues the solid work and results “real experts” are doing every day of the week, and probably also leads those that are looking for real help down a path they’re going to get screwed on.

  • 23 9 Points on Not Being a Social Media Expert – Danny Brown // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    [...] Over at Chris Kieff’s blog today, there’s a post on how to evaluate a social media expert in 9 ways.It offers tips on how to spot if your social [...]

  • 24 Chris Kieff // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I’m very sorry you feel that way. That’s the most damning comment I’ve received.
    I’m going to revisit this and give careful consideration to how to help a neophyte customer determine if the so called expert they are talking to is qualified. I do think that someone who matches most of the criteria I’ve listed here would be an expert. However, one could not use these criteria solely to hire someone.
    I’m looking for an empirical and objective way to determine one’s expertise. I’d love your suggestions on how to achieve that.
    Thank you,

  • 25 Danny Brown // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Chris,

    The problem is that there are no hard and fast rules on setting expertise. Numbers are always open to be gamed – using numbers therefore just offers a “false” belief in that it’s all most should worry about.

    Take a business example. I may have 20 years worth of marketing experience, but if a kid comes straight out of college and shows me a better way to do something, should I immediately ignore him because I have the numbers?

    As you can probably tell, I have a low viewpoint on using numbers for success (financial sales not withstanding).

    I don’t mean to “damn” you, per se – as I mention in my original comment, I love some of the stuff you write – my apologies for implying otherwise.

    This is the problem when the expert question comes up – an expert (and therefore expertise) is relevant to who needs it as much as who’s “offering” it.

    I could offer views, but whose to say they’d be any better than yours (or anyone else).

    The one over-riding factor I would suggest (and do so for our own clients and potential ones, whether we win them or not) is that success comes from results.

    Ask for results. And then ask why these results would be beneficial and relevant to your industry. Just because you had a great social marketing campaign for butchers doesn’t mean the same tactics will work for a vegan company.

    Cheers for the conversation, Chris.

  • 26 Martyn Hodgson // Nov 18, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Mr CEO who wants to do business with a “social media expert” will want some objective measurement to assess them.
    They see these stats and will use them to form their judgements, rightly or wrongly. Quick answers to snap decisions.
    But they also apply a wary judgement and can soon see if someones following is manufactured.
    Getting into the detail on this blog is in my opinion missing the point. Maybe that can be discussed in subsequent blogs?

  • 27 filip matous // Nov 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Have you heard of Dunbar’s number? Look it up on wikipedia. Basically it says you can have a max of 150 real connections with people. You have over 6000 you follow, more people than follow you.

    So you gotta ask, how many people am I actually being real with? If my time is a pie, and I split it into pieces for everyone, if I have too many people to feed with that one pie, no one gets anything worthwhile.

    Of course you don’t read even 5% of what your twitter stream shows you – if you are doing real client work… so… why are you pimping the numbers? Fair?

  • 28 Donovan Moore // Nov 18, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    3 words. I don’t agree.

  • 29 Dustin Plett // Nov 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I think we need to stop associating social media expertise with people who’ve had success growing their personal brand using social media tools.

    At one time this was all social media was, but I think we can all agree it’s now something bigger with many applications.

    Some of the smartest people I’ve met working in social media, the people behind bringing the most well known brands in the world into social media with tremendous success, have almost none of these qualities you have listed.

  • 30 Rhona Bronson // Nov 18, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    So, here’s a real problem I’m facing that speaks to what Chris is writing about, but in a different way. I have a new open position for an integrated marketing specialist, which by the job description is for a social media aficionado. It’s not a high level position as it’s my definition for a new type of marketing assistant. I’m expecting young people to apply who would be a relative neophyte in the business world, but supposedly stronger in social media marketing that a more traditional veteran. So, here’s the question in another format… what would you expect to see in this person’s background that would make them, if not the expert, at least worthy of being hired? I have some ideas of my own, but am interested in any opinions.

  • 31 Lara McCulloch-Carter // Nov 18, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Chris, I wholeheartedly agree with Danny’s assessment of this post. And I’m happy to weigh in with questions that will help organizations assess a social media strategist / expert / guru / or what-have-you. The following link is a list of questions to identify whether someone is a charlatan or a sage.



    Lara McCulloch-Carter
    President, READY2SPARK

  • 32 Chris Kieff // Nov 19, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Experts can disagree. LOL
    I think there is a value to a shallow simplified measurement for some people. The challenge is explaining how that simplified measurement can be misunderstood and helping people avoid the problems.
    I have another blog post working on this.
    Thank you for your thoughtful and erudite contributions to this conversation.

