Searching for social media experts


Lets say I’m a business owner and I want to get into this social media thing and I want to hire someone to handle my social media marketing. I don’t know anything about anything so I’m going to go straight to Google to find one.

If you do a search on “social media experts”, the first organic result in Google is for a post by Chris Brogan If I saw Chris’s site, I’m not sure he would be the best fit for me since I might not know any better. I might not know Chris Brogan from Mary Brogan, so I’m going to keep searching.

Interestingly enough the only ppc result for that search term is for Pandemic Labs, but their site is dark and too techy and makes me think Nintendo or Xbox, so I’m out. I’m frustrated already.

The second organic result is for giovanni gallucci, who I am familiar with, and ironically enough of the top 10 search results, this is or his site is the only one actually touting himself and his services as a social media expert. Why is this ironic?  Because of the other results, the majority of them are blog posts essentially slamming people who call themselves social media experts.

What am I saying? I’m saying, if I do a search for a social media expert, I may not be able to find one. Funny isn’t it, given the amount of blog posts about people claiming to be a social media expert?

I better change my tactic. How about social media companies?

The results are a little different but no less confusing. Your top 10 results are the following:

  1. CrunchBase company profile on Social
  2. An blog post from Jeremiah Owyang from 2006
  3. A post from David Meerman Scott’s blog on Social media company entrepreneur official garb.
  4. A post by Lee Odden from Top Rang Blog on How Big Companies Use Social Media @ BlogWell
  5. An article from Inc titled, Inc. 500 Companies Fast Adopters of Social Media
  6. A blog post titled, Valuing social media companies and Facebook apps
  7. The management team results from Pluck
  8. Tech Links piece titled, Social Media Companies See Increased Demand for Internet Marketing Services
  9. This next one is actually not too bad, though as a n00b, it might all just fly right over my head. 12 social media companies that kick ass
  10. This last result is actually a pretty good one too though again, not for the noob, it’s by Peter Kim-It’s a list of social media marketing examples

So at this point I’m striking out, big time. I’m going to try one more thing, maybe two. One is, lets do a search on social media marketing companies and the other is lets do a search on social media consultants. Waddya say?

First 2 organic results for social media marketing companies? Izea and, the 2nd result is scary. It might be the streaming talking head in the right hand corner; but companies like this may hinder more than they help. Though, they do rank #2 for the term “social media companies”, the used car sales approach doesn’t fly with me, and shouldn’t with you.

Further down the page, we finally get to some results that may benefit me. one note though that the PPC results on this page are a little more condusive to the search term we’re using at the moment, but lets continue.

In the #6 spot we have a post by marketing pilgrim titled Social Media Marketing Beginner’s Guide Which I would most definitely read. Why? Before I go and hire and expert, here is a chance to know what I’m looking for and know what I’m talking about..

In the #7 spot, I like this article simply because it’s arming me with some more solid info, that in the long run will help me, even if I’m not the one doing any of the work. It’s titled, How to Leverage Web 2.0 & Social Media Sites to Market Your Brand & Control Your Message has over 30 sites for you to check out on social media marketing tactics.

In the #8 spot  we have 11 Marketing, which I, the business owner, might click through some and check out, it sort of talks the talk at least. In spots 9 and 10, we have blog posts from Mashable and Peter Kim and thats it.

So the results were spotty at best and if we adhere to “people only search the first page” theory, we’re done; and we have maybe 3-4 “leads” to pursue. Interesting.

Onto our last search and then some conclusions.

Wow… the results for “social media consultants” are 9 blog post results dissing anyone who calls themselves a social media consultant, and one search result for Dan Zarrella who actually is a social media consultant!

The conclusion? If you are in the social media space, then what you hear (and read apparently) are a lot of people complaining about other people calling themselves social media experts and consultants. The truth is, they(the experts and consultants that is) must be just telling themselves and anyone else who is willing to listen. Fact is,  not too many are actually doing a very good job at marketing themselves and their companies and what they do, to the masses. Or maybe they just don’t understand the importance od SEO?

Either way-by the looks of the search results, if you are looking for a social media expert, social media consultant, or social media company, or  social media marketing company, good luck weeding through all the people that are pissed about the people who are claiming to be one of those.  Sour grapes? Perhaps, but what it looks like is that not only does the cobbler not make shoes for his own children but his competition spends more time watching him, than they do doing their own job!

