I am regularly introduced as a “social media expert” which is on one hand incredibly flattering, but on the other totally incorrect and inappropriate.

When introduced as such before I speak at conferences around the world, I always stop and interrupt the conference chair and correct them. I am a practitioner I protest…I actually do things.

What I have noticed of late is that a number of key agencies have been poaching key social media types from corporates – namely @mazi from Sky to Ogilvy, @mediaczarto Starcom MediaVest and  @benayers from ITV to Carat.

See some of the recent announcements below

starcom ogilvy_mazi

This is an encouraging sign as agencies seek to increase their social media capabilities – and clearly they see the pool of people to draw upon are from client side who have been at the coalface for a while with Social Media.

This also lends me to comment on the rise of the “social media guru”.  Clearly the 3 above are also practitioners, and they have been active in delivering social media campaigns for large corporates and for brands on behalf of equally large corporates.

The rise (and soon fall) of the “social media expert guru”

While in Australia in July, I had some healthy debate about a group calling themselves “SMEGs” which apparently stands for Social Media Expert Guru.

I’m sorry, but this may provide some level of hierarchy in the social media echo chamber, but for those people with the money (that would be agencies and brands – see above) – they don’t care. They want results.

Recently I pitched the Visible Technologies listening platform to a large client in the UK. We won against another formidable competitor with a solid solution. Someone asked me why they thought we had won. “I think we felt their pain more” was my honest response.

Now I am not a social media expert, but as a practitioner, I have worked for large companies such as Telstra and Optus, and endured the corporate politics, policies and general impedance that comes with this territory.

Just as my fellow practitioners above would I am sure agree, you need to do it to be able to talk about it.  Often these “gurus” have never held a budget or headcount.  Clients want to know you’ve done it before before they hire you and are able to walk the talk.

I’m now going to duck while I wait for the flame tweets from Sydney….