Chapter 14: Everyone Should Hire “Social Media Experts”

Editor's Note: Some marketing professionals are still hesitant to trust anyone who calls themselves a “social media expert” these days, believing that the rules of the game—and its players—change too quickly for anyone to master the field. This contrasts sharply with the nature of the complaint about the social media expert that Rand disputes in this post (originally published on The Moz Blog in 2011), as it is based on the premise that social media skills are merely common sense.

I caught a post from Peter Shankman entitled “I Will Never Hire a Social Media Expert and Neither Should You.” It's not the first of its kind, nor was it the best argued, but it struck a nerve and has made a number of waves around the web. Needless to say, as someone who employs multiple team members with a great deal of social media expertise, I strongly disagree with the substance and sentiment of the piece.

Here's Mr. Shankman's argument in his own words:

No business in the world should want a “Social Media Expert” on their team. They shouldn't want a guru, rock-star, or savant, either. If you have a “Social Media Expert” on your payroll, you're wasting your money.

Being an expert in Social Media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can't do that if all you've done in your ...

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