16 thoughts on “Searching for social media experts

  1. There’s a whole other area which you’re not considering by that healthy dose of research, Marc: You searched for 3-4 keywords when recent statistics indicate most people are searching for 6+ words to intuitively filter out the junk you’re finding with three.

    As to the negativity around a keyword search for “social media expert,” it can’t be worse than the results for “comcast sucks” and why the company hasn’t created a page on its site in response which would get higher rank.

    Great perspective, Marc!

  2. Methinks with the SEO and repetition on this page you’ll find yourself in the front page of social media experts.


    I’m just a mom blogger, and I’m okay with it.

  3. @Jessica, ironically, that wasn’t my intention at all but you’re probably right. My point is people spend too much time bashing each other instead of going out and looking for clients..

  4. The really long tail is the one thing I thought about, and you mentioned, but failed to really get into and you’re right Ari. Even moreso is that THAT is how most might/do searches anyways.

  5. Hi Mark – Great post that really shines a light on the confusion in the social media marketplace. Not only are we having a hard time agreeing on what to call “it” (social media, social marketing, microblogging, stream computing, etc.), but we’re also not doing a great job of differentiating ourselves to make it easier for people to find us.

    Not too long ago I noticed this issue and decided to build a peer network to help social media practitioners (the people trying to build community/embrace social media for their companies) make sense of it all. We’re not billing ourselves as experts, instead we’re “building a stage” for members to learn from one another and draw on expert advice when they want it.

    I’d love to hear what you think of what we’re building.


  6. @Jim, that’s my point, not only do we suck at differentiating, those that do, get bashed and lambasted for doing so. Granted, some have no business calling themselves consultants or experts but even those who are anointing themselves a title suck at marketing themselves as well. lots of stuff broken here..Thanks Jim and remind me to tell you about our new project that i want you to be a part of. Rachel has agreed to do it..Its cool.

  7. Unfortunately I don’t believe anyone that says they are a “social media expert”
    I do however like this post and think those who you linked to probably do know their stuff. Keep it up and I’ll be back to read other post. 🙂

  8. Isn’t it pretty obvious that social media experts or whatever you want to call them are so into their own way of doing things that SEO and more traditional advertising becomes a no go? Or at least not an obvious choice for someone working in this area of marketing.

    And optimizing your own site to fit words like social media experts would put yourself among those people that call themselves experts. And, as your blogpost argues, most of us really don’t want to be there.

    All of this, however, doesn’t change the fact that potential business is lost as your search exemplifies.

    @ari I’m not sure I agree with you on the 6+ word search. I don’t even do that most of the time and I consider myself a pretty heavy user.

  9. Great post. Have had this exact same discussion with some of the people on your list. I list myself as a consultant on my site title, and despite the fact that I have ranked in the top few results for “social media consultant” I have never taken aim at SEO for new business. I think most Social Media is found through existing vendors (Advertising, PR, Design firms) or through word of mouth. Most of my work is through the people I teach, meet at events, and have discussions with online.

    Another issue, is there are no real perfect terms to describe the industry. As I said above, there are people in PR, Advertising, Internet Marketing, SEO etc doing great work in Social Media. In the same light there are a lot of specialties: see social networks, tracking, blogging, microblogging, enterprise, etc.

    I think the negativity with the titles Social Media consultant or expert will subside with time. As the people with proven results and integrity become more known and the industry gains some mainstream age, hopefully those are the people who will rise to the top of the SERPs.

  10. @mettestuhr You’re right, I don’t even think the ones that are experts, want to call themselves experts on anything just because of the negative connotation that has been associated with it. They won’t deny it, if someone else calls them such, but they are better served by avoiding it.

    @jason, all great points and you’re right as well that in time the furor will subside but for now perhaps its best to be an expert in “A” which translates wonderfully in the world of social media..just a thought.

  11. You may be having difficulty because not too many of these “experts” have sprouted up yet or at least not promoting themselves they way they should. I would also suggest that you expand you keyword search as well, but I think you will be able to find more and more experts/specialists popping up soon.

  12. As an active and immersed social web strategist…those of us who are working every day with clients solving problems, are considerably more humble..”Expertise” and “best practices” are moving from the conceptual…to the strategic and finally to the tactical and measurable stages of implementation. Why promote that? As traditional industries are imploding rapidly, one doing the work that I and others are doing in social media…are often threatening to service business relationships whom are protecting the retainer fees, and commissions they earn from their clients…Not easy to give that up.

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