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?
Pretty good point you have there Beverly!
I’ve noticed the same thing on twitter with those who call themselves “SEO experts” and asking for some hefty sum of cash in order to get you listed in Google fast or whatever
And in reality all their expertise were from some articles they read off the web!
I shy away from the so-called SEO Experts because even if they were liegitimate, I would still be clueless about what they really do. I think there are people who “hustle” others for a living and if you’re gullible enough to believe them and give them you’re money, I guess you get what you deserve. Yes, I will admit I’ve been gullible on a few occasions.
Thanks so much for stopping by and posting a comment on my blog.
You know, so many people are busting on SEO experts these days and I think it’s unfair. True, there are a number of them who are sham artists, but that would hold true in every other profession in the world, including medicine and science.
My general comment on the topic, though, is that asking questions of people who you’re hoping will help should weed out those whose qualifications might not be up to standard. At the same time, there are some people who are found to be quite good at something that they haven’t had the opportunity to do on their own. Independent consultants, for instance, might be very good at something yet previously worked for someone else, and thus are trying to get their first client.
Truth be told, every person who steps out on their own had better “fake it until they make it” in some fashion. When I gave my first presentations in management and leadership all I had behind me was many years in management in health care. Had I come out and said I’d never given a live presentation on the topic before, I’d have never been given the opportunity.
Mitch, I think it’s one thing to know your stuff but not have a lot of experience or opportunity to prove yourself—but it’s quite another thing to try to pass yourself off as something you’re not. There are way too many folks doing just that–in my opinion.
I’m trying to get better at my responses 🙂
Yes you are, and I love it.
And you’re right, passing yourself off as being able to do something you can’t is something I don’t like myself. I actually wrote a post about it on my business blog and I was surprised by a couple of responses I got, both on the post itself and through email by people who, for whatever reason, don’t like being “out there” in public with an opinion. Here’s that link if you want to see it: http://www.ttmitchellconsulting.com/Mitchblog/saying-you-can-do-what-you-cant/