  • 33 Richard Carus // Nov 19, 2010 at 6:26 am

    I am afraid I also do not agree with this. I carry out a great deal of strategic social media work with clients and they are the ones whose profile I am interested in raising, not mine. I generate a whole lot of work for my agency through reccomendation and referal.
    To be honest if a potential client is going to make a hiring decision based on how many LinkedIn contacts or Twitter followers I have then they probably are not the right agency for us to work with. Or maybe they are because it shows they have very little understanding of social media.
    They should make these decisions based on how my/our work has helped our clients.
    Sorry, but I think you are very wrong in this article. Many thanks for raising the debate though.

  • 34 Mindie Burgoyne // Nov 19, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Good points in the article but since most people educating themselves about social media want to use it to get a RESULT – I think #1 should be “Have a track record for success.” – that means how many dollars have you made that you can link directly to social media?

    Secondly, considering myself a power user who has made way more money using social media than I ever expected …. I would question if an “expert” having all nine of your qualities could ever have time to work.

    Good points but if the expert can’t point to results, that expert is only showing that he or she knows mechanics – not strategy.

    Lots of good starting point here, though.

  • 35 Beth Harte // Nov 19, 2010 at 8:20 am


    Just wondering why the idea of being a PR or marketing expert isn’t mentioned when hiring a social media “expert.”

    All of the scores you mentioned above could be totally gamed (as Danny said) or easily achieved with someone’s “personal brand” (gag!). It doesn’t mean they have a clue as to how to use social media tools to achieve business goals.

    I know people who are experts in social media that don’t meet any of the criteria above…you know why they are experts? Because they are so heads down in REAL work that they don’t have time to chat all day on Twitter (Klout), run around the country at conferences (LinkedIn), they reserve Facebook for friends, and they don’t have time to blog.

    I would assume that most serious businesses would want to hire a social media professional based on their past experience, business acumen and references/referrals. Not how popular they are by someone else’s standards.

    Who made up those rules anyway? More than 2K followers?! More than 1,000 Facebook friends? That’s just silliness.

    Beth Harte

  • 36 Tweets that mention 9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation -- Topsy.com // Nov 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Beth Harte, Jacob Peck. Jacob Peck said: RT @BethHarte: Left my 2 pesos on: "9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation" from @ckieff http://bit.ly/dCXWH8 (I think mktg & PR exp s/ … [...]

  • 37 Rick // Nov 19, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I didn’t find anyone else pointing this out, but it looks like #2 is reversed. Twitter’s limit is that YOU cannot follow more than 2000 unless you’re at a particular ratio of others following you. Your followING list over 2000 means you’ve got a followER list that’s comparable in that 80/90% ratio.

  • 38 Jack Monson // Nov 19, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I disagree with everyone here on this basis:

    There’s NO such thing as a Social Media Expert. That is a meaningless term.

    Let’s take the above commenter Gini Dietrich for example. Many would say she’s a Social Media Expert, but I don’t agree. I see her as an expert in Business Strategy, an expert in Communications, an expert in Marketing, Content creation, etc etc etc.

    Saying she’s a Social Media Expert is like saying she’s a telephone expert, a laptop expert, or a networking cocktail party expert. All true, I’m sure! But the point is that SM is just a tool or channel for communication and engagement.

    Remember, a good carpenter is not just a Hammer Guru. It’s what he builds with the hammer that matters.

    One more thing: there’s no such thing as Social Media Strategy. You have a Business Strategy or a Communications Strategy. SM is a place to apply tactics to those strategies.

    Chris, I DO find a lot of value in your post regarding a certain level of proficiency in SM tools for new hires. The people who will be engaging customers on behalf of the brand need to have a minimum number of connections to make an impact.


  • 39 Paul Chaney // Nov 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    By your definition, I qualify as an expert. (Hire me folks!) But, it’s not all a numbers game Chris. That’s only part of the algorithm. However, with the exception of the last point, you made the whole of the criteria.

    Even though I qualify according to your criteria, I would never don the title “expert.” I think very few people can lay claim to that (Brian Solis, Toby Bloomberg, a few more). I think we’re all students, journeymen, apprentices.

  • 40 Chris Kieff // Nov 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    nice catch Rick. I’ll adjust the way I word that one.

