A few years ago I met someone on Twitter who said she was a Public Relations Expert.  (For the sake of this post I’ll call her “B”).  She was promoting herself as someone who could help media hungry folks seek coverage from various media outlets around the country.  When I inquired further about her background qualifications “B” told me she used to work at a radio station as a receptionist. 

OK, so does that mean since I worked at Merrill Lynch once and developed an understanding of how the Stock Market works, I could qualify myself as a Financial Expert?

Do you ever really question the credentials of people who claim to be a certain type of expert?  Surely, the fact that “B” worked at a radio station makes her sound impressive but what, in her job title as a receptionist, would make qualified to be a PR Expert?

For every legitmate person doing business online, there are probably hundreds who are playing the fake it until you make it game.  They are savvy enough to sound credible and lurk around the real movers and shakers to see how they’re doing it. 

Lisa Barone calls it “embellishing” in one of her blog posts.  Although the blog she wrote,  The 7 Habilts Killing Your Brand, isn’t about expert frauds, she raises some really good points when it comes to pretending to be something you’re not.

Becoming an expert in a particular field goes well beyond the realm of a dream and a passion.  The next time you’re looking to do business with someone online, please take the time to learn more about them.  If they tell you they’re a Branding Expert (for example), what’s their track record?  Can they lead you to any product or person who they can take full responsibility for? 

And please, somebody tell me what is the TRUE definition of a Social Media Expert?