It seems like there are quite a few social media "experts" out there. Wow! That is impressive seeing that social media (as we know it today) has only been around for a few years and has only within the last 2 - 3 years experienced the explosive growth that now makes it such a hot topic. Apparently this growth is also giving birth to experts at every turn. Thank GOD we now have someone to turn to for advice.
On the serious side, there actually are individuals and firms that are more knowledgeable than the average Joe-Schmoo about social media. They DO understand strategy, statistics, monitoring, analysis, ROI, etc.; they generally know what works, what doesn't and can offer useful advice.
I was able to meet with a PR firm that specialized in Social Media only for a project I am working on for my day job. (Many PR firms are branching out to include Social Media strategy in their service offering, but there now are also PR firms dedicated to Social Media alone cropping up). To be honest I was not expecting much from the firm but was very pleasantly suprised - they were knowlegeable, understood the different aspects of what social media is and what a company would be looking for in executing a social media strategy, from risks and challenges to benefits and growth. Their client list was impressive for such a young organization (young both in the estimatged age of the staff - 20's - and in how long the firm had been in existence).
There are a few people on the net and/or twitter who I would also consider experts in the field of social media. These individuals usually have a large following, post useful content on various sites with tips that work, and are considered by others to be experts in social media. These people will be quoted in articles, speaking at conferences and posting frequent, reputable content to their twitter accounts, facebook pages, blogs or other. These people are for real.....
Then there are the other ones. These are the people on twitter who will post about helping you get "10,000 followers", yet they themselves only have 99. These same people will post about the millions of dollars you can make on twitter and how successful it has been for them. If you look closely though, you will notice that their account is less than a week old.
Many of these are also the same people who will open 50 twitter accounts. You can tell it is the same person based off of the timing of the account being opened, avatar, username or tweets - all of the sudden you will have 50 new followers but it is very obviously one individual. It is a PITA to remove and block these spammers one by one (Does anyone know a better way?). I am not sure what they are hoping to accomplish other than aggrevating and wasting my time, spamming me with porn or get rich schemes and uneffectively telling me how to become Queen of social media universe.
10 years ago we had never even heard of Facebook or YouTube. Now many of us are tweeting, blogging and posting FB updates from our smart phones, netbooks, ipads. It will be interesting to see the direction Social Media takes over the next decade. Of course that will probably also mean more experts, but by then, maybe there will be some credence to most of these claims vs a small percentage of such. Until then I will visit the sites / blogs of others whose opinion I DO value.