  • 41 Chris Kieff // Nov 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    If you commented on this post or if you’ve read this far then you are fairly deeply interested in social media. So I’d like to enlist your help in helping to spread the idea of Give Facebook to Someone You Love – Please see the next post here: http://www.1goodreason.com/blog/blog/2010/11/19/give-facebook-someone-you-love/

  • 42 Stephanie Schwab // Nov 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Chris, love ya, man, but totally disagree with you here. I don’t have too much to add on the why I disagree beyond nodding on the comments that the fine people above have made, but I think quantifying anyone like this (social media or otherwise) completely undervalues the real-world social skills, intelligence and business savvy that true experts typically have. You’ve certainly ignited a nice firestorm, though – great to have the debate.

  • 43 Dan Perez // Nov 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Just when I think I’ve heard it all, along comes this post. This is just further proof that the world will surely end in 2012. Not in cataclysmic fashion as the Mayans predicted – a rare cosmic conjunction of the earth, sun, and the galactic center – but by aliens who will have watched us become more and more stupider by reading posts like this one and will alight on Earth and make us their slaves.

    Every point you make is absurd with the possible exceptions of #9 & #10 (more on that later). 1-8 can be achieved with little effort and are meaningless when it comes to being considered an “expert”. In a world where Lady Gaga has a bigger following than Bill Gates, you really think followers/fans/Klout score really define an expert? Seriously…

    As for #10, you’re absolutely correct when you state: “The problem is that this field is overrun with fakes and neophytes need some way to determine the snake oil salesmen from the true practitioners.” Perhaps, you should “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    Just what I would expect from a self-proclaimed “Internet Marketing expert”. Nuff said.

  • 44 Mike // Nov 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    At some point we will all get over worrying about who is an expert and who is not. Frankly, you should be too busy working for your clients. If you do that, everything should take care of itself. If not, then you are, indeed, a charlatan. :/

  • 45 Luis Freitas // Nov 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I really disagree with this article. Not only do I think that the expression “Social Media Expert” is absolutely wrong (there are none at this moment, we’re all still learning) as the arrogance of trying to measure it through an absolutely subjective metric such as number of fans and such is just incorrect. You should brush up on Long Tail, Fragmented Audiences and the whole “Open Social” concepts. Even if someone is present online, you can’t be absolutely sure Google will give you all the right results.

  • 46 Jim Dayton // Nov 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Chris, I agree with many of the comments here and I understand what you are trying to accomplish with this post. I am with you that your “expert” should understand the tools and be able to use them to promote themselves. But, social media is simply that, a set of tools, and experts should be judged by what they’ve “built” with those tools.

    IMO, some other “numbers” of interest when judging a social media professional are:

    1. How many times have they successfully engaged an audience using social media? And what was the outcome?

    2. How many years of integrated marketing – digital and traditional – experience do they have?

    3. How many successful CRM programs have they led?

    4. How many times have they ever used the phrase “social media campaign” (“never” is the optimal answer)?

    Personally, I don’t consider myself an expert. I agree with Paul Chaney’s comment and would probably call myself a student or journeyman.

    Chris, you should be commended on one thing. You got people thinking about all the qualifications they should be looking for when hiring someone to use social media to enhance their corporate identity and marketing efforts. Thanks.

  • 47 Jon Aston // Nov 19, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I think most of this discussion misses the point entirely. If you’re an expert, you’ve helped clients achieve their marketing objectives. You have their case studies to share. Who gives a feck about how many Facebook friends you (as a consultant) have, or what your Klout score is? And, no, I don’t claim to be an “expert”… just a humble “student”.

  • 48 Webucated // Nov 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Although there were some good suggestions for qualifying whether someone is a social media expert, I would respectfully disagree with the fact that an expert has to have a large social following.

    I think it is more important that they understand the dynamic of what drives value in social media, how to create a cohesive strategy, leverage the right social media tools, technology or platform, and then execute and drive tangible results around the solution.

    To me expertise is measured in the knowledge, experience, and results that you drive, not how many followers you have. As a web consultant and SME for the past 10+ years, I have to say I have no desire to shamelessly promote myself in social media, but I will brag about the results and business impact I’ve helped clients achieve.

  • 49 Ted McLaughlan // Nov 19, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I would simply stick with Google, especially searching for terms relating to the particular services you require – as well as locality. Numbers of contacts across the services, taken out of context, doesn’t really mean anything – it’s the quality and outcome of the contacts that matter. A person’s social media ontology and faceted capabilities or expertise is much harder to infer or derive than simply counting followers.

  • 50 Scott Allen @ OneCoach // Nov 19, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    A huge issue everyone seems to have missed is the different requirements of different businesses. Quality vs. quantity? Depends on whether you’re B2B or B2C; local, national or international; size of your potential market, etc.

