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Social Communications is NOT Digital Expertise

A lot of chatter these days in social media circles is about new hires, or old guards, having “digital expertise” when what they really mean is social communications chops. The two can be mutually exclusive, but are not necessarily, and are rarely fully integrated.

What qualifies as “digital expertise”?

  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization and Marketing
  • User Experience Design
  • Content Optimization
  • Landing Page Optimization
  • Creative Placements (banner ads, takeovers, etc)/ media planning
  • Creative development
  • Offline creative integration
  • Analytics & how they inform business decisions
  • Tools / Widgets
  • Database building/ mining/ usage
  • Website builds and creative applications
  • E-commerce
  • Understanding the different kinds of Tech – e.g. XML vs HTML
  • Flash (strengths & weaknesses)
  • Contest development & rules and regulations
  • Mobile Marketing

… I’m pretty sure I missed stuff too…

What is social communications?

  • Relationship building
  • Content development
  • Outreach
  • Social platforms/ networks knowledge
  • Tagging
  • Communications planning
  • Plug-ins and WYSIWYG understanding

… probably missed a few points here too, but you get the idea…

While the two should ideally be part and parcel and fully integrated (and can be), currently having social communications expertise does not necessarily mean you have digital expertise. Lots of people have spent 10+ years building digital expertise while the social web is not only not even 5 yet, but in reality (business reality), is closer to two. Semantics matter – let’s not confuse the two, and let’s be clear about what the web is capable of delivering in its entirety. It is important.

[photo credit:  takuhitosotome via Flickr]

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Comments (1) to “Social Communications is NOT Digital Expertise”

  1. Tamera, thanks for making this distinction! I have often said that marketers need to be integrated in their experience (and thinking!) and this is another great reason why. I know so few marketers that actually understand the digital landscape and yet are great communicators (I’ve also seen the opposite…and probably more so!).

    Successful social media in business relies on both digital experience (maybe not expertise always) AND social communications.

    Beth Harte
    Community Manager, MarketingProfs
    @bethharte

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