It’s Too Hard To Identify Expertise In Social Media

Social Media Academy to bring more transparency into social media knowledge

PDF (Press Release) – Palo Alto, CA The Social Media Academy, who was one of the first social media training and education institutes, is engaged in bringing more transparency into the fast growing social media industry. A transparent certification program shall help understand what people know, what experience they gained during the education and what focus the education had.

In accordance to the Academy founder Axel Schultze (http://xeesm.com/axels), “there are thousands of self proclaimed experts, but nobody knows what the expertise is based on. Then there are even more marketing consultants who just bolt the term ‘social media’ on their shingle and hope to get some engagement. Many have excellent knowledge and hands on experience – but others don’t.

We developed a certification program for both new comers to the scene as well as experienced experts to go through so that a client or employer knows what kind of knowledge those people have”.

The certification details for the “Social Media Strategist” are publicly available for anyone who wants to understand what students learn. “Being transparent about what we teach is crucial for fostering trust in our graduates and what they bring to the table when working with companies. Our graduates are able to demystify the social web for clients, in turn teaching them about social media as they assist them in translating their business into the social media space. It is the combination of our social media certification with a graduate’s existing professional expertise that provides solid value to clients,” said Adrienne Corn (http://xeesm.com/AdrienneCorn ), one of the founding faculty members.

The Social Media Academy does not claim to be the ultimate authority in Social Media, but based on 6 years experience offers one of the most comprehensive social media education through their outlets in the US, Europe and Australia. Most of the former students speak very highly about the education and the learning experience. Co-founder Marita Roebkes http://xeesm.com/maritar says “We don’t provide any canned student references, instead suggest that anybody talks to any Academy Alumni to get it ‘from the horse’s mouth’ and as such our Alumni List is publicly available on our site.”

The new certification program starts February 10 and is either 4 weeks for highly experienced social media consultants or 3 month for everybody who want to build social media expertise from ground up to either start their social media consulting business or seek a new career as social media manager in the industry.

free Intro Webinar February 3rd

Alumni page –  Leadership class experience in the Social Media Academy


  1. Eric SiegmannEric Siegmann01-30-2010

    Great opportunity given what you’re providing. I know social media will continue to become a primary channel of engagement, in the personal and professional worlds. As this channel becomes more mature, there will be an increased need to standardize skill sets. Until then, I see it as a great space for individual exploration and experimentation to continue setting what that ‘standard’ will become. Just think of the internet back in the ’90s compared to now.

    I don’t know if certification is a necessity quite yet. Folks should be making business service decisions and relationships more on the critical tie in of ‘social media’ work to business metrics – metrics that can be measure for progress / success.

    I talked a bit about being a social media expert in my blog post this December, http://tinyurl.com/ygh6vxa, be sure to add your thoughts on this response or my blog post. Cheers

  2. AxelSAxelS02-02-2010

    Eric, you are right, certification may be early. But what it really does is provide a statement about what somebody learned, and what methods and models somebody is using. It’s not so much about “expertise”. But what models somebody is experienced with. We have approximately 10,000 – 50,000 “Social Media Experts” but nobody can tell what the expertise is based on. Then we have hundreds of “Social Media Rock Stars”, people who are Twitter luminaries with tens of thousands of followers. In this case at least a lot of people seem to agree that they are worth following until we find the mechanism how to get lots of followers.

    In essence I decided to not care either way – but publish the the results of students in form of a certificate. And what the Academy teaches is not how to tweet or how to brush up a LinkedIn profile but best practices based on past experience how to develop a social media strategy and how to successfully execute that strategy with measurable results.

    I very much like your statement on your blog “Expertise will come from a history of personal, and possibly professional, social media engagement”. And yes, 3 years experience is certainly good – like with almost any other technique. Experts? The big issue is that there are more experts who just call them experts – so no way of telling. A certification may help but than who certifies the certifyer ;-) In the end we try to do 2 things:

    1) Help people to get a great start to build up their expertise
    2) Provide some foundation so that who ever hires a student later on knows what basis they work from

    Axel
    http://xeesm.com/AxelS

  3. Jeff WilsonJeff Wilson02-11-2010

    Interesting topic. I am torn though.

    I get the value of a certificate that gives potential customers some comfort knowing that a person they need to trust has a certain level of understanding on the basics, but the big problem still remains; what makes an expert and how do we know an expert when we meet one?

    To me, a Social Media expert needs to understand the fundamentals of customer communication and relationship development – because relationships are what Social Media is all about.

    Perhaps we need to begin to differentiate as to what the expertise is…

    Possible specializations:
    – Technical Social Media Experts (what most so-called Social Media experts are actually competent at) – How to set-up on Twitter, FaceBook and the like.
    – Social Experience Designer – Someone who designs an experience specific to online social networks (this should require a deep background in communications)
    – Social Strategist – Someone who specializes in strategy, managing and measuring success in Social Media environments.

    Thoughts?

    Jeff – Sensei
    http://www.themountaintop.ca

  4. CindyCindy03-06-2010

    As social media is progressing, so will this topic progress… and adapt to the ever changing environment. As a potential employer of the services of a “social media expert” I constantly find myself looking for metrics to determine the deliverables and value which I can expect the “expert” to deliver (not to mention metrics associated with social media ROI).

    So yes, I think a baseline (such as certification) is important – especially given the multitude of self proclaimed experts. The challenge now, in my opinion, lies is the newness of this beast and therefore as Axel says, “who certifies the certifier?” (Jeff, your stratification ito areas of specialisation is a great contribution to creating transparency).

    Key concepts for development now include (i) creating credibility within the (sceptical) corporate market and (ii) providing corporates with a safeguard against questionable “experts”.

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