    If your target clients are small business owners in your town of 50,000 people, why on earth would you want to spend time connecting with tens of thousands of people all over the world? If your ideal clients are the CIOs of Fortune 500 companies, how is Facebook going to be of much use to you? If you’re trying to promote the launch of a new mass-market consumer product, LinkedIn probably isn’t going to be your highest-ROI channel.

    Along those same lines, I disagree about the Facebook fan page. As a social media strategist, I’m targeting B2B, and as a sole practitioner working with a very few ongoing clients, rather than numerous short-term projects, I really don’t need a huge reach personal reach to keep myself busy. I don’t have to have my own high-volume Facebook page to know how to build and maintain one for others.

    Regarding Michael Cohn’s point about specialists in particular sites — that’s true, they do exist and may be highly qualified. However, a company that doesn’t have the social media strategy knowledge in-house should start with a generalist to set up an overall strategy before hiring a specialist to do their part.

    To Jack Monson’s point: I agree that social media is a channel for communications, marketing, recruiting, etc. However, one doesn’t have to look very far to see how BADLY many companies who previously had done just fine in these areas do in social media. Major national brands turned into unethical shills and blithering idiots. There’s a place for social media specialists for quite some time, just as there’s a place for people to train people on how to do sales via the telephone or email, or how to speak in public, or media coaching for radio and TV.

    Those of us who have taken to this medium easily expect everyone else to do the same, but the reality is, not everyone does. I get paid large sums of money for telling people things that ought to be common sense, but so what? So does the entire weight loss industry!

  • 51 faybiz // Nov 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Wow, my social media friend Dan Perez took you to task.
    I can REALLY understand what you are going for here.
    Most laypeople, who have not REMOTELY immersed themselves in social media have NO CLUE what to look for and too often are hearing from the “experts” that you are castigating.
    Most folks are correct here- look for results, but unfortunately, like many marketers and PR people they do NOT put those results out there.
    So how is a lay person to know?

  • 52 Ellen // Nov 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I have a solution = work with smart people. Hppy weekend!

  • 53 Chris Kieff // Nov 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks Ellen! You’re one smart cookie! I’ll work with you anytime!

  • 54 John // Nov 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Hmm, lots of good insight. But, I think you are wrong about Facebook. Why? Most of the college students I know have over 1,000 “friends”. Especially at smaller schools all the kids friend each other, the count goes way up, but in fact there is little or no connection there.

    The same is true for Twitter. Services exist (see DMV Followers as an example) that promote large reciprocal followings, even though there is little or no real connection to each other.

    I suppose that we should read into your comments that, “in the world of social media experts”, this is the bar. In “the world of young adults”, some of these these mileposts would not be helpful in figuring out who is truly a social media leader.

  • 55 Jacob // Nov 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    From Merriam-Webster:
    adj \ˈek-ˌspərt, ik-ˈ\
    Definition of EXPERT
    1.obsolete : experienced
    2 : having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience
    — ex·pert·ly adverb
    — ex·pert·ness noun
    Examples of EXPERT
    1. We received some expert advice.
    2. The company has become expert at adapting its products for new clients.

    I copied the definition of expert from the Merriam-Webster dictionary to clarify the meaning of the key word in this discussion: “having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience”. As a business owner I am not interested in hiring a “student”. I want someone who will produce the results that are going to solve my problems or help me reach my goal. I want an expert.

    As many have stated, a proven track record of producing results is a key component of hiring anyone for any job, including Internet marketing/social media (defining these could be the topic for another blog). In addition to experience , I think that quantifiable numbers that Chris suggests might also be useful. They numbers may be yours or those you generated for your clients.

    The problem that Chris points out is that there are many people calling themselves social media experts who are not experts. This is a common problem in every field : plumbers, doctors, yoga teachers, financial planners, etc. There many incompetents masquerading as experts. Finding the good ones has always been a challenge.

    Thanks for starting such an interesting discussion, Chris.

  • 56 Elaine Fogel // Nov 19, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    I agree with my MarketingProfs colleagues. Steve W. commented that Facebook doesn’t always make a good metric in the business world. Of all my business-related social networking, I focus on it the least. Maybe it’s good for B2C, but it isn’t proving valuable to me in B2B or B2N (nonprofit) marketing.

    I also agree with Beth H. One can know a lot about the tactics of social media, but without a sound understanding of marketing and strategy, it’s akin to spinning wheels.

    And Paul C. has a good point about the term, “expert.” Except for Facebook, it appears that I would pass your measurement test, although I would never call myself a social media expert.

    Other than that, I agree with you, Chris – one needs to walk the talk. I’ve noticed many so-called social media consultants on Twitter with only a handful of followers. That doesn’t bode well for their credibility.

    Oh, and one more thing. Social marketing is not equivalent to social media marketing. Social marketing works to influence behaviors and attitudes for the better good. e.g. smoking cessation, fitness for health, drinking and driving, etc.


  • 57 Godfrey // Nov 19, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    More snake oil from those who think social media is about volume not value.

  • 58 links for 2010-11-19 « riverrun by meaghn | beta // Nov 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    [...] 9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation I’ve seen many guides to choosing the right social media consultant. Many of them fall short because they don’t give you simple empirical guidelines to follow. I think that’s a mistake and I’ve decided to rectify that oversight. [...]

  • 59 The Social Media Echo Chamber Springs Into Action! // Nov 20, 2010 at 5:02 am

    [...] November 20th, 2010 · No Comments If you read Thursday’s blog post about Measuring a Social Media Expert and the multitude of comments then you’re up to speed, if not go read it first. [...]

  • 60 Marc // Nov 20, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Can you say shit storm? This too shall pass Chris…


  • 61 Chris Kieff // Nov 20, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I’ve written a new blog post to respond to these comments here: http://www.1goodreason.com/blog/blog/2010/11/20/the-social-media-echo-chamber-springs-into-action/

  • 62 Chris Kieff // Nov 20, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Of course now I have enough Fans on my FB page to get a custom URL- LOL.

  • 63 tcoughlin // Nov 20, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Regardless of opinion on the content of your argument, this is a tremendous blog post in that you took an expanded position – one you no doubt knew would be controversial – in a VERY popular and opinionated topic, and tossed it out there.

    I for one found this article and the following comment thread/responding tweets/responding blog posts to be more interesting than 99.9% of the rehashed “5 ways to improve X in your social media strategy TODAY” writings that saturate the web of late, in that it encouraged debate and thought from its readers.

    Well done!

  • 64 Chris Kieff // Nov 20, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Yes, even in the face of all of the condemnation I’m enjoying the conversation. Thank you your comment.

  • 65 Peter Shankman // Nov 20, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Hey Chris… Two quick points:

    1) This I find funny – By 90% of your definitions, Sarah Palin, Brittney Spears, and Justin Bieber are social media experts. :)

    2) You miss one key point, that I think it more valuable than any other one you made: Has the “expert” GENERATED REVENUE using social media – Not “I got a lotta fans” or “I make money by consulting” – Has the “expert” used social media to generate additional revenue directly from the tools he or she claims to be an expert at, either for themselves or for their clients?

    I think that’s the biggest question that needs to be asked.

  • 66 Toby Bloomberg // Nov 20, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Chris – thanks for an invigorating conversation .. and one that always opens the door to many opinions. IMHO the numbers do play part of an evaluation criteria. What those number are ??? I’m not sure. However, to stop at the numbers and not understand what is behind the numbers is just foolish.

    Dana VanDen Heuvel, one of the smartest guys in this biz, told me in 2004, that social media was different than any other marketing discipline. In order to really understand it you had to be involved in it. I believe Dana was right. Think about it .. what other initiative has its roots in a culture? Sure you can understand the tools, how to include sm in strategy but there is so much more. So the numbers = your part/role/validation by others in the community and do play a part in the equation.

    I agree with my dear friend Paul Chaney (thanks for the kind words) we are learning together as journeymen .. not “experts.” However, as with advertising, PR, research, customer service, etc. there is a place for people who are committed to social media as a discipline. Sure we must bring a depth of skills to the party but at the end of the day it’s how we can help the brand through leveraging social media that is our concentration. Count me in as politically incorrect.

  • 67 BSimi // Nov 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I agree in part with the ‘guidelines’ for being an ‘expert’. If you try to get a bartending job and can’t name 3 brands of vodka, gin, rum, whiskey…etc then you are NOT qualified. On the other hand if you may have all the spirits knowledge in the world but if you can’t hold a conversation and work with urgency then you too are NOT qualified. If you don’t know the core business and can’t move the needle you are not an expert, period. If you can build a community, build sales and benefit a company, you are now an expert.
    Happy debating!

  • 68 Erik Deckers // Nov 20, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I agree with most of this, except with your definition of an expert.

    The 10,000 hour rule comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers,” and is often wrongly applied to the definition of expertise. In it, he says that if someone wants to have a Peyton Manning or Tiger Woods level of skills, they need to put in at least 10,000 hours of their chosen profession.

    When you realize that the average football player typically practices for 2 – 4 hours a day at the high school or college level for 20 weeks a year, hitting the 10,000 hour level will take a long while (20 years, in fact). At this rate, a college senior will have spent 5,700 years playing quarterback by the time of his last game, but you wouldn’t dispute that a college quarterback is an expert.

    Peyton Manning, on the other hand, spent more than 20 weeks a year practicing growing up. He watched film, he worked out, he thought about football and practiced constantly. He actually got in 10,000 hours of football, which is why he’s an outlier, and everyone else in the NFL is just really, really good.

    My point is that you don’t need 10,000 hours to be an expert, especially in social media.

    The mistake people make is they equate experience with the tools to knowledge of how to use them. Social media is a tool, like a hammer or a computer. I know how to use a hammer, but that doesn’t mean I can build a house.

    The real social media experts are those who know social psychology and message creation. They know how to create a persuasive message that will have a maximum impact on their target audience. If they know how to do that, it doesn’t matter if they use social media, billboards, or TV commercials.

  • 69 Michael Cohn // Nov 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm


    While your two articles did not nail down a strong definition for a social media expert, here are some lessons learned from your articles:

    1. Without controversy and disagrements there wil be no dialogs and the world would be boring.

    2. Good controversy and disagrements turns viral. You should capitalize on that and use it as a strategy in your social media marketing campaigns.

    3. Viral controversy generates traffic.

    Chris, you do get an A+ on this. Keep these controversial blogs coming.

  • 70 Jacob // Nov 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    If I wanted to hire someone to get my website to the first page of Google I would ‘interview” a few companies and /or consultants. If one company showed up on page one and another on page 1000 I would be very unlikely to go the the guy on page 1000.

    If you want me to hire you to plan and execute my internet marketing strategy and I can’t find you or your website/blog through Google, you have 50 Facebook friends, no Facebook business page, 12 twitter followers, and 15 Linkedin connections, I would have to be out of my mind to hire you.

    I find it strange that there is so much resistance to quantifying some sort of minimum standards or benchmarks that business owners could use when they are hiring social media marketers/consultants.

    It is clear to me that Chris has started a discussion that has a great deal of merit and should be continued.

  • 71 Scott Allen @ OneCoach // Nov 20, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    One better criteria I thought of for this is the number and quality of someone’s recommendations on LinkedIn. While those theoretically could be forged, it would be very, very difficult to do so — frankly, hardly worth the bother. Assuming that the question is competence, not ethics, LinkedIn recommendations are a great resource.

  • 72 Christine Ferrere // Nov 21, 2010 at 7:55 am

    If I follow your logic, the “expert” needed to be on the social media scene 5 years ago to be considered as an expert today. But the trends and technologies 5 years ago are out-of-date today, therefore, what is the added value for an expert to be at least active for 5 years in social media?

    When you ask for an expert, you want to transfer your issues or lack of knowledge into this person and you expect this person to help you being successful in A RATHER SHORT TIME, and NOT in the 5 years time it has taken her to become an expert.

    Numbers: I dont think it has to do with numbers, even if it is the easy visible criteria to consider at first place. Expertise in social media is in my mind much more about proving to be successful in a short time, moving together with trends..

    Target group: I would personally name someone as an expert here if he/she proves that in a short time, he/she’s able to act, understand the tool and get the appropriate TARGETTED qualified followers. Again, it has nothing to do with a number at that stage, it “only” has to reach the top 30 people you want to talk to (your target group).

    Business credibility: Furthermore as a business person, I would personnally rather trust social media tools like LinkedIn at the first place to qualify someone as an expert, combined with his/her own words into blogs, rather than considering microblogging like twitter or fun tools like facebook. As you perfectly pointed out, it is tough to get lots of contacts in Linkedin as opposed to Twitter or FB.

    Therefore here again, it is all about target groups at FIRST place. Who do you want to reach? And the 5.000 followers on twitter might well never have any kind of interest in your business.

  • 73 Dan Monceaux // Nov 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to Klout, just signed up. I enjoyed reading your scientific approach to measuring social media expertise… your template should certainly help identify the ‘all rounder’ social media experts. I’m a power user more than a professional in this space, and found your post valuable and informative.

  • 74 Veronica // Nov 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Sounds like quantity vs quality, and your evaluation is based on only quantity.

    These numbers mean nothing if you don’t really know the 500 LinedIn connections, if the Twitter followers are meaningless automatic recipients to your following, and “klout” measures only Facebook and Twitter activity. The real measurement is in the quality, as in “social” media marketing. And with a good strategy, you can alo measure the quantity of marketing using social media tools.

  • 75 Kerry Rego // Nov 21, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Anyone that uses the word “expert” (or guru) to describe themselves simply isn’t.

  • 76 Social Media is not a Strategy « Connection Agent // Nov 22, 2010 at 5:41 am

    [...] in the long run, you don’t need a social media strategy, or a stand-alone social media expert. You need a holistic business strategy. Which should incorporate an intelligent approach to the [...]

  • 77 The Keys to Hiring a Social Media Consultant « Sysomos Blog // Nov 22, 2010 at 6:33 am

    [...] a recent blog post, Chris Kleff outlined nine different criteria to evaluate a social media “expert”. While the list [...]

  • 78 Bill Green // Nov 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I agree with Peter Shankman and the first comment. Having all those stats are nice, but the one thing I look at for is what has the person done with it all? Practice vs. theory, right? (Either for clients or an agency.)

  • 79 MyTitleGuy // Nov 23, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Thanks for the list. No offense but I know a ton of people that meet these “guidelines” that know absolutely nothing about engagement or even listening. Their posts are more like a megaphone than anything. People collect fb friends like my generation did “garbage pail kids”, I don’t see how that indicates anyone is relevant. There are a lot of people that are calling themselves SM experts, your list would probably lead someone looking for help directly to a cheesy wannabe. Just sayin.

  • 80 How to Spot a Social Media Faker | Lucythorpe's Blog // Nov 23, 2010 at 3:07 am

    [...] expert or not.  There’s quite a row going on because the measures of SM expertise laid out by Chris Kieff  in his blog have been deemed to be a bit random – how many followers does a real expert have? [...]

  • 81 Keane Angle // Nov 23, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Ya, I disagree as well. I’ll take walk the walk over talk the talk any day.

    I understand the need to benchmark numbers for a person who is ACTIVE in social media, but that’s all it is.

    I think the answer is no, you cannot measure social media expertise because the big variable is proven case studies.

  • 82 There Is No Such Thing As An “Expert” « PR at Sunrise // Nov 23, 2010 at 8:13 am

    [...] 9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation (1goodreason.com) [...]

  • 83 Six Tips to Hire the Right Social Media Consultant « socialmediathings // Nov 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

    [...] a recent blog post, Chris Kleff outlined nine different criteria to evaluate a social media “expert”. While the list offers [...]

  • 84 Todd // Nov 24, 2010 at 3:38 am

    All of these figures seem VERY high. Many times people can buy their way up to numbers like that. I would be interested to see how many people total would fit all of those criteria.

  • 85 Sunidhi Garg // Nov 24, 2010 at 6:08 am

    This is a pretty strict set of criterion. I think I feel comfortable with someone who communicates openly with me through the entire process.

  • 86 Maxxy // Nov 25, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for thoroughly enjoyable good read! (That applies to the comments too)

    My own experience (with SME’s) is that people new to social media haven’t got the first clue what to look for so a checklist like this for the current fashion is a better place to start than with nothing at all. Perhaps it is different for corporate clients but a lot of SME clients will get taken in with easy talk and buzzword conversations so it’s quite a good to give people a few pointers for general credibility. Possibly the exception is Klout as these scores tend to be high with general banter, debate, and chit chat, which I would argue doesn’t measure whether someone is particularly influential.

    As others have mentioned, some of this list is pretty easy to achieve so I would have thought it would be the least that could be maintained to give a good first impression, with case studies and testimonials coming second.

  • 87 The Goal of Social Marketing // Nov 29, 2010 at 4:17 am

    [...] up in the finding new people to follow race.  As many pointed out two weeks ago when I wrote 9 Point Social Social Media Expert, it’s not about the numbers.  It’s about whether we have real relationships with [...]

  • 88 The increasing abuse of Facebook Pages « Niko Helle // Nov 29, 2010 at 6:09 am

    [...] http://www.1goodreason.com/blog/blog/2010/11/18/9-point-social-media-expert-evaluation/ [...]

  • 89 Nine Factors In Selecting A Social Media Agency | davefleet.com // Nov 29, 2010 at 8:03 am

    [...] Chris Kieff wrote a post last week giving his thoughts on some numbers-focused ways to select a social media consultant. Personally, I think the list was much too focused on superficial numbers at the expense of useful depth (I have fewer than 1,000 Facebook friends and too small an ego for my own fan page so, according to his criteria, I’m not a good consultant). [...]

  • 90 Kristina Summers // Nov 30, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I loved this post although I have to agree with Chris that the term expert is over used and over relied upon in just about all areas of business. Strategist is a much better fit. I myself and not an expert or guru and don’t claim to be however I am a serious enthusiast with strategist leanings, definitely a student of social media…but I disagree with a few things on the list. I think that to hire someone as your social media “expert” you need to look at what they have accomplished, rather than just at their Google standing. The research and networking stuff part i get. I think you should understand what is out there and have profiles on half a dozen of the biggest networks, blog regularly, stay active on Twitter and LinkedIn and basically be immersed in social media pretty much all the time. This would be the same no matter what discipline you chose to work in. Being involved and staying involved is how you keep learning and remain passionate which comes through to clients. That is how you get hired, because that energy creates real connections, not fake followers that will come and go. :)

  • 91 Joanne Jacobs // Dec 6, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Just to say I qualify in most of the criteria you list and still I think your list of criteria is appalling. Not only can the numbers all be gamed, but listing them in this manner devaluates the genuine criteria of an actual expert, namely:
    - 10+ years experience in the sector;
    - portfolio of clients;
    - extensive and demonstrable business experience;
    - extensive and demonstrable technology experience;
    - extensive research experience, as documented in publications, research projects and submissions to various commercial or non-commercial organisations on policy;
    - public speaking, training and/or expert commentary experience
    - industry contacts and good reputation among peers and clients;
    - the ability to write strategic plans, business plans, marketing plans, read and analyse financial statements, and to deliver a pitch.

    These criteria, unlike yours, are evidence of authentic ability and expertise. Your criteria are evidence of nothing more than shallow popularity.

  • 92 Rosh - synecticsmedia // Dec 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Your post has certainly gain you a little attention. Great link bate – that is how I found you. Good job.

    I, of course , disagree about using social media numbers prove yourself as an expert.

    Although I qualify under your list (except for my personal facebook and linkedin) I never share how many followers I have for new media photographer or Synectics Media to my prospects.

    The fact that speak all over the country does help, a published book (from a traditional publisher) adds a little more credibility. But, what I have found recently is my position as a University social media instructor really lift prospects eyebrows.

    Personally, I believe, my clients track records and case studies are most valuable when it comes to closing the sale. – what I can do for them.

    I enjoyed reading many of the comments. There are some great observations.


  • 93 Year Over Year Traffic Analysis of 1 Good Reason // Dec 20, 2010 at 7:32 am

    [...] 9 Point Social Media Expert – Duh no surprise here, this was the most commented, most linked to, most other posts written about, most hated, most ridiculed, and most discussed post I’ve ever written.   Thank you to everyone who posted comments and suggestions- I’m going to revisit this issue next year after the wounds have healed.  And thank you to my friends and supporters who sent public and private messages of support – you know who you are [...]

  • 94 Can you measure social-media expertise? « FCEdge Powerful Marketing Communications // Dec 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    [...] Can you measure social-media expertise? Social-media expertise is easy to quantify, writes Chris Kieff. If you have more than 2,000 Twitter followers, 1,000 Facebook friends and a Klout score of 30 or more — among other metrics — you probably qualify, Kieff argues. But Danny Brown argues that those figures lack context and are too easy to inflate to be taken as absolute signs of expertise.  1GoodReason.com [...]

  • 95 27 ½ ways how to become a social media expert rockstar ninja in 2011 | SocialWayne - location-based marketing, gadgets, QR Codes, technology and social media news by Wayne Sutton // Jan 10, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    [...] a #TWSS hashtag. If you don’t know what #TWSS stands
    for Google it.20. Qualify for Chris Kieff 9 Point Social Media
    Expert Evaluation (good luck)21. When speaking about social media
    don’t call it social media but call it social [...]

  • 96 Statistical Target Fixation // Jan 17, 2011 at 7:56 am

    [...] would argue that I suffered from it when I wrote my infamous 9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation post in November.  My problem was that I focused too much on the concept of analyzing the numbers [...]

  • 97 John // Jan 24, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Chris —

    I’d tell you to remove this post, but I’m using it to teach students how to recognize someone who doesn’t have a clue how to recognize a social media expert. Sorry.

  • 98 Chris Kieff // Jan 25, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I suggest that you use this post to explain the value of comments on a blog to your class. The comments are the most valuable part of this post- yours excluded.

  • 99 Social Media Expert! Social Media Snake Oil! |WITS ZEN // Mar 25, 2011 at 5:04 am

    [...] this juncture, WITS Zen would like to refer an article "9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation" written by Chris Kieff which identified following minimum criteria to evaluate a social media [...]

  • 100 3 Questions to Ask a Social Media Expert | Wisecraic // Mar 22, 2012 at 4:25 am

    [...] morning on how to evaluate someone’s claim to be a social media expert.  One post was by Chris Kieff – a widely followed blogger and another (rebutting Chris Kieff’s post) was by Danny [...]

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